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Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Old 01-19-09, 01:32 PM
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Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

I've wondered this from time to time, and there's many of you (most) FAR more learned than I. So, I'm just wondering if any of you know of directors or actors who went from HORRIBLE beginnings (bad B-Films) to major/successful? I'm not talking about Jennifer Aniston in Leprechaun or Kevin Bacon in Friday the 13th. I'm thinking about two tiers below that: Directors who worked on utter crap, but eventually became successful? Actors who were in horrible films, who went on to high levels?

I would especially want to know of anyone who actually worked on several/many hideous films, who eventually climbed the ladder...
Old 01-19-09, 01:38 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

george clooney did a lot of shitty tv/movie work until he landed ER and now he's pretty much hollywood's leading male.
Old 01-19-09, 01:40 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

This might not fit your criteria, but James Cameron's first feature was Piranha 2: The Spawning. However his next was The Terminator, so he wasn't working on crap for too long.
Old 01-19-09, 01:46 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Director Curtis Hanson went from Losin' It, The Little Dragons, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and The River Wild to L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys and 8 Mile. Jack Nicholson toiled for a decade in the Z-grade drive-in world of Roger Corman before breaking out with Easy Rider.
Old 01-19-09, 01:52 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

I wouldn't consider The River Wild a horrible B-movie. The rest I have no quarrel with.
Old 01-19-09, 02:00 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Yeah, to me I'm not sure that George Clooney toiling in sitcoms is what I had in mind, or directors who's first movie was a piece o'crap. But Jack Nicholson's resume, to me, is just about exactly what I had in mind. I guess I was wondering (especially for directors) if you do 3 or 4 DTV or just awful Z movies, if you're doomed to be there the rest of your career, or if there's any precedent for success...
Old 01-19-09, 04:22 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

George Clooney. with Killer Tomatoes, Return to Horror High.

Viggo Mortensen. also made some terrible early movies, including Texas Chainsaw 3, i think.

Peter Jackson. i know his early stuff is cult, but to me they are terrible...Meet the Feebles, Dead Alive, Bad Taste, then little breakthrough with Heavenly Creatures, but i also thought The Frighteners was bad. then as we all know he directed 3 movies that i think did fairly well.

Last edited by OldBoy; 01-19-09 at 04:26 PM.
Old 01-19-09, 04:53 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by scott1598
Peter Jackson. B]Dead Alive[/B], Bad Taste,i also thought The Frighteners was bad.
Wow....
Really? Are you serious?
His two best films were Dead Alive & The Frighteners....
Also I thought Bad Taste was very fun & entertaining....
I thought the LOTR Trilogy & King Kong were all average....
Originally Posted by FinkPish
Piranha 2: The Spawning.
Really? I thought it was a good film....
Originally Posted by scott1598
Viggo Mortensen. Texas Chainsaw 3, i think.
I disagree about him plus I loved Leatherface:TCM 3....
Viggo was in some good films early in his career....
He was a supporting actor for a long time but....
He had some solid work before he became really famous & a leading man....
Prison (1988)
Young Guns II (1990)
The Indian Runner (1991)
Boiling Point (1993)
The Young Americans (1993)
Carlito's Way (1993)
American Yakuza (1993)
Crimson Tide (1995)
The Prophecy (1995)
Albino Alligator (1996)

Last edited by Torchur317; 01-19-09 at 05:17 PM.
Old 01-19-09, 05:05 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by scott1598
Peter Jackson. i know his early stuff is cult, but to me they are terrible...Meet the Feebles, Dead Alive, Bad Taste, then little breakthrough with Heavenly Creatures, but i also thought The Frighteners was bad. then as we all know he directed 3 movies that i think did fairly well.
I always wondered who saw enough potential in Jackson's previous work to hand him a 300 milliion dollar, 3 film project on the scale of LOTR. Talk about taking a blind leap, nothing in his resume indicates he had the skill to pull it off.
Old 01-19-09, 05:08 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

I'm shocked you guys don't like his early work....
It's the complete opposite for me....
I loved his older films & I think all his new films are average....

Last edited by Torchur317; 01-19-09 at 05:18 PM.
Old 01-19-09, 05:21 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

[Gary Oldman]EVERYONE!![/Gary Oldman]
Old 01-19-09, 05:41 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by Torchur317
I'm shocked you guys don't like his early work....
It's the complete opposite for me....
I loved his older films & I think all his new films are average....
I do like some of his early work. The Frighteners is a fun movie and Bad Taste makes me laugh (I own both on DVD). I've only seen pieces of Dead Alive so I can't say whether it's good or not.
But none of his early movies indicate that he was able to pull off anything on the scale of LOTR, at least in my opinion.
Old 01-19-09, 05:52 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Jonathan Demme started out with Roger Corman doing Caged Heat. Then again, I like that movie.

Edit: I said Ted first

Last edited by Rockmjd23; 01-19-09 at 06:20 PM.
Old 01-19-09, 06:08 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Old 01-19-09, 06:19 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by FinkPish
I wouldn't consider The River Wild a horrible B-movie. The rest I have no quarrel with.
No film with Meryl Streep can be truly horrible (Mamma Mia excluded), but it's certainly an anonymous bit of hackwork, and shows no indication that the director would next helm one of the finest films of the entire decade. Hanson has a few more stinkers in his filmography as well, including the trashy yuppie thriller Bad Influence.
Old 01-19-09, 06:21 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by NoirFan
No film with Meryl Streep can be truly horrible (Mamma Mia excluded)
She-Devil.
Old 01-19-09, 06:25 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by NoirFan
the trashy yuppie thriller Bad Influence.
Good film....
Old 01-19-09, 06:43 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

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Old 01-19-09, 07:55 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Well, I don't know how well Phillip Noyce applies, since I never saw his earliest films, and I like Dead Calm, but...

... he produced a BUTTLOAD of total shit movies in the 90s: Patriot Games, Sliver, Clear and Present Danger, The Saint, The Bone Collector... I mean, shit, the guy directed SLIVER... one of the biggest turdburgers ever grilled with an e coli baste.

Then, BAMMO, he directed 2002's The Quiet American and Rabbit-Proof Fence, two of the better movies I've seen this decade. I'm talking full 180. Wow those are both great movies. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? Whatever Noyce took, I want some.
Old 01-19-09, 08:24 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

tom hanks

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Old 01-19-09, 10:00 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
[Gary Oldman]EVERYONE!![/Gary Oldman]
Nice.

I'd say, sadly, Heath Ledger. I was never a fan of his, and by the time I saw him in The Dark Knight, he had died. Had he lived, the potential future he had would've been a glowing prospect.
Old 01-19-09, 11:00 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by Zen Peckinpah
I'd say, sadly, Heath Ledger. I was never a fan of his, and by the time I saw him in The Dark Knight, he had died. Had he lived, the potential future he had would've been a glowing prospect.
Well, I agree kind of. Heath Ledger only starred in a film that deserved him with TDK, but he was incredible in everything, even goofy shit like 10 Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale. Brokeback Mountain was above average but the love story (i.e. the fucking point) took a backseat to Ang Lee effectively shooting possible postcard fronts. But I still think he should have gotten the Oscar for his performance (yes, even above PSH; I can't believe I'm saying it either).
Old 01-19-09, 11:18 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by Sanjuro37
But I still think he should have gotten the Oscar for his performance (yes, even above PSH; I can't believe I'm saying it either).
I'm in strong agreement. Ledger was absolutely perfect in BBM. The best performance of the year and his finest hour.
Old 01-20-09, 09:51 AM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Jessica Lange in the 1976 KING KONG - who thought she would have a career after that?

Last edited by marty888; 01-20-09 at 09:54 AM.
Old 01-20-09, 12:34 PM
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Re: Directors or Actors who started horrible and became successful?

Originally Posted by scott1598
Peter Jackson. i know his early stuff is cult, but to me they are terrible...Meet the Feebles, Dead Alive, Bad Taste, then little breakthrough with Heavenly Creatures, but i also thought The Frighteners was bad. then as we all know he directed 3 movies that i think did fairly well.
This.

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