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10 Terrible Actors Who Won The Hollywood Lottery

 

 

There’s no tried-and-tested method to “making it” in Hollywood, and no matter how talented an actor might be, there’s no guarantee they’ll find the right projects and click with audiences in the right way.

To the same token, the most unlikely and untalented of people can rise to the top in the film industry thanks to an over-the-odds allowance of luck in their favour.

By getting cosy with a legendary filmmaker or producer – or, hell, just being related to them or even marrying them – talentless hacks can print tens of millions of dollars by scoring themselves a hit blockbuster franchise or two.

These 10 actors, each of them having categorically proven they don’t have a whole lot to offer the acting world by now, have enjoyed a baffling amount of success through a combination of perseverance and good fortune. It’s mostly good fortune, obviously.

Life isn’t fair and fate rewards the talentless, but there’s nevertheless an oddly inspiring quality to these acting non-entities making superstar lives for themselves while possessing little-to-no natural aptitude for their jobs…

10. Sam Worthington

20th Century Fox

Sam Worthington has had possibly the most fascinatingly muted career of any actor on this list, if only because despite being the lead actor in the highest-grossing film of all time, Avatar, he’s the furthest thing from a household name imaginable.

The Aussie’s first major role may have technically been in Terminator Salvation several months prior to Avatar’s release, though that’s only because post-production on James Cameron’s epic was so damn long, during which Cameron in fact recommended Worthington for the fourth Terminator movie.

Back in 2009 it really did seem like Worthington would become a huge star off the back of Avatar’s success, no matter that his protagonist Jake Sully was a bit dull (though clearly a blank slate by design).

Worthers subsequently appeared in two Clash of the Titans movies and that’s pretty much it. Since 2012 he’s been largely starring in smaller films you probably missed, though it’s at this point that Worthington’s luck truly starts to shine through.

Cameron is of course pressing on with four Avatar sequels, with Worthington set to star in every single one.

Principal photography has already wrapped on Avatar 2, and with Avatar 5 set to take Cameron and co. up to 2025, it’s safe to say that the actor’s going to be swimming in residual checks for the rest of his natural life.

Despite starring in so few movies of note, he’s reportedly worth $25+ million, and that number’s only sure to skyrocket over the next five-or-so years. Not bad for a bloke who started out as a bricklayer and was living in his car prior to scoring the Avatar gig.

9. Orlando Bloom

Disney

Orlando Bloom’s appearance as Legolas in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was just his second-ever movie role, instantly establishing him as a hot Hollywood commodity, leading to him scoring a meaty part in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise a few years later.

Between 2001 and 2007, Bloom appeared in three movies from each franchise, though as fans and casting agents alike began to realise he had all the natural charisma of a potato, his prospects elsewhere quickly dried up.

It wasn’t until 2011 that Bloom appeared again in a major movie – Paul W.S. Anderson’s risible The Three Musketeers – but what really bolstered Bloom’s luck was both of his bread-and-butter franchises eventually calling him back for another go-around.

Bloom reprised his Legolas role in the latter two The Hobbit movies, and last year rejoined the Pirates franchise for its fifth outing, with the three movies giving his bank account a surely welcome replenishment.

Between the royalties for these franchises, Bloom clearly doesn’t need to work, with a reported $35 million to his name. Given his inability to get cast in any worthwhile movie these days, though, it’s probably just as well.

8. Rob Schneider

Columbia Pictures

Rob Schneider is of course the most prominent of Adam Sandler’s entourage of goofball pals he casts in as many of his movies as possible.

Schneider first teamed with Sandler in 1998’s The Waterboy, and despite a few dubious attempts to break out as an A-lister in his own right – Deuce Bigelow, anyone? – he’s spent most of his career playing supporting weirdos in Sandler’s broad comedy vehicles.

At least Sandler occasionally lends his talents to a worthwhile project and turns in a good performance every few years, but Schneider? He seems completely content to ride the Sandler gravy train for every buck it’s worth, and in fairness, there are far worse ways to earn a living.

His net worth may be modest compared to others on this list – “only” $15 million – but for grabbing the coattails of a far more talented entertainer? Not bad at all.

7. Leslie Mann

Universal

If all else fails, there’s always good old-fashioned nepotism to get ahead in Hollywood.

Leslie Mann is best known to audiences as the actress who always gets cast as the shrill, annoying wife character in comedy movies, with her high-pitched vocal register proving intensely grating the vast majority of the time.

But Mann has a not-so-secret weapon working in her favour: she’s been married to mega-producer Judd Apatow since 1997, and it’s not at all coincidental that her career took off the year prior when she starred in the Apatow-produced Jim Carrey vehicle The Cable Guy.

Mann has in fairness appeared in many subsequent comedies which her hubby had zero involvement with, but given his industry influence, she’s at a huge advantage compared to her competition.

She’s appeared in four Apatow-produced movies over the last decade, ensuring that even if the rest of Hollywood gets tired of casting her, her husband will always find her a part.

6. Charlie Day

Universal

Of all the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actors who could’ve broken out and made it big in Hollywood, would anyone have expected it to be Charlie Day?

When you’ve got the handsome, charming Glenn Howerton chomping at the bit for his big break, it’s absolutely baffling that Day’s literally one-note, shrieking shtick would become so in-demand in Hollywood.

Day made the leap to the movies with 2011’s hit comedy Horrible Bosses, before winning lucrative voice roles in Monsters University and The Lego Movie, and also playing a major supporting part in the Pacific Rim franchise.

All of these movies save for Monsters University have brought Day back for a sequel, netting him some extraordinarily easy paydays despite basically playing a lazy variation on the same hyperactive, loud, annoying character every single time.

Day is of course perfectly cast in It’s Always Sunny, but his movie work mostly just feels like an uninspired rehash of that role.

5. Kevin James

Columbia Pictures

While it would be disingenuous to suggest that Kevin James owes all of his success to Adam Sandler – after all, he starred in the sitcom King of Queens for close to a decade – almost his entire Hollywood output has had Sandler involved in some form.

Since co-starring with Sandler in 2007’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry – the very same year that King of Queens wrapped up – the overwhelming majority of James’ movie projects have either been produced by his pal or co-starred him.

And it goes without saying that not one of these movies – Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Zookeeper and Here Comes the Boom, to name a few – have done anything to suggest James has anything to offer the world of comedy beyond overdone “fat guys falls over” slapstick tosh.

There’s probably a version of James’ career that went totally differently after the release of Hitch in 2005, but he tethered himself to Sandler, chased the cash all the way to the bank and left any possibility of artistic fulfilment in the dust.

Though Hollywood seems to have given up casting him in starring roles as of late, he’s nevertheless worth an estimated $80 million, and as long as he’s friends with Sandler, he’s always going to have those supporting role paychecks coming in.

4. Emma Roberts

Lionsgate

And now for another classic case of Hollywood nepotism at its finest. There sure are worse ways to start your acting career than being the daughter of an Oscar nominee (Eric Roberts) and the niece of one of the biggest stars on the planet (Julia Roberts).

In addition to having her aunt’s A-list clout on her side, it can’t hurt that Emma Roberts has inherited her photogenic movie star appeal, paving an easy road for her to win roles in a glut of family-friendly movies early in her career.

In more recent years she’s transitioned over to more “mature” fare such as Scream 4 and a recurring role in FX’s American Horror Story, yet she’s never given anything beyond a totally forgettable, unremarkable performance.

Without her family name and stunning resemblance to one of the most famous actors on the planet, would she be anything more than another jobbing actor in a sea of them?

Then again, she did just star in a pizza-centric rom-com with Hayden Christensen. No, really.

3. Vin Diesel

Universal

When The Fast and the Furious was released back in 2001, could anyone have predicted that, 15 years later, star Vin Diesel would be worth over $150 million, still cranking out entries into the racer-action franchise and also playing a hugely popular Marvel character?

Diesel always seemed like one of those actors who, after the public grew tired of his action flicks, would just fade into obscurity given his utter lack of charm compared to, say, the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

Despite giving only one arguably not-bad performance in his entire career – in Sidney Lumet’s 2006 crime comedy Find Me Guilty – the Fast and the Furious franchise alone has kept the actor well-fed for close to two decades.

Tellingly, most of his solo blockbuster films, like Babylon A.D. and The Last Witch Hunter, fell flat with critics and audiences, so Vin generally finds himself returning to the same reliable franchise wells: The Fast and the Furious, Marvel and xXx. Collectively, they make him the 17th highest-grossing actor of all time. Not bad at all.

It’s probably fair to say that nobody goes to see these movies for his personality, but he nevertheless manages to strap himself to well-made, entertaining blockbusters with diverse casts generally comprised of actors far more talented than he. And it doesn’t look like these wells are set to dry up anytime soon.

2. Scott Eastwood

Universal

Scott Eastwood is an especially interesting case because he’s blessed with a double-whammy of luck, being both the absurdly handsome son of Clint Eastwood – winning the genetic lottery in that respect – and a newly-minted member of the Fast and the Furious series.

Eastwood did also join the Pacific Rim franchise with this year’s sequel Uprising, but given that it bombed at the box office, it’s looking like that gravy train’s gone up in flames already.

Still, he’s presumably going to be back for Fast and the Furious 9 and however many sequels may follow. Plus, his absurd resemblance to his father basically makes him a casting agent’s wet dream regardless of the fact that he sadly lacks his father’s charming grit.

1. Gal Gadot

Warner Bros.

Alright, buckle up, because things are about to get controversial.

Yes, Gal Gadot is exceptionally well-cast as the physical embodiment of Wonder Woman, there’s no doubt about that. Her line delivery, though? Not so great.

For instance, the potentially iconic line, “I used to want to save the world”, is rendered cringe-worthy thanks to Gadot’s howlingly wooden reading, and it’s fair to say that her stilted performance is propped up by pretty much every other actor and set-piece around her. Again, she meets the physical requirements of the part just fine, but for anything more than that? Not really.

Gal Gadot was lucky enough to catch Zack Snyder’s eye, who true to form was clearly more interested in the visual rather than anything below the surface.

It’s rather telling that Gadot’s roles outside of Wonder Woman have typically seen her playing “the hot one” in one way or another – most notably Gisele in The Fast and the Furious franchise – and none of these performances are either memorable or artistically meritorious.

It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Gadot when she eventually hangs up the Diana Prince role, because while she’s very much the gemstone of the ailing DCEU right now, she’ll need to expand her acting range significantly to be anything more than the trophy wife or sexy a**-kicker for the rest of her career.

 

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