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Roles that helped the stars get back to the top

In the world of film, few can stay on top for years. It happens that even the most sought-after names give way to stars of a new generation. Some of them, however, manage to regain their position. We remind you of the 10 roles that became the new beginnings of actors from the Hollywood premier league.

Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”

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Winona Ryder was hailed as one of the world’s most promising actresses after her first major role in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Subsequent roles – in “Edward Nożycoręki”, “The Age of Innocence”, “Little Women” – and her uncompromising style ensured Winona the status of an icon of the 90s. depression and anxiety. She appeared on the big and small screens from time to time, but it was the role of Joyce Byers in “Stranger Things” that helped her return to the top. The return of the actress has even been hailed as the “Winona Renaissance”.

Robert Downey Jr., “Iron Man”

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He grew up on film sets, his father was a director, mother – an actress. Robert Downey Jr. since childhood, he played small roles in his father’s films, but in the mid-1980s he started working on his own, his career took off. Everything seemed to be going his way: thanks to his appearances in such films as “Artist Podrywacz” and “Less than Zero”, he was seen as a lover, together with Sarah Jessica Parker they formed Hollywood’s hottest couple, and for the title role in “Chaplin” he received his first nomination to the Oscar. At the end of the 90s, the actor was arrested several times for possession of drugs and weapons, he went to rehab. And when it seemed that his career was over, he was given another chance – the role of Iron Man. Playing this character, and later Sherlock Holmes, made him regain critical interest and audience recognition. – The cinema once again saved my life He said.

Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

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The role of a superhero changed Keaton’s career path. After his appearance in “Beetlejuice”, Tim Burton offered him the title role in “Batman”. The film became a world hit, and the actor joined Hollywood’s premier league. But when “Batman Returns” failed to repeat the success of the first film, and Keaton refused to appear in the sequel, his career was put into question. For the next 20 years, he spent more time at his ranch in Montana than he did on filming. As he said later, he accepted that this was the end of his adventure with acting. However, he was approached by Alejandro González Iñárritu with a script inspired by the actor’s biography. 2014’s Birdman earned Keaton his first Oscar nomination and his return to the top.

Jennifer Coolidge, “White Lotus”

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Growing up, she dreamed of becoming a dramatic actress. Her idol was Meryl Streep. But for the first few years in Hollywood, she rarely won castings because, as they said, she was “too big and too loud.” In the early 1990s, she played episodes, and her image of a comedy actress perpetuated her roles in “American Pie” and “Legally Blonde.” – I was thrown into a drawer that reads “sexy blonde with big tits.” Who I was and what I wanted to do didn’t matter – she said years later. The failures of subsequent projects drove the actress into depression and eating disorders. – I was at the bottom. I just gave up. – she recalled. The losing streak was interrupted by a call from Mike White who offered Coolidge a role in the series “White Lotus,” written with her in mind. She has proven that she can handle dramatic roles as well as comedies, and feels best somewhere in between.

Adam Sandler, “Diamonds in the Rough”

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Adam Sandler followed a similar path. The only difference is that he always dreamed of becoming a comedian. When Lorne Michael invited him to work as a writer on Saturday Night Live, Sandler was thrilled. And he was very successful in this field, he was considered one of the funniest in the industry. He made millions starring in comedies such as “From Weddings to Weddings” and “50 First Dates.” And he became the most common Golden Raspberry laureate in history. However, when “Diamonds in the Rough” hit theaters in 2019, Sandler was even nominated for an Oscar. According to Sandler, this proves that dramatic roles are still considered to be worthy of the most important awards. The star, however, still wants to play in the movies he likes the most – comedies.

Keanu Reeves, “John Wick”

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In the 90s, after the success of “On the Wave” and “My Own Idaho”, Reeves became the idol of a generation, the idol of teenagers. “Dracula” and “Speed: Dangerous Speed” strengthened his position in Hollywood. When he entered the set of “The Matrix” in the late 1990s, a film that was to change the course of cinema history, he was at the peak of popularity. Unfortunately, in the same year, just a few months after the shooting began, his beloved Jennifer Syme gave birth to a stillborn child. A year and a half later, she herself died in a car accident. Reeves was devastated. He appeared on the screen less and less. He felt the happiest on the set, but was seriously considering ending his career. However, he decided to give himself one more chance when he was given the script for “John Wick”. The film’s success in 2014 brought Reeves back into the game for good. Then came the next parts of “Wick”, and last year he played in the computer game “Cyberpunk 2077”.

Katharine Hepburn, “A Philadelphia Story”

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When we evaluate the careers of cinema legends today, it’s easy to forget that they also had difficult moments. Katharine Hepburn, after her successes in the first half of the 1930s – roles in “Little Women” and “Morning Glory”, for which she won her first Oscar, Hepburn’s star faded. The commercial failures of subsequent films meant that she received fewer and fewer offers, and the agent instructed her to look for a new profession. The situation changed when he appeared in “Philadelphia’s Tale” in 1940. The Oscar-winning film helped to reverse the losing streak, and the new chapter in the actress’s career was sealed with “Woman of the Year”, made two years later. It was from this production that Hepburn’s long-standing relationship with Spencer Tracy began.

Marlon Brando, “The Godfather”

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After his debut in “Aftermath of War”, Brando was offered to appear alongside Vivien Leigh in “The Streetcar Named Desire”. And for the role of Stanley Kowalski, he received his first Oscar nomination. Even so, he hated the movie early in his career, mostly for the sex symbol patch assigned to it. And he dreamed of roles that would challenge him, such as the one in Elia Kazan’s 1954 “On the Quays,” for which he won an Oscar. Over the following years, he slowly faded into the shadows. Perhaps he was saved from oblivion by the role of Don Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 “The Godfather.” After the film’s premiere, Brando called his performance liberation.

Maja Zimnoch, Vogue Polska September 2021 / (Photo: Andrew Jacobs / East)

“New Beginnings” is the slogan of the September issue of “Vogue Polska”, in which you will find more inspiring stories about new beginnings. The new issue is available for purchase at press salons and online.


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