To have staying power in Hollywood an actor or actress must be versatile. Those stars who confine themselves to certain types of roles risk getting typecast. That sometimes means that they may not even get the opportunity to try something new. Case in point, the late George Reeves. He was so heavily typecast as television’s Superman, that most movie producers and casting directors simply laughed at him when he auditioned. Even when he finally did get finally get cast in a big screen hit, his part was slashed out of the film because test audiences recognized “Superman” when he came on screen.
Other stars simply aren’t capable of doing more than a limited scope. For example, some are great comedians but cannot play drama. Some are excellent singers and dancers but can’t pull off the rest of the film. These limitations can seriously restrict an actor or actress regarding film choices. Such limitations can be dangerous, particularly when moviegoers move in cycles that make certain types of movies more popular than others. Case in point, in the 60’s moviegoers started moving away from the once popular movie musicals. Stars like Elvis Presley, therefore, found it more difficult to find film roles that suited their limited talents.
Today, the stars with staying power can do a little bit of everything. They can sing, they can dance, they can take a pie in the face with the best of them, and they can pull off any dramatic scene. The more versatile the performer, the more likely it is that he or she will stick around. Hollywood no longer covets nothing more than a pretty, or handsome, face. Being sexy alone also won’t cut it. Even those actors and actresses with bodacious bods better realize that their muscles, or curves, won’t last forever. Those must be backed up with acting talent.
So who, in today’s list of rising stars, has staying power and who is just a flash in the pan? I decided to explore that question. I developed my list, which is separated by sex, with my top ten stars in both categories. I’ll begin with the women and follow up in another article with the men. See what you think and do not hesitate to share your ideas as well.
Top 10 Actresses with Staying Power:
10. Anne Hathaway (singer, limited dancer, comedienne, and dramatic actress)
Widely underrated as a film star, Anne Hathaway continues to chip away at the critics who cannot see what her fans obviously do; a beautiful, classy young woman with talent to spare.
Anne’s first major film role was opposite Hollywood legend Julie Andrews in “The Princess Diaries.” She held her own with Andrews, both in acting and singing. She also had a notable role in “Nicholas Nickleby” opposite Charlie Hunnam and Jamie Bell in 2002 and then went out to play in a quasi fairytale entitled “Ella Enchanted.”
Once a top-ranked soprano, Hathaway was a top runner for the role of Christine in the 2004 movie “The Phantom of the Opera.” However, due to scheduling conflicts with the sequel “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement,” she couldn’t take the role.
Her dramatic turn in “Brokeback Mountain” proved that Anne was more than just a pretty face. It made critics stand up and take notice. Her next role was opposite yet another Hollywood legend, Meryl Streep, in “The Devil Wears Prada.” However, she played the role so effortlessly, that it barely seemed that she was acting at all.
Don’t expect this dark-eyed beauty to fade into the woodwork. She’ll just keep coming and coming until she gets the break that she so richly deserves and then she will prove, once and for all, that she’s no flash in the pan.
9. Sarah Michelle Gellar (dramatic actress, comedienne, and limited singer)
Pegged to play the part of Erica Kane’s daughter in the popular ABC soap opera All My Children, Sarah gained as much attention for her inability to get along with her co-star Susan Lucci as she did for her outstanding portrayal of the bitchy younger Kane. But the notoriety paid off for her. She was quickly tapped to play a coveted role in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Gellar gained kudos for her portrayal of the teen queen with ultimate angst, managing to convince critics that she could not only act, but that she could do it with style.
Along the way, Gellar dabbled in movies here and there, including a pivotal role in the sequel to the highly popular “Scream” and the equally scary “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” However, not wanting get herself slotted as a “scream queen,” she also took on the quasi-animated “Scooby-Doo” and its sequel, sharing the screen with hubby Freddie Prinze Jr.
Her role as the manipulative siren Catherine in “Cruel Intentions” showed a sexier, edgier side to Sarah Michelle that her fans found fascinating, if not totally enjoyable. Her return to horror in “The Grudge” and its sequel has received mixed reviews. And I have to say that her return in “The Grudge 2” almost made rethink her place on this list.
Still, Gellar seems to have her pick of interesting scripts; all the while considering a big screen version of her popular Buffy character. She’s even been mentioned as a possible choice for the much-ballyhooed “Wonder Woman” film, which seems aptly named for this no-nonsense beauty.
8. Amanda Bynes (comedienne and dramatic actress)
Bynes gained instant popularity on television in the delightful comedy What I Like About You. Coincidentally, about the same time, she made her first feature film; a coming-of-age comedy opposite television’s equally likeable Frankie Muniz in “Big Fat Liar.” Her break through part came quickly opposite Colin Firth in the movie “What A Girl Wants.”
Often compared to comic greats like Lucille Ball, and Gilda Radner, Bynes seems to have a real flair for physical comedy. Still, she manages to keep that freshly scrubbed, girl-next-door face glowing with health and undeniable beauty. Bynes continues to try to new things; first voicing a role in the animated feature “Robots” and then taking on the roll of a girl pretending to be a guy in the highly popular family film “She’s the Man.”
With a universal appeal among young and old and male and female alike, Amanda Bynes seems destined to succeed.
7. Lindsay Lohan (comedienne, dramatic actress, singer, and liimited dancer)
To say that this starlet is controversial is a major understatement. It seems impossible to turn on the television, read a magazine, or pick up a tabloid without seeing her face splashed everywhere. One could wonder if she has a twin stashed away somewhere because of the two diversely opposite personalities that seem to lurk inside her slim body.
Lohan has actually made her fame from family films like “The Parent Trap” and “Freaky Friday.” But when the fiery redhead came of age, she seemed intent on destroying her good girl image once and for all. She and gal pal Paris Hilton are often seen together on a party circuit and both have, coincidentally recently turned themselves into rehab for substance abuse issues.
Lindsay remains popular among tweens for her roles in movies like “Mean Girls,” “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” and “Just My Luck” but her image problems may be partially responsible for the dismal failure of her long-awaited family film, the remake of “Herbie: Fully Loaded.” Still, it appears that this young lady can act when she puts her mind to it. She received good reviews for a small, but pivotal role in the recently released. drama “Bobby.”
If this twenty-something drama queen can get her life under control, there may just be no stopping her. She definitely can sing, dance, and act. Let’s hope she spends her time doing that rather than frittering her life away.
6. Natalie Portman (dramatic actress, limited comedienne)
Much more than a pretty face, Portman speaks five languages fluently and graduated from Harvard University. Her obvious intelligence and poise helped her to earn the coveted role of Queen Amidala in the three prequel movies to “Star Wars.”
With only a handful of films under her belt, Portman has already won a Golden Globe as well as been nominated for an Oscar for her role as a stripper in the controversial film “Closer.” But it is her role as the hapless heroine in “V for Vendetta,” where she willingly shaved her head, that has made both critics and producers sit up and take notice.
Smart, pretty, talented, and gutsy; it is likely that these traits will take this young star wherever she wants to go, including straight to the top.
5. Jennifer Garner (dramatic actress, comedienne)
Not since Diana Rigg took over the role of Mrs. Emma Peel on the 60’s wildly popular The Avengers, has any woman garnered as much attention for her slinky, sexy outfits and kick-butt antics. As Sydney Bristow on television as Alias, Jennifer not only looked good, but could act with the best of them.
Although not traditionally beautiful, in the most classic sense, Jennifer’s striking dark hair, twinkling eyes, and pouty lips combined with her wonderful sense of humor, poise, and personality give her that extra glow that sells every ounce of her considerable charm.
Jennifer’s first big screen foray “13 Going on 30” showcased her abilities to absolute perfection. Her follow-up role opposite future husband Ben Affleck in “Daredevil” let Garner to once again show off her incredible athletic prowess. This led to a starring role in her own spin-off film, “Elektra.” Although critics panned the movie, Jennifer’s fans continued to clamor for more.
After the completion of her popular television series, and some time off to spend with her new husband and baby, Jennifer has returned to the big screen this January in “Catch and Release.” This is not likely to be the last we will see of this talented actress who has already proven she is no flash in the pan.
4. Jessica Alba (dramatic actress, dancer)
This stunning starlet first made headlines as the star of the sci-fi television series, Dark Angel. Almost overnight, she became the darling of TV. Her unusual and sexy good looks, slim figure, athletic ability, and apparent vulnerability made her the girl that everyone wanted to protect.
Once her TV series ran its course, Alba moved to the big screen. Her first movie a dance romance called “Honey.” Although the film was not exactly a box office smash, Alba impressed the critics with all that she had to offer. This led to her eventual role as a stripper in the gritty “Sin City” with Bruce Willis, Clive Owen and Elijah Wood. Here she proved that she could hold her own against some of the best actors in Hollywood and sealed the deal with regard to being one of the sexiest women alive.
Moving back to her superhero roots, Alba signed on to play the Invisible Girl in “The Fantastic Four,” based on the popular comic book series. She continues to spread her wings and try different roles to show her versatility and range. It’s a safe bet that this starlet will continue to surprise audiences for years to come.
3. Rachel McAdams (dramatic actress, comedienne)
Once upon a time, it seemed that this lovely star might actually be overlooked. Playing mainly second fiddle roles in comedies like “Mean Girls” and “The Hot Chick,” she could have disappeared into oblivion without ever receiving her due. However, a decidedly mature turn in the heartfelt romantic drama “The Notebook” opposite Ryan Gosling, finally put Rachel right where she should be; front and center.
Taking a risky turn, Rachel signed on to do the thrill-a-minute sky-high Wes Craven film “Red Eye,” which allowed her to show her versatility. This eventually led to a small, but decidedly pivotal role as the sister-in-law from hell opposite a high-impact cast in “The Family Stone.”
Although Rachel headed back to comedy in “The Wedding Crashers,” this time she did so on her own terms. Now it seems that the sky is the limit for this talented and versatile young actress.
2. Jessica Biel (dramatic actress, comedienne)
Jessica Biel continues to surprise her fans. Once pegged as the sweet an innocent Mary Camden on television’s “7th Heaven,” she shocked both fans and producers alike by posing semi-nude in the less than innocent “Gear” magazine. It gained attention although not exactly the type of attention she wanted. For awhile it appeared that Biel might be dumped from her hit show. However, the producers felt better of the decision and she stuck around while still getting enough time off to pursue her big screen career.
Her next decision to make “slasher” flicks seemed equally risky. Her remake of the “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” was heavily panned by critics. However, Biel herself got noticed. Her next turn as a butt-kicking heroine in Wesley Snipes’ popular Blade trilogy simply added to the mystique that she was building. Her next film “Stealth” opposite Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx continued to prove this girl could do just about anything.
The 2006 film “The Illusionist” finally allowed Biel to shine. Now recognized as one of Hollywood’s most beautiful up-and-coming starlets, Biel flashes nothing but class with just a touch of sass on the red carpet. With both movie producers and fans enamoured with her all American girl appeal, it is safe to bet that this star is on the rise.
1. Scarlett Johansson (dramatic actress, comedienne)
Scarlett’s beauty is obvious. Her pale, creamy skin, sparkling eyes, and luscious lips topped with a stunning head of golden blond hair have already made this starlet the pinup girl of many an adolescent boy. But good looks are not all that this savvy young woman has to offer. Her sense of style ensures her place on best-dressed lists every year. Her poise on the red carpet and in interviews is second to none. But more than all of that, this girl can act.
Scarlett captured the attention of moviegoers as a young girl in “The Horse Whisperer.” Now, only a few short years later, she has already cemented her place in Hollywood. Opposite Bill Murray in “Lost in Translation,” Scarlett earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Since then she has continue to garner acclaim in “Girl With the Pearl Earring,” “The Island”, and “Match Point.”
Glamorous, beautiful, talented, sexy, and dedicated are just a few of the reasons that Scarlett could never be a flash in the pan.
Now that you know my picks for the Top 10 Actresses with Staying Power, it is time for me to share my choices of actresses that may well just be
Flashes in the Pan:
Although it pains me to list these first five, the truth is they are somewhat limited by their talent. My sincerest apologies to their fans:
10. Hillary Duff (comedienne, singer, and limited dancer)
It is not that this girl can’t act. She can, in truth, be quite funny but in limited types of comedy (at least so far). She can also sing like a proverbial lark and dance a little. Perhaps that should be enough. It is, in fact, more than some of the actresses listed above. However, Hillary’s dramatic turns in films thus far have proven rather limited and unless she can turn that around, she just may not have the staying power for a long-term career. It pains me to say that because I absolutely love this actress. All I can say, is I’ll be happy if she proves me wrong.
9. Christina Ricci (dramatic actress and limited comedienne)
This is another actress that I really like. I have since her role in “Casper.” She is cute. She is charming. She is adorable on so many levels. She definitely has dramatic power. However, so far her comedic turns have not been as impressive. And unlike, Duff, as far as I know she can’t even sing. Again, I’d love for her to prove me wrong. I’ll even do a little happy dance!
8. Alicia Silverstone (comedienne and limited dramatic actress)
I once had such high hopes for this actress. She’s funny. She’s sweet. And she is so darn adorably cute. But Alicia is not a good dramatic actress. Every attempt she has made thus far, at a dramatic turn, has not just fallen flat, but actually bottomed out. It pains me greatly to say that because, like Ricci, II love this girl. She was hilarious in “Clueless.” She was even kind of cute in “The Crush.” What she wasn’t however, was particularly goo. If she can strengthen her dramatic capabilities, she might still have a chance. She has her own following and appears more than willing to welcome her back with open arms.
7. Cameron Diaz (comedienne who thinks she can dance)
I realize that to many fans, Diaz is already a full fledge star. I’m sorry, guys, but I just don’t get the appeal of this actress. Her roles are all basically the same. She plays one variation or the other of a lovable screwball who doesn’t mind walking around half-naked and singing or dancing poorly. I’m just not sure that it is enough to win her long-term stardom. I have seen glimmers of dramatic capability. She needs to develop that and seek roles where she can highlight those talents. If she cannot, it is possible that she will not have a long-term career. Although with the amount of money she currently pulls in per film, maybe she doesn’t care.
6. Katie Holmes (supposed comedienne and dramatic actress)
First, let me admit up front that I never watched “Dawson’s Creek” on TV. Therefore, my views of Katie are based solely on her film work. Of course, it might not matter. I’m not sure Katie will act again anytime soon. Therefore, tthis may not be a crushing blow to anyone. However, if her dramatic turn in “Batman Begins” is any indication, Mrs. Cruise just doesn’t have what it takes to become a top-level star.
5. Beyonce Knowles (comedienne, singer, and limited dancer)
Granted, she only has a couple of acting roles under her belt so far. Still, I’m just not impressed. The “Pink Panther” was abysmal and Beyonce was even worse in it. She was not bad at all in “Dream Girls” but she also wasn’t Jennifer Hudson. If she wants to have long-term staying power in Hollywood, Beyonce needs to cultivate the remainder of her acting capabilities.
4. Sienna Miller (????)
This actress has received way to much play off her relationship with Jude Law. If she can actually act, I haven’t seen it yet. Sorry, but being pretty just isn’t enough. I don’t see any redeemable acting talent so far.
3. Janet Jackson (singer and dancer)
She may not return to the silver screen anytime soon – – or ever. I vote for never. She can sing like a lark and her dancing is pretty darn good, but acting is another thing altogether. I have to say, even as a child her skills were limited. She got mostly on her cute looks. That will no longer cut it in Hollywood today.
2. Jessica Simpson (singer and comedienne)
I simply do not get the fascination with this blond bimbo. She’s not that pretty, although she is cute enough. Her voice really isn’t half bad. However, the “way” she sings is absolutely annoying. Okay, I admit that she has a killer bod, but come on guys, that just isn’t enough. Acting takes talent. If this girl has any, she hides it well.
1. Paris Hilton (????)
Are you kidding me? This wanna be everything is absolutely nothing! She can’t sing. She can’t act. She isn’t even that pretty. She’s getting by on a name and a trust fund. That seems criminal with so many talented actresses left out in the cold.
There you have it guys: My picks for the actresses with staying power and those that are just a flash in the pan. I welcome your comments and suggestions. Drop me an email or just comment below.