12 Actors Who Are Really Just Squandering Their Career

Ever watch an actor in something and think to yourself, “Wow, they’re talented!”. Unfortunately, not everyone gets their lucky break, so we rounded up 12 actors that have the worst case of wasted career potential based on their acting careers so far.

When we’re talking about wasted potential here, we’re not just referring to actors who didn’t become successful. Some of these folks are doing alright for themselves, that’s for sure! It’s just that they could have done so much more with their talents.

Nathan Fillion

LOS ANGELES - AUG 03: Nathan Fillion arrives for the Hollywood Premiere on August 02, 2021 in Westwood, CA.
Image Credit: DFree/Shutterstock.

While he’s definitely popular thanks to the show Castle it sure took awhile for Nathan Fillion to even get that big break. Yet many fans (myself included) agree that his acting is phenomenal – he really gives it his all in any role he performs.

I’d really like to see him as a lead in a superhero movie!

Carey Elwes

Actor CAREY ELWES at the Hollywood premiere of The Human Stain.
Image Credit: Paul Smith / Featureflash Photo Agency.

For a few years it seemed that Carey Elwes was going somewhere; he starred in several movies that we all consider to be cult classics nowadays and he was also in Liar, Liar alongside Jim Carrey.

That was in the 90s but he seems to be ramping up his career again and recently acted in the new Mission Impossible film. Still, at least in the eyes of his fans, he should have starred in a lot more in between.

Jon Hamm

LOS ANGELES - FEB 23: Jon Hamm arrives for the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, CA.
Image Credit: DFree/Shutterstock.

After his iconic role in Mad Men a lot of people expected Jon Hamm’s career to explode. It really hasn’t – he’s barely starred in anything since. Then again, after seeing him being silly in Good Omens (especially season 2) one has to wonder if he’s just out there trying to have fun while waiting for the right role.

Seann William Scott

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 20, 2015: Seann William Scott at the premiere of his movie "Just Before I Go" at the Arclight Theatre, Hollywood.
Image Credit: Jaguar PS/Shutterstock.

If you don’t recognize this name it’s not surprising; after playing Stifler in American Pie his career mostly stagnated.

Some people suggested that he could have played more series roles after the movie because he clearly had talent, while others argued that he was popular a bit too early for Hollywood to cast a funny lead in a more serious movie (like they did with Chris Pratt).

Aaron Eckhart

WESTWOOD, CA. - MARCH 8: Aaron Eckhart arrives at Columbia Pictures premiere of Battle: Los Angeles on March 8th 2011 at the Regency Village Theater in Westwood, Ca.
Image Credit: Photo Works/Shutterstock.

The Dark Knight was probably the biggest movie that Aaron Eckhart has started in as of yet which is a crying shame because he was amazing as Two Face in the film. Despite this, Eckhart has only been cast in forgettable action films and romantic comedies since 2008.

Clive Owen

Clive Owen attends the closing ceremony of the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival on February 20, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
Image Credit: Denis Makarenko/Shutterstock,

He starred in the cult classic Children of Men and a bunch of other action movies (like Shoot ‘Em Up) but his career never seemed to turn into “action movie star” like the other big names. It’s too bad, too, since Clive Owen brings something unique to the table when he plays the hero.

Aaron Paul

LOS ANGELES - MAR 05: Aaron Paul arrives for ‘Westworld’ Season 3 Premiere on March 05, 2020 in Hollywood, CA.
Image Credit: DFree/Shutterstock.

Also known as Jesse from Breaking Bad, we really haven’t seen Aaron Paul do anything huge since his TV show success. Yes, he’s had steady work (like a recurring role on Black Mirror) but it’s still surprising he hasn’t starred in something major.

Michael Rosenbaum

Michael Rosenbaum at the World Premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" Benefitting the Make A Wish Foundation. Disneyland, Anaheim, CA. 05-19-07.
Image Credit: s_bukley/Shutterstock.

Who? Oh, he was Lex Luther in the show Smallville. Unfortunately for his fans, despite carrying that show with his unappreciated acting talent, he’s only been typecast in similar roles since the series ended.

Alicia Vikander

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Actress Alicia Vikander during the 73th Venice Film Festival 2016 in Venice, Italy.
Image Credit: Matteo Chinellato/Shutterstock.

Alicia Vikander is a Swedish ballet dancer turned actress that actually won an Academy Award back in 2015 for her role in The Danish Girl. You might know her from movies like the Bourne Identity and Tomb Raider but she really hasn’t starred in much considering how talented she is as an actor.

Lucy Lawless

SAN DIEGO - JULY 22: Lucy Lawless at the Spartacus panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con in San Diego, CA on July 22, 2011.
Image Credit: Brad Camembert/Shutterstock.

She killed it on Xena: Warrior Princess but when it came to a lasting career most of her roles after were minor TV characters.

Maybe it was just timing; not enough movies with female leads were being made back in the 90s!

Lindsey Lohan

WASHINGTON - APRIL 28: Lindsay Lohan arrives at the White House Correspondents Dinner April 28, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Image Credit: Rena Schild/Shutterstock.


She was a household name for a while but after dealing with some personal challenges (like drugs and alcohol) her career never really got the foothold it needed at the height of her popularity. She’s starting to make a comeback now doing smaller films but it still seems like wasted potential for the Mean Girls star.

Brendan Fraser

LOS ANGELES - JAN 15: Brendan Fraser at the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA.
Image Credit: Joe Seer/Shutterstock.

His recent appearance in The Whale proves that Brendan Fraser is immensely talented. After the huge success of The Mummy we saw him pop up in a few movies (personally I love Bedazzled) but all these films criminally underutilised Fraser’s acting talent. He should have been a much bigger star!

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