In 2014, Matthew McConaughey revived his A-list status, nabbing an Oscar, Emmy nomination and critical acclaim for his roles in “Dallas Buyers Club” and “True Detective.”
Once the star of ho-hum comedies such as “Failure to Launch” and “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” the actor achieved an impressive career turnaround, which was dubbed a “McConaissance.”
With the dawning of a new year, which movie star will undergo a similar film career renaissance in 2015?
Here’s a look at some actors who could use a career turnaround – as well as their odds of actually achieving it.
Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams: The actors, who co-starred in the hit 2005 comedy “Wedding Crashers,” are primed for a McConaughey-esque comeback with their roles in season 2 of “True Detective.”
Vaughn’s starring turn on the acclaimed HBO series comes after a string of poorly received comedies (does anyone remember “The Internship” or “Delivery Man”?) “True Detective” could jumpstart his career in a similar fashion to the McConaughey’s, especially if either of his upcoming films, “Term Life” or “Unfinished Business,” make a dent at the box office.
Like Vaughn, McAdams hasn’t had a box office hit in years. But her “True Detective” gig, coupled with her high-profile role in Cameron Crowe’s untitled film project, which boasts an all-star cast that includes Bill Murray, Emma Stone and Bradley Cooper, could bring a new spark to her career.
Vaughn’s McConaissance odds: 3.5 out of 5
McAdams’ McConaissance odds: 3.5 out of 5 (but 4 out of 5 if combined with romance with fellow A-lister)
Renee Zellweger: Let’s leave out the chatter about her appearance. The fact is that Zellweger, once one of Hollywood’s most winning stars, dropped out of the spotlight around five years ago after her last few flicks bombed at the box office. Prior to disappearing from the big screen, the star headlined several successful films, ranging from her breakthrough “Jerry Maguire” to the “Bridget Jones” movies to “Chicago,” not to mention nabbing an Oscar for her role in “Cold Mountain.”
Can Zellweger re-ascend to to the top of the A-list? Perhaps, but it won’t be easy. While her new appearance reignited attention, her upcoming films don’t seem equipped to help her achieve a Zellweggaissance. (Even her name doesn’t even lend itself to a catchy headline.)
Both “Same Kind of Different as Me,” co-starring Djimon Hounsou, Greg Kinnear and Jon Voight, and “The Whole Truth,” co-starring Keanu Reeves, have plots that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Lifetime movie.
For Zellweger to revive her dormant film career, she’d be well served in finding a role that shows off her comedic charm in order to win back audiences who loved her in “Bridget Jones” or “Jerry Maguire.”
McConaissance odds: 2 out of 5
Keanu Reeves: Can Reeves regain his status as one of Hollywood’s biggest box office stars? The actor has been candid about his recent career downturn, telling Indiewire that “it sucks” he no longer gets offers for major studio films, which is why in recent years he’s started in indie flicks such as the box office dud “47 Ronin.”
But Reeves surprised Hollywood when his action film “John Wick” scored at the box office in late October. The movie, which had only a $20 million budget, took in $14 million in its opening weekend and has earned $42 million to date.
So it seems that Reeves has already ignited his own mini-McConaissance with his recent hit. But what can he do to keep it going?
Well, he has already taken a page out of McConaughey’s playbook: He signed on to star in the TV miniseries “Rain,” which is scheduled to debut in 2016. Since the action miniseries will see him once again collaborate with his “John Wick” directors, it seems like a smart move.
As for his films due out this year, the most promising one seems to be “Knock Knock,” a horror thriller directed by Eli Roth. Moviegoers seem to love the “Matrix” star when he’s in badass mode, so if Reeves stays in that groove, he has a real chance to regain his movie star status.
McConaissance odds: 3 out of 5
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Will the former governor be back…on the A-list? The actor largely took a hiatus from Hollywood while he focused on his political career, and lost some of his movie star cred in the process.
But with his appearance in 2014’s “The Expendables 3” marking his big screen comeback, Schwarzenegger is hoping to re-establish his box office dominance with a trio of films that harken back to his 80s heyday, starting with a return to his most popular role.
Schwarzenegger stars is the long-awaited “Terminator Genisys,” a reboot of the mega-successful franchise. While fans have been skeptical about how the new film, due out in July, deviates from the saga’s mythology, ultimately the success of the new “Terminator” movie will depend on how much moviegoers want to see Schwarzenegger portray the killer cyborg again.
Besides “Terminator,” the star is also signed on for “The Legend of Conan,” a follow-up to his “Conan” films, as well as “Triplets,” a sequel to the 80s comedy “Twins” that reunites him with Danny DeVito.
Schwarzenegger’s strategy to reclaim his box office stardom through nostalgia is probably his best bet to reclaim some of his faded action star glory.
McConaissance odds: 3.5 out of 5
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