By using this service and related content, you agree to the use of cookies for analytics, personalised content and ads.
You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

8 Movie Stars Who Made Baffling Career Choices

Esquire (UK) logo Esquire (UK) 13/07/2017 Rosie Fletcher
Replay Video
UP NEXT
1
Cancel
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Watch: Is 'The Batman' is Starting From The Beginning? (Provider: Wochit)

Nobody ever sets out to make a bad movie. But there are some films featuring big stars where you have to ask yourself: what were they thinking?

These are the times when actors who were riding a career high suddenly made a really weird move. Either by taking on something clearly terrible, or jumping on a role so left field it feels like a bizarre blip in their career.

1. Natalie Portman in Your Highness

8 Movie Stars Who Made Baffling Career Choices © undefined 8 Movie Stars Who Made Baffling Career Choices

The year before Your Highness came out Portman had won an Oscar for her exceptional, brittle performance in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. Portman was gold, she was Hollywood's head girl and she could have her pick of projects. 

So she picked a bawdy medieval stoner comedy starring Danny McBride and James Franco. We'll grudgingly forgive her for No Strings Attached opposite Ashton Kutcher – hell, it was directed by Ivan Reitman who made Ghostbusters, but Your Highness? No, Ma'am.

2. Anthony Hopkins in Transformers: The Last Knight

Sir Anthony has had a long and illustrious career. He in no way has to prove anything to anyone. And it's true that not every movie he's made has been gold (The Rite, we are looking at you). But he can't have been under any illusions about what he was getting into when he accepted a part in Michael Bay's fifth 'formers film. 

It's like he said "I'm Hannibal Lecter, I'm Hitchcock, I'm Odin – f**k it, I'm doing giant robots and banking the cheque".

3. Gwyneth Paltrow in Mortdecai

Do you remember that time when Gwynnie was absolutely the hottest woman in Hollywood? When she'd done Seven, Emma, Sliding Doors and Shakespeare in Love? Yeah that was the '90s. But more recently GP had made a bit of a comeback with her recurring role as Pepper Potts, the love interest of Tony Stark within the Avengers universe.

Iron Man 3 comes out. Pepper actually gets to do some cool stuff. Gwynnie's back! And then what does she go and do? An unforgivably awful caper starring a very much off-the-boil Johnny Depp in 2015.

She's not done much else since, though we'll see Pepper again in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

4. Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed

The man who had built a highly successful career of excellent indies and credible blockbusters (he's dynamite as Magneto in the newer X-Men movies), Fassbender could have his choice of project.

And choose he did – videogame adaption Assassin's Creed. Not only did he star but this became his pet project where he produced and coaxed on board Justin Kurzel and Marion Cotillard, his Macbeth director and co-star.

When it was announced, we were surprised, hoping this pedigree might spell the first truly great videogame adaptation. It wasn't. 

5. Jessica Chastain in Mama

She'd done very credible indies The Debt, Take Shelter and The Tree of Life. Then she hit the mainstream with The Help, which nabbed her her first Oscar nod. Coriolanus, Lawless and Zero Dark Thirty (Oscar nod no. 2) followed.

And then Mama comes out – a so-so horror movie (based on a much, much better short) where Chastain wears a not very convincing wig. To be fair she shot it before Zero Dark Thirty but only just before, so it's still weird.

6. Dev Patel in The Last Airbender

After the storming success of Slumdog Millionaire, Patel hopped aboard M Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender, a terrible movie made during the era where Shyamalan only made terrible movies. Well, chalk it up to experience now he's done Lion.

7. Gary Oldman in Tiptoes

We never get tired of marvelling over how utterly weird this movie is. A film starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Beckinsale and Patricia Arquette about a man whose pregnant girlfriend falls in love with his twin brother, who is a dwarf (Oldman).

It's a strange beat at a point when his career was on a high. He'd done Bram Stoker's Dracula, True Romance and JFK, written, produced and directed Nil By Mouth, he'd rocked in Leon, The Fifth Element and Hannibal. *cough* Then Tiptoes. And then back on the proverbial horse for Harry Potter, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and on...

8. Judi Dench in the Chronicles of Riddick

Yes. Judi Dench is in Riddick. Okay, she's only in it for about eight minutes, which she spends floating around in a white cloak delivering lines like "Save your threats, Necromonger!" – but still a really weird choice for the celebrated dame.

Put it this way: Riddick falls between Die Another Day and Ladies In Lavender – if that's not baffling we don't know what is.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Esquire

AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon