Actors whos career paths have strayed from their true potential

by josh_goldstein-34-458070 | created - 04 Sep 2011 | updated - 25 Apr 2012 | Public

These actors had phenomenal talent and credibility at one point but after appearing in awful movie after awful decision, they stand on the B-list instead of on the A-list where they had the potential to be, some on this list dont deserve to be on it as much as other actors, but thats up for debate.... go ahead..

1. Ray Liotta

Actor | Goodfellas

Intense is the word for Ray Liotta. He specializes in psychopathic characters who hide behind a cultivated charm. Even in his nice guy roles in Field of Dreams (1989) and Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), you get the impression that something is smoldering inside of him. Liotta maintains a steady stream...

After goodfellas he was a rising star, he can truly act but has gone down a awful road of b-level cheap action movies

2. Cuba Gooding Jr.

Actor | Jerry Maguire

Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. His mother, Shirley (Sullivan), was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. His father, Cuba Gooding, was the lead vocalist for the R&B group The Main Ingredient, which had a hit with the song "Everybody Plays The Fool". His ...

with his charisma and acting ability the only reason he isn't up there with the best is his awful career decisions

3. Ethan Hawke

Actor | Training Day

Ethan Green Hawke was born on November 6, 1970 in Austin, Texas, to Leslie Carole (Green), a charity worker, and James Steven Hawke, an insurance actuary. His parents were students at the University of Texas at the time but divorced when Ethan was 5 years old. His mother raised him alone for the ...

his career has been on a downward slide since training day

4. Christian Slater

Actor | True Romance

Christian Michael Leonard Slater was born on August 18, 1969 in New York City, to Michael Hawkins, a well-known soap actor, and Mary Jo Slater (née Lawton), a casting agent. Christian started in show business early, appearing on the soap opera The Edge of Night (1956) in 1976 at the age of 7. He ...

he had great performances in the early 90's in "pump up the volume" among others but has done cheap garbage lead roles instead of letting his status develop by taking smaller parts in high quality films, with solid supporting casts

5. Eric Bana

Actor | Munich

Eric Bana was born Eric Banadinovic on August 9, 1968, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He is the younger of two brothers. His father, named Ivan Banadinovic, came from Zagreb, Croatia, and worked as a manager for Caterpillar Inc. His mother, named Eleanor Banadinovic, came from a German family ...

With his looks and persona and talent, he should be up there with Pitt and Dicaprio and Clooney, he has all the tools of a true leading man, what a shame, this guy is an Oscar worthy actor

6. Russell Crowe

Actor | Les Misérables

Russell Ira Crowe was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, both of whom catered movie sets. His maternal grandfather, Stanley Wemyss, was a cinematographer. Crowe's recent ancestry includes Welsh (where his paternal grandfather was born, in Wrexham),...

I'm a huge fan of his, but his last several movies have tanked, raising questions if his best years are behind him, I'd like to think not..... hopefully with the right project like the upcoming Les miserables' and Noah, he can get back on top

7. Forest Whitaker

Actor | The Last King of Scotland

Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland (2006), and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American ...

What has he done worth mentioning since his impressive academy award win for playing idi amin?

8. Adrien Brody

Actor | The Pianist

Adrien Nicholas Brody was born in Woodhaven, Queens, New York, the only child of retired history professor Elliot Brody and Hungarian-born photographer Sylvia Plachy. He accompanied his mother on assignments for the Village Voice, and credits her with making him feel comfortable in front of the ...

he has faded into obscurity since his amazing jaw dropping performance in the pianist

9. Nicolas Cage

Actor | Leaving Las Vegas

Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California, the son of comparative literature professor August Coppola (whose brother is director Francis Ford Coppola) and dancer/choreographer Joy Vogelsang. He is of Italian (father) and Polish, German, and English (mother) descent. Cage ...

audiences are tired of seeing him overacting in so many bad mindless action movies, he is now a straight to dvd actor, perhaps taking on another "adaptation" like role will help his cause

10. John Cusack

Actor | Grosse Pointe Blank

John Cusack is, like most of his characters, an unconventional hero. Wary of fame and repelled by formulaic Hollywood fare, he has built a successful career playing underdogs and odd men out--all the while avoiding the media spotlight. John was born in Evanston, Illinois, to an Irish-American ...

same as nicolas cage, bad choices= bad performances

11. Edward Norton

Actor | American History X

American actor, filmmaker and activist Edward Harrison Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Columbia, Maryland.

His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (Rouse), was a foundation executive and teacher of English, and a daughter of famed real estate developer ...

none of his recent work has been on the groundbreaking level of "american history X" or fight club or even primal fear, wake up dude, get your s*** together and get back on top, he needs to collaborate with a fincher or even alexander payne-like director

12. Colin Farrell

Actor | The Lobster

Colin Farrell is one of Ireland's best rising stars in Hollywood and abroad today. His film presence has been filled with memorable roles that range from an inwardly tortured hit man, to an adventurous explorer, a determined-but-failing writer, and the greatest military leader in history.

Farrell ...

although he has had a really succesful career,- phone booth, swat, In Bruges, tigerland, his career right now is nowhere near where it should be with his acting ability, hopefully his upcoming reuniting with martin mcdonaugh for "seven psychopaths" will remind us all how good he is

13. Kevin Costner

Actor | The Postman

Kevin Michael Costner was born on January 18, 1955 in Lynwood, California, the third child of Bill Costner, a ditch digger and ultimately an electric line servicer for Southern California Edison, and Sharon Costner (née Tedrick), a welfare worker. His older brother, Dan, was born in 1950. A middle ...

my god!! this is the guy who brought us "dancing with wolves", untouchables, field of dreams, JFk, his movies of the last 10 years hardly reflects on his true acting abilities, he really needs the right project to get back up

14. Jim Carrey

Actor | Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Jim Carrey, Canadian-born and a U.S. citizen since 2004, is an actor and producer famous for his rubbery body movements and flexible facial expressions. The two-time Golden Globe-winner rose to fame as a cast member of the Fox sketch comedy In Living Color (1990) but leading roles in Ace Ventura: ...

hasn't done any quality funny work for a while

15. Thomas Jane

Actor | The Mist

Thomas Jane was born on February 22, 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA as Thomas Elliott. He is an actor and producer, known for The Mist (2007), Deep Blue Sea (1999) and The Thin Red Line (1998). He was previously married to Patricia Arquette and Ayesha Hauer.

he should be headlining movie posters not just some sub par HBO show

16. Tim Robbins

Actor | Mystic River

Born in West Covina, California, but raised in New York City, Tim Robbins is the son of former The Highwaymen singer Gil Robbins and actress Mary Robbins (née Bledsoe). Robbins studied drama at UCLA, where he graduated with honors in 1981. That same year, he formed the Actors' Gang theater group, ...

shawshank, mystic river, then what?

17. Joaquin Phoenix

Actor | Walk the Line

Joaquin Rafael Phoenix was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Arlyn (Dunetz) and John Bottom, and is the middle child in a brood of five. His parents, from the continental United States, were then serving as Children of God missionaries. His mother is from a Jewish family in New York, while his ...

this guy's acting was great however he has gone way off the rails in recent years....

18. Clive Owen

Actor | Closer

British actor Clive Owen is one of a handful of stars who, though he is best known for his art house films, can handle more mainstream films with equal measures of grace and skill. Owen is typically cast as characters whose primary traits are a balance of physical strength, intellect, conflicting ...

hes doing okay but can be alot better

19. William Baldwin

Actor | Backdraft

William Baldwin was born on February 21, 1963 in Massapequa, Long Island, New York, USA as William Joseph Baldwin. He is an actor, known for Backdraft (1991), Fair Game (1995) and The Squid and the Whale (2005). He has been married to Chynna Phillips since September 9, 1995. They have three ...

he was terrific in backdraft and like his brother alec he can definitely act but he is nowhere near leading status today he could have done better.....

20. Kurt Russell

Actor | The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell was born Kurt Vogel Russell in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Louise Julia (Crone), a dancer, and actor Bing Russell (Neil Oliver Russell). He is of English, German, Scottish and Irish descent. His first roles were as a child on television series, including a lead role on the Western ...

21. Matthew McConaughey

Actor | Dallas Buyers Club

American actor and producer Matthew David McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Mary Kathleen (McCabe), is a substitute school teacher originally from New Jersey. His father, James Donald McConaughey, was a Mississippi-born gas station owner who ran an oil pipe supply business. He is ...

hes got it all after "a time to kill" he was headed to the top but fell into a hole doing poorly directed movies and bad romantic comedies, he has recently redeemed himself with his success in the lincoln lawyer, but hes failing to live up to his true potential

22. Tobey Maguire

Actor | Brothers

Tobias Vincent Maguire was born in Santa Monica, California. His parents were 18 and 20, and not yet married, when he was born. His mother, Wendy (Brown), did advertising, publicity, and acting in Hollywood for years as she coached and managed Tobey. His father, Vincent Maguire, was a cook and ...

the popular success of spider-man was enough to catapult him to top leading man status, he hasnt though...

23. Jude Law

Actor | The Talented Mr. Ripley

Jude Law is an English actor. Law has been nominated for two Academy Awards and continues to build a prolific body of work that spans from early successes such as Gattaca (1997) and The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) to more recent turns as Dr. John Watson in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes:...

he is a brilliant actor as shown in mr. ripley and cold mountain, but hes been taking roles based on his looks not based on character suitability, he hasnt done anything remarkable in a while....

24. James McAvoy

Actor | Atonement

McAvoy was born on 21 April 1979 in Glasgow, Scotland, to Elizabeth (née Johnstone), a nurse, and James McAvoy senior, a bus driver. He was raised on a housing estate in Drumchapel, Glasgow by his maternal grandparents (James, a butcher, and Mary), after his parents divorced when James was 7. He ...

has yet to replicate his performance in the last king of scotland....

25. Barry Pepper

Actor | Saving Private Ryan

Barry Robert Pepper was born on April 4, 1970, in Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, as the youngest of three sons. He has two older brothers named Alex and Doug Pepper. The Peppers didn't stick around Campbell River for too long. They had been building a ship in their backyard for years. ...

He has amazing presence, the roles he plays are nowhere near his true potential, he needs to take on bolder roles

26. Benicio Del Toro

Actor | Sicario

Benicio Del Toro emerged in the mid-1990s as one of the most watchable and charismatic character actors to come along in years. A favorite of film buffs, Del Toro gained mainstream public attention as the conflicted but basically honest Mexican policeman in Steven Soderbergh's Traffic (2000).

...

what has he done recently that equals his earlier stuff?

27. Pierce Brosnan

Actor | The World Is Not Enough

Pierce Brendan Brosnan was born in Drogheda, County Louth, Ireland, to May (Smith), a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter. He lived in Navan, County Meath, until he moved to England, UK, at an early age (thus explaining his ability to play men from both backgrounds convincingly). His father left...

his recent movies have been on the sub-par side of average

28. Michael Madsen

Actor | The Hateful Eight

Michael Madsen's long career spans 25 years and more than 170 films in which he has played memorable characters in myriad box office hits, including: Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003), Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) Sin City (2005), Hell Ride (2008), Die Another Day (2002), Donnie Brasco (1997), Species (1995), ...

he had some big hits in the 90's but has faded since, this guy can act!! have you seen donnie brasco???

29. Val Kilmer

Actor | The Doors

Val Kilmer was born in Los Angeles, California, to Gladys Swanette (Ekstadt) and Eugene Dorris Kilmer, who was a real estate developer and aerospace equipment distributor. His mother, born in Indiana, was from a Swedish family, and his father was from Texas. Val studied at Hollywood's ...

same as ray liotta was good stuff once, but has descended into B-level cheap action movie territory

30. Edward Burns

Actor | Saving Private Ryan

Edward Fitzgerald Burns was born January 29, 1968 in Woodside, Queens, New York. He is the second of three children of Molly (McKenna), who worked for the Federal Aviation Administration at Kennedy Airport, and Edward J. Burns, a police sergeant and active spokesperson for the New York Police Dept....

This guy's acting chops are amazing, he has focused on his indie writing/directing career, but he can be a powerful leading man if he alters his career choices...

31. Josh Hartnett

Actor | Lucky Number Slevin

Joshua Daniel Hartnett was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Wendy Anne (Kronstedt) and Daniel Thomas Hartnett, a building manager. His father is of Irish and German descent, and his mother is of Swedish and Norwegian ancestry. Hartnett graduated from South High School in Minneapolis in June of ...

this guy can act...period, his role choices have lead him away from his real potential.....

32. Casey Affleck

Actor | Manchester by the Sea

An accomplished and striking performer, Academy Award® winner Casey Affleck has established himself as a powerful leading man with performances in multiple upcoming projects.

Caleb Casey McGuire Affleck-Boldt was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. His mother, Chris Anne (née Boldt), is a school ...

his talent was showcased in films like "the assassination of jesse james" and his amazing performance that brought the words of Dennis Lehane to life in "gone baby gone"... he should work more and pursue more of of such roles....

33. Chris Tucker

Actor | Rush Hour 2

At one point in time, Chris Tucker was the highest paid actor in Hollywood.

Tucker was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Louise (Bryant) and Norris Tucker, who owned a janitorial service. After graduating from high school, Tucker made a change to move to Hollywood from Georgia to pursue a career in ...

this guy's comic abilities are amazing!, combined with his improvisation, he needs to work more!!!!!!!!!!!

34. Robert De Niro

Actor | Cape Fear

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at...

it pains me to put a legend like deniro on this list but its a sad truth, his last decent roles were heat and casino or even sleepers, but since then he has gotten very complacent doing subpar comedies and underwhelming genre films

35. Al Pacino

Actor | Serpico

One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies.

Alfredo James Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an ...

where do you start with him? a living legend!! perhaps the greatest actor ever in 70's-90's but his choices since donnie brasco or "the insider" have really underwhelmed us all

36. Jason Patric

Actor | Speed 2: Cruise Control

Jason Patric was born on June 17, 1966 in Queens, New York, USA as Jason Patric Miller Jr. He is an actor, known for Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997), The Lost Boys (1987) and Narc (2002).

this guy works way too infrequently his brilliance has shown in roles like lost boys, narc, or sleepers, he really has the acting potential to be an A-lister (he was the studio's first choice for tom cruise's role in THE FIRM)

37. Kevin Spacey

Actor | The Usual Suspects

Kevin Spacey Fowler, better known by his stage name Kevin Spacey, is an American actor of screen and stage, film director, producer, screenwriter and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in...

frankly just disappointed, his roles have been very subpar since american beauty, usuall suspects, david gale, La confidential, expect more from such a talent! although his recent turn in Margin call has been a refreshing reminder of how good he can be

38. Sean Bean

Actor | The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Sean Bean's career since the eighties spans theater, radio, television and movies. Bean was born in Handsworth, Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire, to Rita (Tuckwood) and Brian Bean. He worked for his father's welding firm before he decided to become an actor. He attended RADA in London and ...

This guy has one of the most striking screen presences of all actors today, yes he has had big successes like LOTR, Sharpe series, Game of Thrones, but he really can be a more of a lead actor that can headline a movie, however he is drawn to playing too many doomed, conflicted characters