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convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen 
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Post convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Well I thought I'd give it a shot at starting a new topic.

Through the last decade or so I noticed that some actors, almost exclusively male "character actors" who impressed me with their screen presence in a few (or more) movies and all of a sudden they seem to be stuck in tv shows (and that's more often than not a one way ticket, blocking the way back to high budget movies). Not saying this is bad, but I miss some of them on screen. Badly!

I'd love to see your list and read your opinion as to why (age, career decision, bad agent, no other choice: it's tv or nothing, considered lack of charisma/box office draw......)

Here is my small list to start the topic:

Clancy Brown - he was great in quite a few roles until around 2000, including such highly regarded movies as "The Shawshank Redemption" - then, after seemingly disappearig, I saw him as the main villain in the axed-after-two-seasons tv show Carnivàle (2003). He was awesome. What hapened? He's still only age 51.

Gary Senise - Forrest Gumb, Apollo 13, Ransom, Snake Eyes, The Green Mile, Mission to Mars - and again: around 2000, he seemed to be gone and then stuck in CSI:NY. What happened?

Kiefer Sutherland

Kurtwood Smith

John Lithgow

The only woman I can think of is Marg Helgenberger, she did fine in some unremarkable flicks, just to be stuck in CSI.

Looking forward to reading your posts.


Last edited by Threeperf35 on Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:34 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the amall screen
Clancy Brown is Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants.


I'll get a clean-up crew to get rid of the chunks of your blown mind.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:39 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Patrick wrote:
Clancy Brown is Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants.


I'll get a clean-up crew to get rid of the chunks of your blown mind.


Are you calling me crazy? Hmmm, well, I might be. :lol:
O.K. seriously. Well I didn't closely follow the carreer of each of the actors described above. Just started a topic. Perhaps my examples aren't that good/representative....


Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:45 pm
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Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Vincent D'Onofrio best known as Detective Robert Goren from Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:08 pm
Profile YIM
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Threeperf35 wrote:
Patrick wrote:
Clancy Brown is Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants.


I'll get a clean-up crew to get rid of the chunks of your blown mind.


Are you calling me crazy? Hmmm, well, I might be. :lol:
O.K. seriously. Well I didn't closely follow the carreer of each of the actors described above. Just started a topic. Perhaps my examples aren't that good/representative....


I'm not calling you crazy or saying Clancy Brown is unrepresentative of your example, I was just saying what he was doing lately and I'm sure the shock of him being Mr. Krabs would be mind-blowing like it was to me.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:14 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Sutherland was in that Mirrors remake(which I actually liked BTW) though I wonder what he's going to do to fill the void now that 24 is over.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:17 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Patrick wrote:
Threeperf35 wrote:
Patrick wrote:
Clancy Brown is Mr. Krabs on Spongebob Squarepants.


I'll get a clean-up crew to get rid of the chunks of your blown mind.


Are you calling me crazy? Hmmm, well, I might be. :lol:
O.K. seriously. Well I didn't closely follow the carreer of each of the actors described above. Just started a topic. Perhaps my examples aren't that good/representative....


I'm not calling you crazy or saying Clancy Brown is unrepresentative of your example, I was just saying what he was doing lately and I'm sure the shock of him being Mr. Krabs would be mind-blowing like it was to me.



Got it. Sorry, it was a misunderstanding. :)


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:35 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
corpen11 wrote:
Vincent D'Onofrio best known as Detective Robert Goren from Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


Perfect example! That's exactly what I'm talking about!


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:36 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Vexer wrote:
Sutherland was in that Mirrors remake(which I actually liked BTW) though I wonder what he's going to do to fill the void now that 24 is over.


Kiefer's kinda been a bit busy with voice-over's like The Wild, that Land before Time sequel and apparently Marmaduke


Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:38 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Patrick wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Sutherland was in that Mirrors remake(which I actually liked BTW) though I wonder what he's going to do to fill the void now that 24 is over.


Kiefer's kinda been a bit busy with voice-over's like The Wild, that Land before Time sequel and apparently Marmaduke

A Land Before Time sequel, was he seriously THAT desperate for work? Cuba Gooding Jr. also did voice-work in one of those sequels.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:51 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Vexer wrote:
Patrick wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Sutherland was in that Mirrors remake(which I actually liked BTW) though I wonder what he's going to do to fill the void now that 24 is over.


Kiefer's kinda been a bit busy with voice-over's like The Wild, that Land before Time sequel and apparently Marmaduke

A Land Before Time sequel, was he seriously THAT desperate for work? Cuba Gooding Jr. also did voice-work in one of those sequels.


Kiefer was working on 24 at the time, we all thought it would the ultimate Jack Bauer torture weapon. We were wrong unless it happened on Season 8...which I doubt.


Oh and speaking of CSI, Laurence Fishborne seems to be there now instead of prophesizing about some surfer dude named Neo.


Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:16 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Not quite what the OP was looking for but Bryan Cranston is just about the best actor I've seen working in television. He's just brilliant; can do anything and often plays a scene (in Breaking Bad in particular) that that works as both comedy and drama at the same time. The guy's a genius.


Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:14 am
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Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
I honestly had no idea Clancy Brown was Mr. Krabs until I saw the credits. Even then I was in disbelief. He was kickass on Justice League as Lex Luthor.

I would add Timothy Hutton from "Leverage" and Bruce Campbell is playing sidekick on "Brun Notice". I imagine they're both happy as Leverage just started season 3 and Campbell is hanging out in Miami.


Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:27 am
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Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
majoraphasia wrote:
Not quite what the OP was looking for but Bryan Cranston is just about the best actor I've seen working in television. He's just brilliant; can do anything and often plays a scene (in Breaking Bad in particular) that that works as both comedy and drama at the same time. The guy's a genius.


I hate you for beating me to this...lol. I saw this topic and thought BAMO I can add something new to it! scroll down...grumble grumble freaken Majoraphasia

But yeah...+1 Billion to Bryan Cranston being awesome.


Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:28 am
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Bobby Flay


Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:54 am
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
Holly Hunter on Saving Grace.


Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:25 pm
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Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
corpen11 wrote:
Vincent D'Onofrio best known as Detective Robert Goren from Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


Seriously. Anyone who's seen The Salton Sea knows this man deserves a bigger stage than fucking Law and Order

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Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:28 pm
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Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
JamesKunz wrote:
corpen11 wrote:
Vincent D'Onofrio best known as Detective Robert Goren from Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


Seriously. Anyone who's seen The Salton Sea knows this man deserves a bigger stage than fucking Law and Order


D'Onofrio left L&O:CI this past season. He wants to get back into films.


Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:54 pm
Profile YIM
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
JamesKunz wrote:
corpen11 wrote:
Vincent D'Onofrio best known as Detective Robert Goren from Law and Order: Criminal Intent.


Seriously. Anyone who's seen The Salton Sea knows this man deserves a bigger stage than fucking Law and Order


It may be blasphemy in a film forum, but I would argue that quite a bit of the stuff being done on the "small screen" is much better than just about anything done on the "big screen" in the last few years. The quality of shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Arrested Development, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, Big Love, West Wing, etc. not to mention some of the incredible miniseries that have been done: Band of Brothers, The Pacific....

The stigma of appearing on TV has certainly been removed, and some actors have done their best work there. I think it's great and to denigrate someone for appearing on a "small stage" is just wrong, as far as I'm concerned.


Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:12 pm
Post Re: convincing big screen actors stuck on the small screen
MunichMan wrote:
It may be blasphemy in a film forum, but I would argue that quite a bit of the stuff being done on the "small screen" is much better than just about anything done on the "big screen" in the last few years. The quality of shows like The Wire, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Arrested Development, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, Big Love, West Wing, etc. not to mention some of the incredible miniseries that have been done: Band of Brothers, The Pacific....

The stigma of appearing on TV has certainly been removed, and some actors have done their best work there. I think it's great and to denigrate someone for appearing on a "small stage" is just wrong, as far as I'm concerned.


I do agree. My point was never that tv shows (es pecially the rather high budget dramas) are inferior to big screen movies. I can say the same about stage plays.

It's not about the quality of the product. The question is about the lasting impact. There are thousands of tv channels in the US alone as we speak. With one good episode of one good tv show you basically got nothing - you need to be in to that show and know its universe. Some shows are episodic, while others are basically one giant 40+ hrs movie, don't miss one single episode. Others are a mix: episodic (a "case each week" ) plus side stories going through the episodes. I yearn and long for the 70s, where shows like "Columbo" consisted of self-contained movies - no side -or even main - threads/strands/stories to force you into: "don't miss one episode".

A big screen movie still is supposed to be a self contained story with high production values and with the photography intended to work on the big screen. Even though some tv shows - with the advent of HD-TV - are made to high standards, they will always be shown in an environment where advertising/commercials are just around the corner, and the next show is waiting in line, and you can zap at will through channels. The picture itself is devoid of value, at least until the season is available on DVD, because the channel logo shows up in some corner. No matter how close tv will come to movies to be released theatrically: there still is a huge difference. It's a work of art (or trash, that's not the point=) that receives respect. No zapping/channel surfing, no little guys at the bottom, dancing around together with the lettering: coming up next:...

TV, no matter what, is still inferior and less sought after as a career-decision, to the "moving picture show".


Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:27 pm
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