Popular TV Actors Who Could’ve Become Movie Stars But Didn’t

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Some stars leave the television to pursue a career in movies and while some manage to achieve that, not everyone has that luck. Here are some popular TV actors who couldn’t become movie stars.



Michael C. Hall

Best known for his work on the critically acclaimed crime-drama show Dexter, Michael C. Hall ranks easily amongst the best actors of this generation. Prior to playing the fan-favorite vigilante serial killer, the actor had also worked in Six Feet Under, another HBO drama series that earned him a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

While the actor is known for his versatility and wide range, Michael C. Hall has failed to leave a mark on the big screen. Considering that the actor fought a long battle with cancer, he was out of the game for quite some time. Nevertheless, he returned once again as Dexter Morgan in Dexter: New Blood. The actor has also starred in Netflix’s critically acclaimed The Crown, where he plays the role of the late President John F. Kennedy.



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Aaron Paul’s ‘Need for Speed’ failed to become a franchise and he ended up going back to the TV.

The role of Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad was Paul’s big break. When Paul was cast in the DreamWorks film Need for Speed, he gained his first lead role in a feature film. The film is based on video games of the same name. In spite of the film’s international success, it received negative reviews. The plan was to turn Need for Speed into an international franchise with the release of Need for Speed 2. In any case, Paul wasn’t contacted about taking part in follow-up films. 

Paul has re-entered the television industry in recent years. In addition to being the executive producer and voice actor on the animated series BoJack Horseman, he currently appears on the Apple TV series Truth Be Told and HBO’s Westworld.



Popular TV actors who couldn't become movie stars | FandomWire
The Guardian

Another one of the popular TV actors who couldn’t become movie stars, Matt LeBlanc landed starring roles in films such as the sports comedy Ed and the sci-fi adventure Lost in Space with his success as a television star. Unfortunately, both films failed to meet box office expectations and received very poor reviews.

LeBlanc announced a break from acting after ‘Joey’ was canceled in 2006. In 2011, LeBlanc returned to television series by starring in Episodes, as a fictionalized version of himself. He received four Emmy nominations and one Golden Globe during the five seasons he worked on the show. The CBS sitcom Man with a Plan featured LeBlanc in the lead role from 2017-2020.


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Source: CinemaBlend

Heigl made her television debut in 1999 as Isabel Evans on the science fiction series Roswell on the WB. But it was the role of Izzie Stevens, on the ABC series Grey’s Anatomy in 2005, that made her a major TV star. She won an Emmy in 2007 for the same. 


The same year, she starred in Judd Apatow’s ‘Knocked Up’. She was anointed as Hollywood’s new “it girl” after the film won positive reviews and was a box-office hit. Her subsequent leading roles never paid off, at the box office or otherwise, even though 27 Dresses and The Ugly Truth both made a tidy profit. Heigl expressed interest in returning to Grey’s Anatomy in 2012, regretting her decision to leave the show. However, she never returned to the series.


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Topher Grace’s success on That ’70s Show got him tipped as “the next Tom Hanks”. One of Grace’s first big-screen leading roles was in In Good Company, an end-of-year awards-season contender that did not earn the actor much recognition.

Having left television, his first major film role was as Eddie Brock in Spider-Man 3, but three years later he played an important role in Predators, an attempt at revitalizing the Predator series. Despite those roles, he failed to become a big-screen star.


As the decade progressed, he got work in Interstellar, BlacKkKlansman (playing David Duke) and Irresistible (2020), while he also lent his voice for Robot Chicken and The Simpsons. He also had a part on a recent episode of The Twilight Zone.


Written by Anushka Gupta

Articles Published: 32

I love everything pop culture and I have many thoughts that need to be talked about. So I write.