Who says Hollywood actors are too big for TV?

Sunday, 24 August 2014 - 6:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Hollywood stars are increasingly juggling duties on both small and big screen

A tsunami of film stars is sweeping over television with the best and biggest names (Oscar winners and nominees included) grabbing the best shows, mini-
series and TV movies. Once considered a career-killer, it's now a calling card.

The usual way for stars to go would be to build up a following on television and thereafter move to the movies. But given the quality of work, the stability and the constant publicity, stars are staying.

But why has this happened? Let's consider the facts. Unless you're making a superhero movie, movie-making remains a risky business and movie deals fall through all the time. TV, however, makes sure that you're booked for at least a year/season, regardless of the show working out or not. If you're signed for an entire season, you have a regular flow of income as an actor. And if the show gets reruns, the royalties ensure constant returns.

And the writing has got better. And as one industry watcher has noticed, TV has, of late, got more cinematic.

Oscar winner and TV show True Detective's star Matthew McConaughey couldn't have said it better when he explained at the Critic's Choice Awards recently that the quality of television today was key to his decision to moving to the small screen. "Television is raising the bar on the character-driven drama series. It just is. What other medium do you get to have that as actors and writers - that tasty act one which is all that character development that we love. You don't get that anywhere else. Where else do you get to see that introduction to character so patiently unfold on the screen? ... Plus, you've got the weekly episodes. You've got the Monday-morning watercooler talk. You've got the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, whatever those days are, anticipation of seeing the next episode and I can't wait to see it. That's what television has given us as artists and that's also what television has given us as audiences. I'd say thank you to that."

Everyone from Zooey Deschanel, Sally Field, Kiefer Sutherland, Jeff Daniels, Alec Baldwin, Ashley Judd, Claire Danes Don Cheadle, and, of course, Charlie Sheen have moved to television at varying points of time in the recent past and stayed for good reason.

But it is the A-Listers, the ones who are the most awarded, most popular stars making a shift to TV in long and short formats in the fiction genre that are ensuring that the current quality of television today stays constant. Is the golden age of US-produced television already upon us?

Halle Berry

Film last seen in: X-Men: Days of Future Past

On TV in: Extant, a Steven Spielberg production

In Extant, she plays an astronaut harbouring a secret

Eva Green

Film last seen in: 300: Rise of An Empire (2014); Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014; Upcoming)

On TV in: Penny Dreadful (New)

In horror show Penny Dreadful, she plays Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic, composed, driven heroine.

Mark Ruffalo

Film last seen in: Begin Again (2014)

On TV in: The Normal Heart (TV Movie)

Plays an openly gay writer from New York in The Normal Heart, set in the early 1980s

Kevin Spacey

Film last seen in: Inseparable (2011), Horrible Bosses (2011)

On TV in: House Of Cards (Ongoing, 2 seasons completed)

As Francis Underwood, an ambitious Democrat who ends up as the 46th President of the United States, Spacey is a tour-de-force in House Of Cards

Clive Owen

Film last seen in: Words And Pictures (2013)

On TV in: Steven Soderbergh's The Knick (New)

As a surgeon in New York's Knicerbocker times, Owen seems to have aged in The Knick

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Film last seen in: White House Down (2013)

On TV in: The Honourable Woman (New)

In The Honourable Woman, Maggie plays Nessa Stein, Baroness Stein of Tilbury, an Anglo-Israeli businesswoman who eight years ago surprisingly became the new head of the philantrophic Stein Group

Kevin Bacon

Film last seen in: RIPD (2013)

On TV in: The Following (Ongoing, 2 seasons completed)

In The Following, Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent, recalled to assist the FBI once serial killer Joe Carroll escapes and his cult begins to develop

Ashton Kutcher

Film last seen in: Jobs (2013)

On TV in: Two And A Half Men (Ongoing)

As TAHM's billionaire Walter Schmidt, Kutcher is also TV's highest paid movie star

Paul Giamatti

On TV in: Hoke (Upcoming)

Film last seen in: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Plays a hard-boiled Miami homicide detective with “possibly insane” tendencies in this series set sometime around 1985

Bill Murray

Film last seen in: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

On TV in: Olive Kitteridge (upcoming)

The much celebrated actor will be seen opposite Frances Macdormand who plays title role in Olive Kitteridge



On TV in: Sherlock (3 Seasons)

Film last seen in: August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate, 12 Years a Slave, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

TV's Sherlock became quite the busy film star over the last two years with films like . Now, the new season of the detective drama depends on his availability and that of co-star Martin Freeman, as both are doing several films as of now and might not find the time to shoot episodes for the fourth season anytime soon.

What's next

Fox recently ordered a pilot about a male strip club starring Jennifer Garner

Ed Helms, Hilary Swank, Ed Harris will star in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's greenlit TV drama 'One Percent'

Robert DeNiro will take off where James Gandolfini left off in Criminal Justice

Jamie Lee Curtis has signed up to star in a soapy drama pilot. She will portray a doctor and the mother of quadruplets, all of whom grew up as the subjects of a reality show

American Idol aside, Jennifer Lopez will produce and star in a police drama called Shades of Blue

Meg Ryan has signed on to produce and star in a comedy about a single mom who decides to return to work at a New York City publishing house.

Here, too!

Anil Kapoor in the Indian version of 24

Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh

Salman Khan in Bigg Boss

Manoj Bajpayee in Encounter

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