Nobody said that acting was easy; of the thousands upon thousands of actors and actresses looking to make it big in Hollywood, we only ever see a very small amount. Plus, even those who do manage to break into the scene struggle to stay relevant. Fame is fleeting in Tinsel Town, and meteoric highs often spiral into depressing lows.
Such has been the case with these twenty big actors from the 2000s. It's amazing to think what one bad movie or one poor casting decision can do to a career, and, from a disastrous portrayal of Darth Vader's younger years to a cringeworthy adaptation of a vampire fanfic, these turn-of-the-century stars can't seem to find work in Hollywood anymore.
19 Brendan Fraser
Famous for films like Encino Man and The Mummy, Brendan Fraser was more of an object of the 90s, though his success certainly spilled over into the early 2000s. Fraser states that he was the victim of an assault incident in 2003, and it challenged his passion for acting, causing him to retreat from the limelight. Though he's since starred in more than a few movies and shows, he's definitely not as visible as he was twenty-some years ago.
18 Tobey Maguire
Tobey Maguire is best remembered for his role in Sam Rami's Spider-Man trilogy. Unfortunately, though the films brought him a lot of success, they also partially destroyed his career. The third installment was panned by fans and critics alike, and it played a major part in sinking Maguire's career for good. Compound that with a borderline addiction to gambling, and you've got a recipe for one disgraced ex-star.
17 John Cusack
Getting his start at the age of 16, John Cusack was everywhere in the late 90s and early-to-mid 2000s. With famous films like Serendipity, Con Air, and 1408 under his belt, his continued stardom seemed certain. However, he held an open disdain for Hollywood's culture, and he later stepped away from the world of acting to focus on defending journalistic integrity via his Freedom of the Press Foundation
16 Taylor Lautner
Getting his start as a child actor in 2001's Shadow Fury, Lautner got his big break via his attachment to the Twilight franchise. Unfortunately, his fame was directly tied to the movies, and, when they faded from relevance, so did he. The definition of eye-candy, Lautner's abdominal muscles were often thought to be more well-defined than his abilities as a performer.
15 Sam Worthington
The star of one of the highest-grossing box office releases of all time, you'd expect to hear more from Sam Worthington. However, his career never really blossomed beyond that point, and, though he'll likely play a role in 2020's Avatar sequel, things just haven't worked out for him. Perhaps he's a bit too wooden, or perhaps he struggled to stay relevant in the post-MCU world.
14 Megan Fox
Another one-time Hollywood famous for their looks, Megan Fox was perhaps most notable for her roles in the first few Michael Bay-directed Transformers films. Unfortunately, she's said to be exceptionally difficult to work with, and, after she compared Bay to Hitler, she was quickly dismissed from Transformers: Dark of the Moon and has struggled to find work in the ensuing years.
13 Hayden Christensen
The star of one of the most widely-derided film trilogies of all time, it's not hard to see why Christensen's career faltered. The Star Wars prequels are constantly panned to this day, and Christensen's underwhelming performance is a major reason for that. Though he's dabbled in a few low-budget films since then, he's never managed to regain his public presence.
12 Amanda Bynes
Though she would star in a few films throughout the 2000s, Amanda Bynes would never be more popular than she was during her tenure on Nickelodeon's The Amanda Show. Unfortunately, in the following years, she would abuse substances, eventually culminating in a 2014 DUI arrest and a 2018 mental breakdown. Though the actress has since recovered, her career has not.
11 Edward Norton
Edward Norton became a household name after the release of 1999's stellar Fight Club. However, he failed to capitalize on that success, and, thanks to his antics on the sets of The Italian Job and American History X, he would be branded as a particularly difficult actor to work with. The lackluster The Incredible Hulk likely didn't' help things, either.
10 Orlando Brown
A Disney Channel star in his early life, Orlando Brown is best-remembered these days by twenty-somethings nostalgic for That's So Raven and The Proud Family. Though he would star in a few made-for-TV movies in the 2000s, his life would soon spiral out of control, and a slew of legal issues would lead to an appearance on Dr. Phil in 2018 on which he would appear crazed and claimed that he was secretly the son of pop icon Michael Jackson.
9 Vince Vaughn
Much like Adam Sandler, Vince Vaughn is often seen as a one-note actor only capable of appearing in off-color, low-effort comedy flicks. Typecast to a tee, Vaughn found himself attached to a bunch of box office bombs in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Unable to branch out as an actor, Vaughn faded from a relevancy and has struggled to retain his stardom in recent years.
8 Dane Cook
Once thought to be one of the funniest comics to ever live, it's been quite some time since anyone cared about what Dane Cook has been up to. The fact of the matter is that audiences have cooled to his comedic tastes, and, as evidenced by the 2007 dud Mr. Brooks, he doesn't have much range as an actor.
7 Elijah Wood
Elijah Wood was one of the most talked-about actors of the 2000s thanks to his starring role in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films. However, he feared being typecast, and, as a result, shied away from many subsequent projects. Though he isn't often seen on-screen these days, he's done quite a bit of production work over the years, and he's landed more than a few voice acting gigs in the time since Frodo lost relevancy.
6 Will Ferrell
Once considered to be a comedic talent for the ages thanks to his Saturday Night Live stunts, Will Ferrell slowly fell from grace following his 2010 role in The Other Guys. Since then, he's had a hand in some major box office bummers, the most recent of which being the awful Holmes & Watson from 2018.
5 Katherine Heigl
If you watch the Hallmark Channel for any amount of time, you're bound to come across at least one of Katherine Heigl's 2000s era romantic comedies. However, her fall from stardom began in 2008 when she refused to accept an Emmy for her role in the show Grey's Anatomy. She was subsequently awarded awards for worst actress, and her output in the last 10 years has been comparatively sparse.
4 Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe once seemed to be on top of the world thanks to his early 2000s movies, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind. Unfortunately, his off-screen temper tantrums and backstage squabbles would see him dethroned from his lofty position, and he later claimed that the subsequent negative media coverage deeply affected his ability to perform. Though he's been in a few more-recent films, he's nowhere near as popular as he once was.
3 Nicholas Cage
One of the most infamous actors in Hollywood history, Nicholas Cage has seemingly participated in more disasters than humanly possible. Though his role in the National Treasure films brought notoriety, his butchery of The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice, among many others, are haunting reminders as to why Nick Cage isn't to be trusted as an actor.
2 Eddie Murphy
One of the funniest comics of the 80s, Eddie Murphy would go on to be something of a children's icon thanks to his roles in the Shrek films and Disney's 2003 The Haunted Mansion flick. Shortly after that, however, he seemingly dropped from the face of the Earth. He's hinted at retiring a few times, and he's frequently voiced his disinterest in acting at the moment.
1 Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler seemingly had a hand in just about every shlocky comedy flick from roughly 1995 to 2005. Yet, Sandler's luck eventually ran out, as a string of box office bombs saw audiences tiring of the actor. Plus, the 2014 Sony hack revealed how contemptuous he was among his peers. He's also one of the most typecast actors of all time, which is often fatal to the career of any actor.
Sources: Bloody-Disgusting, Deadline, Hollywood Reporter