November 18th, 2009
01:07 PM ET

Who's in line for a film comeback?

Eric Roberts
Eric Roberts

A few days ago, I was playing trivia at a local restaurant when the host asked the players a question that didn't count for points. He merely wanted our opinion on a question that he'd been thinking about for some time.

What actor whose career has been on the decline and/or stalled would you like to see cast in a role that could essentially revive their standing in Hollywood?

The movie industry has shown us numerous examples of the career revival.  "Pulp Fiction" brought John Travolta's career back to life after a decade in poorly received films, while "The Wrestler" rejuvenated Mickey Rourke's career after several years out of the mainstream.

So who did I choose as warranting a career revival?  Much to the chagrin of the host, I made two picks - one actor and one actress.

Eric Roberts: Back in the 1980s, Eric Roberts was the man to cast if you wanted someone edgy, unpredictable and intense. Films like "The Pope of Greenwich Village" and "Runaway Train" showcased Roberts as an actor that demanded your attention whenever he appeared on screen.

But his career went downhill for personal and legal reasons and by the 1990s, Roberts was a regular on the made-for-TV and made-for-video movie circuits.  Roberts' fate was even spoofed in an episode of "Seinfeld," with Kramer praising his performance in a fictitious film he found at the video store.

Roberts has been steadily employed in both TV ("Less Than Perfect") and film ("The Dark Knight") in recent years, and he appears to have his life back on track again.  Yet he's missing that one role that could put him back on the A-list. Does one of our great directors have a leading part in their next film for him? Heck, I'd settle for Roberts playing Rod Blagojevich in a biopic on the former Illinois governor's life.

Mena Suvari: A decade ago, Suvari was Hollywood's "It girl." She was box office gold as Heather in the first two "American Pie" films, as well as Angela Hayes in the critically acclaimed "American Beauty."  She seemed to be destined for years of box office stardom.

But that didn't happen. Many of Suvari's recent films have either had a blink-or-you missed it run at the box office ("The Mysteries of Pittsburgh") or went straight-to-DVD (a 2008 quasi-remake of "Day of the Dead"). I can't put my finger as to why this has happened, but Suvari deserves better. Perhaps a big-name director will heed my call and cast her in a film worthy of her talents.

What actor do you think deserves another shot at something great? Who warrants a career revival?

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Filed under: movies

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Lashon Ohrenich

    really useful Here's some pass forward: Thought for the day? : College students. We drink more beer before 9:00 a.m. than most people drink all day!

    September 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. aire max france

    As I website owner I believe the topic matter here will be real superb, regards for the efforts.

    August 30, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gate Latch

    Julia Stiles look great both with the short hair and long hair, but i prefer her to have a long hair '-`

    December 14, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lola Allen

    I love Julia Stiles on the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. she is gorgeous.;:'

    June 13, 2010 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kristen

    DEMI MOORE!!!! Many of the Brat Pack are making huge comebacks and though her career originally outlasted theirs, she hasn't made a great film in awhile. And she has to be bored with Ashton by now. Most grown up women wouldn't have lasted this long with the overgrown man child.

    November 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. johnny L

    How about Lavar Burton from "Roots" and "Star Trek" fame. I always thought he was an underrated actor.

    What ever happened to Larisa Oleynik from "10 things I hate about you"? I thought she was poised to be the next "it girl" at the beginning of the decade. She also seemed to hold her own with the likes of Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kate L

    Actor: John Turturro
    Actress: Laura Dern

    November 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    William Hurt, Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Matt Dillon...

    November 19, 2009 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Deby

    Love Eric Roberts, love love love him, I think with the right script/director ya'll would see him blow his darling sister Julia right out of the water talent-wise.

    November 19, 2009 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Joe citizen abroad

    Kevin Kline.

    November 18, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. too cool

    eric roberts? please, go back and watch "the pope of greenwich village." he single-handedly ruins the entire movie. his acting is cringe-worthy. it is the only time i ever remember watching a movie and sincerely feeling bad/embarrassed for an actor. please, go back and watch that movie again.

    November 18, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cjkavanagh

    Actor: Christian Slater

    Did great work in the late 80's and early 90's but sort of dropped off the map. Has a new TV show coming out so hopefully that will allow him to show his chops and get cast in something that he can sink his teeth into

    Actress: Neve Campbell

    Singlehandedly helped restart the teen horror market but has been off the map since having to star in Rom Coms in the early 2000's. She should be utlitlized by the right director.

    November 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MattR

    was Eric Roberts ever really on the A-list?

    November 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. BrettBayne

    It might strike some as silly to nominate Eddie Murphy as a comeback contender, when he never seems to go away. I was so inspired by the early comedies of Murphy—who can forget his turns in 48HRS, Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop and Trading Places? And his standup films are unforgettable. But after a promising start, Ed started phoning it in. Genuine laughs have been replaced by moronic situations and juvenile humor. Face it: Can Daddy Day Care, Meet Dave, Pluto Nash and the Klumps compare to his early films in any way? Here's a guy who deserves a return to his earlier glories. A new standup film or a new movie that can really put his talents to good use.

    November 18, 2009 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ed Tallahassee

    Jaleel White, I know that he will never live down Steve Urkel.

    He was hilarious in the episode of Psych.

    I think I could see him Full-time on a Comedy.

    I would like to see him back on TV, hopefully not having to play a nerd, but they could have an episode where he has to Urkel-out and that could be funny.

    November 18, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  16. tiffster

    My picks:
    Jennifer Jason-leigh – very underated

    Micheal Madsen – too cool for school!

    Honorable mentions: Virginia Madsen, Ryan Philippe

    November 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  17. May

    Wil Wheaton. Although his career as a writer is going well, I'd like to see the him on film. His acting range hasn't even begun to be used on screen past, "Stand By Me." There's a lot of depth and talent in Wheaton. In some ways he reminds me of a Clark Gable/Gary Cooper type.
    PS He's not a relative of mine. 🙂

    November 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Joel

    My choice for actors are two guys who actually quit by choice, but I remember for many memorable roles...Rick Moranis and Joe Pesci.

    November 18, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  19. cc pennes

    this boggles my mind, because he is such a fine actor, and is always good in anything i've seen him in, but this is par for the course in hollywood!

    November 18, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Kevin

    I'm so happy to see Michael Richards back as part of the reunion on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I think that situation was blown way out and we forgot just how funny and talented he is.

    Carol Kane. An amazing actress that I feel can do no wrong.

    November 18, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  21. DJ

    Mena Suvari for sure, what did happen to her?

    November 18, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |

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