Movies can be cruel–they favor the young and the pretty. They shrink a star who was big on the small screen. They don’t reward slowly burning actors who can develop with a character.
That’s why cable shows have become the savior for a number of actors and actresses who weren’t hitting it big in film. Take James Gandolfini and Steve Buscemi–minor players in films, stars on HBO. Or Claire Danes–a relative nobody on the big screen, now a likely Emmy nominee for “Homeland.”
So who else could benefit from a good cable show? Here are a few people who should have their agents tracking down more TV offers and chasing fewer film scripts.
The Situation: She was America’s sweetheart on friends, but the only thing that’s saved her film career from being a complete flop is the low-budgets of her movies. Her string of bad romantic comedies can look like they turned a profit because they’re generally made for about $50 but the harsh truth is people only go to the as a last resort. No one says, “Let’s go see that Jennifer Anistorn movie,” but it may not be too late to hear people say, “I’m going to try that Jennifer Aniston show on Showtime.”
The Show: I see her as a pharmaceutical rep. If it’s a comedy, she can play a kind of personal disaster of a rep who sleeps with every doctor to make a sale, while also juggling other personal issues, including, perhaps a younger rival. If it’s a drama, she’s a rep who discovers that her company is involved in some kind of nefarious activity, like covering up the scary test results of a drug they pushed to market–and they’ll kill anyone who blows their cover.
The Situation: Hawke’s career is actually fine. He does some movies, and had a TV pilot last year that wasn’t picked up, but may not be completely dead yet. However, he loves the theater and has a bunch of kids and you need money to support both of those. A thirteen episode commitment on a quality cable show would allow him to bank some money to direct all the obscure plays he wants.
The Show: He plays a down on his luck actor who takes a job as a super in a building–pay, plus a free apartment. Then creepy things start happening in the building and he finds out that dealing with the supernatural is as much a part of the gig as fixing the occasional clogged drain.
The Situation: Audiences hate him.
The Show: He can’t be the star, but he could take on a good supporting role in a show starring another, well-liked actor. I see him as the best friend of the main character. I say he built a giant telecommunications company from nothing, then sold it for billions of dollars in order to retire, and now fills his days designing amusement park rides. Either that or he’s the main character’s psychologist.
The Situation: She’s always had a good grasp of who she is onscreen, and never embarrasses herself with a bad choice. Those choices are increasingly limited, though.
The Show: The all-powerful, tyrannical owner of a basketball team suddenly dies and Barrymore’s character, his only heir, is called back from her job in the fashion world to take control of the franchise. Should she sell it for a big payout or take it over herself?