Actors Whose Careers Tanked Because Of One Movie Role

It only takes one big break for someone to make it into Hollywood. Sometimes, that break takes years and years to arrive, while for others, it comes almost immediately, during their first years in the business. As things are in Hollywood, however, it also only takes one bad decision, scandal, and a horribly rated film for one’s career to go up in flames.

And nobody wants to deal with an actor or actress that will endanger their investment money, right? Unfortunately, there are lots of cases of this in show business. Here’s a shortlist of actors whose careers tanked because of one movie role.


Scarlett Johansson was already famous prior to starring in the slew of movies made by Marvel where she was given the role of Black Widow. However, in between her stints with the movie franchise, Johansson accepted the role of Major Motoko Kusanagi in the live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell.

Ghost in the Shell is beloved by many manga and anime enthusiasts, and they clamored for inclusion when the live-action film was announced. Unfortunately, whitewashing remains to be a prevalent practice in Hollywood, so instead of hiring a Japanese actress, they hired Johansson.

Boycotts followed, ripping the flooring from under the production team. The film suffered a great deal but due to Johansson’s star power, her career survived the ordeal.


They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That’s not always the case as proven by Sofia Coppola, the daughter of renowned director, Francis Ford Coppola of The Godfather films.

Coppola was cast by her father in The Godfather: Part III where she starred as the leading lady and love interest of Andy Garcia’s character. It was her first film role and it made her decide that acting wasn’t her thing. That move was like bad investment planning, but she recovered and focused her attention on honing her craft as a screenwriter and director – it turns out that she’s a thousand times better behind the camera.


Being associated with one of the classics is a dream come true to most stars. It does come with a few cons, however. Adriana Caselotti, who very few will know but was the voice behind Snow White in Disney’s very first animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was one such example. The film itself was a huge success–indeed, it was Disney’s first successful animated film–and it elevated the company’s credit score to meteoric heights, propelling it to its golden age.

It was not quite the same with Caselotti, however. She had difficulty getting roles after because of her voice, which became forever associated with the Snow White character. She got boxed in, so to speak. Although she eventually got the recognition she deserved and was ranked among one of Disney’s most pivotal figures, it did come at a cost to her career early on.


When you’re on a winning streak at a casino, it’s hard to stop. You think you’ll constantly win while the iron is hot. That notion might have some truth, but it’s not always the case–sometimes one abruptly loses a streak, and sometimes, one ends up losing everything. Such was the case with Geena Davis’ career.

Davis’ career was on an upward slope. She went from being a model to an actress and then an Oscar winner. She starred in big movies such as The Fly and Beetlejuice. This came into a halt when she appeared in her husband’s film, Cutthroat Island.

The film lost a ton of investment money, having only pulled in $10 million at the box office, giving it an incredible deficit of $88 million. Davis has never achieved the same level of success since then.


Nicolas Cage’s acting career and role choices are so well-known to the public that it sparked memes in the early 2010s. Indeed, some–nay, a lot–of the memes Cage’s face was incorporated into are still floating around the ether of the internet. He is a reputable actor with critically-acclaimed movies in his repertoire. Most of these movies, however, came early in his career–when he was, you know, still considered to be a star.

His more recent work has not seen the same acclaim. Indeed, if anything, they’ve garnered the opposite of “acclaim”. He starred in a long list of Hollywood flops like The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, and Bangkok Dangerous. True as it may be, the actor still keeps a good credit score with his net worth marked at $25 million as of 2019.


Some actors thrive in the indie scene but flop in the mainstream. It could be because of the different types of audience and taste in the mainstream. In any case, this is exactly what happened to Emile Hirsch.

Hirsch enjoyed success in his indie films like Lords of Dogtown, Milk, and Into the Wild. His mainstream project, Speed Racer, didn’t perform as well and even failed to gain back its initial $120 million budget. However, it seems he’s stepped on the gas once again by teaming up with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.


Hollywood is not just all about pretty faces. Although, sure, a pretty face will do a lot of good to one’s career, but we digress. To survive and thrive in the industry, it takes solid acting chops and dedication. When Kitsch was cast for Disney’s John Carter, many people were expecting it to make a killing at the box office. It had a very complicated story, after all, and one that required a huge amount of production money to pull off. Unfortunately, it suffered a $20 million loss despite all the investments that were put into promoting and marketing the film. Kitsch didn’t recover either in his next film, Battleship, further hitting his casting choices lower.


Didn’t expect to see him on this list, did ya? Who would have ever guessed that one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood would have a history of making bad decisions when it came to their career.

It’s true that John Travolta is a Hollywood icon. However, his film career has been on a roller coaster ride due to his role choices. His iconic career with roles in Grease and Pulp Fiction is peppered with roles like that one in Battlefield Earth in 2000.

The film performed so badly that critics hailed it as one of the worst movies ever made in history. Since then, Travolta hasn’t had any box office breaking films and yet he still keeps a good credit score with a net worth of $170 million.


It can really take one film to destroy years of work. But that hardly applies to Tom Green, who did more than a few things to destroy years of work.

Tom Green was once expected to be among the breakout stars in comedy back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, when he appeared in the 2001 film, Freddie Got Fingered, everything came crashing down.

The investment money put into the film didn’t turn any profit and the film itself was heavily scorned by critics. While Green’s film career fail to recover, he must have visited a financial advisor and focused his attention on television shows and stand-ups – a different stream of income.


There are two types of moviegoers, one who goes “Oh! It’s Adam Sandler!” and another who goes, “Oh. It’s Adam Sandler.”

It can’t be denied that Sandler has enjoyed a wonderful and fruitful career. However, it’s always been a hit or miss when it comes to his films. He’s got great films like Anger Management and 50 First Dates but he’s also got films like Jack and Jill which is regarded to be his most-hated film of all time.

Critics tore into the film and it affected the reception of his subsequent films, That’s My Boy and Blended. He tried to capitalize on the degree to which animation films like Wreck-It Ralph and the Lego Movie were doing well at the box office with the film Pixels but still failed to do so.