The Rise of Hollywood Stars on the Small Screen

Laura Bolden analyses the trend of Hollywood stars taking on small screen roles, from Rachel McAdams to Rupert Grint.

Laura Bolden
4th December 2017
Image: Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia Commons)

Every year we become more and more engrossed by television series’. Some TV networks raise the stakes by introducing new storylines that shock even the most avid of viewers, whilst others establish new hit shows that leave us desperate for more episodes. Considering the vast numbers of shows all competing for viewers and success it is no surprise that networks and studios are trying new tricks to win the world’s attention. The new secret to a hit show seems to be an all-star cast, specifically one that features movie-stars.

TV stars have been known to successful transfer to Hollywood staring in block-buster films, take Jennifer Aniston for example who successfully moved from playing Rachel Green in Friends to starring in some of the biggest films of the last decade such as Along Came Polly and Just Go With It. Traditionally working from TV to movies is considered to be moving up the success-ranks for actors whilst moving from movies to TV was seen as a desperate attempt to keep a career alive; however, more and more A-list stars are making the move to TV.

We shouldn’t be surprised by this though. with shorter shooting times meaning longer holidays, more series allowing for guaranteed employment for longer and major pay-days (remember when Charlie Sheen was earning £1.8 million per episode of Two and a Half Men) the world of television does seem more appealing. If I were to list all of the Hollywood stars who are now featuring in hit television series I would probably need my own pull out magazine, but a notable few include Kathy Bates, Zooey Deschanel and Robert De Niro.

Traditionally, moving from movies to TV was seen as a desperate attempt to keep a career alive; however, more and more A-list stars are making the move. 

Series that feature big name actors are even some of the best around, after some public scandals in her personal life Winona Ryder is currently back at her best staring in one of the most talked about series of the decade; Stranger Things. Rupert Grint’s move to television allowed him to display more versatility and move away from his typecast as the dopey Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. His character in Snatch is part of a gang of hustlers, intelligent and educated, a sharp change from what we are used to. Side note: If you have not watched Snatch yet you really should.

The American drama series True Detective is one of the show’s most known for its A-list cast. Matthew McConaughey, Collin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn are the most notable of stars who have swapped movies for the hit series. McConaughey won an award for his role in True Detective in the same year that he was awarded for his role in the Oscar winning movie Dallas Buyers Club proving it is possible to work in both films and television at the same time.

Some believe movie stars shouldn't star in television shows as their notable presence can be overwhelming and distract from the storylines, whilst others, like the networks themselves, can’t seem to get enough of the hybrid of TV and Film. One thing is for certain, the landscape of television has changed.

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