6 Struggling Actors Who Should Do TV

Chris O’Donnell is seriously pondering a move to TV, and is busily negotiating to star in a new spin-off of US Navy crime procedural NCIS.

We think it’s a smart move, with a little luck, it’ll help his career no end.

In the last few years, telly has gone from the idiot box to the brain box, where all manner of thesps find their perfect creative outlet or, failing that, a healthy pay day and a massive, adoring audience.

So if the best scripts have stopped landing on your mat, seek out talented telly creators who, alongside their movie-making colleagues (such as Diablo Cody), will be only too happy to bring your skills to the small screen.

And if those telly creators are looking for the next small screen superstar, here are some suggestions...
Kate Hudson

Why she should be on telly: Did you see Bride Wars? Fool's Gold? Sure, Gold made some money, but Bride Wars has flopped. And Hudson seems to be stuck in a rut of romantic comedies that give the phrase cookie-cutter a bad name.

Big budget musical Nine will help, but that’s more of an ensemble. She’s funny, feisty and can do great work if she has the right script and collaborators.

Our pitch: Look at Holly Hunter and Kyra Sedgwick. They’ve gone on to play interesting female lead characters on shows like Saving Grace and The Closer.

Don’t be afraid of US cable TV – some of the most exciting projects are coming from there. Just ask the casts of Mad Men or the recently finished The Shield. Michel Chiklis even spun his success on that show into a reheated film stint.

Andy Garcia

Why he should be on telly: While he’s had some great cinematic moments (if only he'd been in GoodFellas) Garcia isn’t exactly white hot, even if he’s trying to make the switch to directing. He’s about to crop up in The Pink Panther 2, which is a tragedy.

Our pitch: Follow the lead of Gary Sinise, William Peterson and Anthony LaPaglia. They’re all committed thespians, yet they’ve found sanctuary (and healthy financial terms) on crime procedurals like CSI and Without A Trace.

Sure, they’re not the most challenging characters, but Garcia would be able to direct episodes, use his paydays for indie directorial projects and shoot them in the hiatus.

Hell, he was the first choice for Sinise’s CSI: New York lead but passed on the role. CSI mastermind Anthony Zuiker would hire him in a heartbeat.

Nicole Kidman

Why she should be on telly: Some of you may find this choice controversial, but stick with us here... Sure, she’s still a star, and she’s got Oscars on her mantle, but her box office figures have been slipping (Australia’s making some money, but it’s hardly a smash) and she could use some revitalisation.

By which we don’t mean Chanel ads directed by Baz Luhrmann.

Our pitch: Toni Collette’s going great guns on new comedy drama The United States Of Tara, in which she gets to play a woman with multiple personalities.

It’s co-written by Juno’s Diablo Cody and produced by Steven Spielberg, for goodness sake! We’re not talking daytime soaps here.

Kidman should hook up with someone like Cody and find a blend of the quirky, the funny and the dramatic that suits her style and would let her enjoy herself in the part. It’s got to be better than Bewitched.

Burt Reynolds

Why he should be on telly: He’s been working with Uwe Boll. Do we honestly need to say more? Okay, we will: he’s also been in a slew of dodgy, low-rent comedies that are beneath him and his ‘tache. 


Our pitch: He’s already had some success with guest roles on TV, so he should really find a genius sitcom creator and get himself a project.

The obvious example here is 30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin; so for a creative partner, we suggest the likes of Chuck Lorre, who has made Charlie Sheen into a ratings winner with Two And A Half Men.

Or what about Greg Garcia, who keeps Jason Lee gainfully employed when the actor’s not trying to rein in unruly chipmunks? Reynolds appeared on Garcia’s My Name Is Earl, so there's a handy shared history.

Steve Zahn

Why he should be on telly : He’s another actor whose recent filmic outings have been a lot worse than his level of talent. And while he’s often the doofus on screen, he’s showed – in the likes of Rescue Dawn – that he has plenty of layers.

Our pitch: Hand him something meaty to get his teeth into. Something like The Sopranos, which worked so well for James Gandolfini. If we had a choice, we’d pair him up with David Simon, the living TV god behind The Wire.

Even if the show is low-rated, the quality shines out and makes people notice you. Dominic West is just one example of a Wire-boosted actor.

Hugh Grant

Why he should be on telly: Once the Britcom golden boy, the offers have been fewer and further between lately, whether by choice or through some of the less-than-essential movies he’s been appearing in, like American Dreamz. And he’s got too much in the acting chop department to let it go to waste.

Our pitch: Kudos. No, not a hearty round of applause, the production company. The people behind Life On Mars and Hustle. If Adrian Lester can comfortably inhabit a TV role, Grant can. Plus, with the BBC’s schedule, it’s not like he’ll be committing to 24 episodes a year and only three months off, is it?

Either that, or wait for Dr Who’s TARDIS to open up…


Total Film


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