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13 Actors Who Opened Up About Struggling To Find Work, And It’s Eye-Opening To Just How Difficult Working in Hollywood Is

“If I’m not acting, I’m not sure who I am.”


Heather Matarazzo

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Heather obtained her large break in 1995 with the coming-of-age movie Welcome to the Dollhouse, and she or he went on to star in different large initiatives like The Princess DiariesSaved!, and Sisters.

Earlier this week, Heather took to Twitter to voice her frustrations about her profession trajectory. In a string of tweets which have since been deleted, Heather talked about years of audition rejections. “I feel at a loss because I feel I have done THE WORK, for a long time, with no complaint,” Heather wrote. 

“I have taken the disappointments, the rejections, etc., and maintained that rejection is redirection. I have had continual FAITH in the Universe, but today, something broke. I feel cast aside. I’ve given my life to acting for over 30 years and am done struggling to survive.”

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Mena Massoud

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Mena earned the function of the century when he landed the lead in Aladdin — the 2019 live-action adaption of the 1992 Disney traditional. But regardless of starring in a movie that revamped $1 billion on the field workplace, Mena revealed he had a tough time reserving auditions after the movie’s launch.

“I’m kind of tired of staying quiet about it,” Mena instructed the Daily Beast. “I want people to know that it’s not always dandelions and roses when you’re doing something like Aladdin. ‘He must have made millions. He must be getting all these offers.’ It’s none of those things. I haven’t had a single audition since Aladdin came out.” 

“It’s wild to a lot of people. People have these ideas in their head. It’s like, I’m sitting here being like, ‘OK, Aladdin just hit $1 billion. Can I at least get an audition?’ Like, I’m not expecting you to be like, here’s Batman. But can I just get in the room? Like, can you just give me a chance? So it’s not always what you think.”

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Since then, Mena has starred in notable initiatives like Run This Town, alongside Nina Dobrev, and the Netflix rom-com Royal Treatment with Laura Marano. Mena additionally nabbed a number one function within the Hulu sequence Reprisal, but it surely was canceled after one season.


Katherine Heigl

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Katherine dominated the early ’00s with hit motion pictures like Knocked Up, 27 Dresses, and the Ugly Truth. Not to say she starred in one of many most-talked about medical dramas in TV historical past: Grey’s Anatomy. But after talking out towards her initiatives — calling Knocked Up “a little sexist” and pulling herself out of the race for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama (for Grey’s) on the 2008 Emmys, saying “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination” — issues obtained a bit messy for her in Hollywood.

Last yr, Katherine spoke to the Washington Post in a candid interview the place she detailed how the backlash affected her psychological state and the way getting older put every little thing into perspective for her.

“I may have said a couple of things you didn’t like, but then that escalated to ‘she’s ungrateful,’ then that escalated to ‘she’s difficult,’ and that escalated to ‘she’s unprofessional,'” Katherine instructed the Post.

“What is your definition of difficult? Somebody with an opinion that you don’t like? Now, I’m 42, and that shit pisses me off. At the time, I was just quickly told to shut the fuck up. The more I said I was sorry, the more they wanted it,” Heigl continued. “The more terrified and scared I was doing something wrong, the more I came across like I had really done something horribly wrong.”

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She famous that her household and mates have been “scared” for her, after seeing how the blacklisting weighed on her psychological well being. Katherine at the moment stars on Netflix’s Firefly Lane and put out a psychological thriller final yr referred to as Fear of Rain.


Sara Weisglass

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You most likely acknowledge Sara from Mary Goes Round, her stint on Degrassi: The Next Generation and Degrassi: Next Class, in addition to her latest Netflix debut within the 2021 dramedy sequence Ginny & Georgia. But regardless of her previous success, Sara — who’s been within the business since she was 6 — continues to be very accustomed to the unpredictability of Hollywood.

“I didn’t work at all last year and that was really hard,” Sara instructed the Sailfin Sessions in a 2021 interview. “I think what was even weirder was, when Ginny and Georgia came out, everyone was looking at me like I was some sort of working actor who never stopped.”

“No, I was unemployed and felt like ass. You have to be so grateful in the moments when it’s painful and you get told no. Rejection sucks, I’m still dealing with it. But the rejections make the good times so much better.”

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Sara is at the moment filming Season 2 of Ginny & Georgia.


John Krasinski

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The Office cemented its manner into TV historical past with its ridiculous characters and even sillier plotlines, and none of that may have occurred with out John as Jim Halpert. But earlier than touchdown that career-changing function, John was strongly contemplating giving up his dream of performing.

John initially went to school to change into a trainer, however later determined to attend theater faculty, and it is there the place he fell in love with performing. After shifting to New York and taking a few years to make a reputation for himself, John discovered himself caught. He was able to pack it up and transfer again, till his mother gave him a much-needed pep discuss.

“I was like, ‘So, I’m out,'” John stated on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “‘This is terrible. It’s so scary. This is the worst. Waiting tables, not as fun as they say.’ And she said, ‘You know, it’s September. Just wait it out. Just wait ’til the end of the year. Don’t give up just yet.’ I was telling her to come get me…and three weeks later, I got The Office.

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Thank goodness for fogeys! John has sustained a profitable profession in Hollywood ever since, starring in initiatives like Jack RyanIt’s ComplicatedSomething Borrowed, and A Quiet Place.


Deborah Ann Woll

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Deborah has starred in initiatives like Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You and Escape Room, in addition to hit sequence like True Blood and Daredevil. Unfortunately, when Netflix surprisingly determined to cancel Daredevil in 2018, Deborah had hassle discovering work for over a yr and it made her query her self-worth.

“I’m just really wondering whether I’ll get to work again,” wrote Deborah. “Whether anyone wants to work with me again, and whether I still have it, all of those scary things. And part of my brain goes, ‘No, you’re just being crazy, calm down.’ But the part of me that loves [acting] and the problem with being an artist and an actor, and any of these professions where you put a piece of your soul into your work, is that it becomes a part of your identity.”

“If I’m not acting, I’m not sure who I am. And since it’s been so long since I’ve really gotten to do it, I’m struggling a little bit with how to maintain my self-worth, my sense of my own value. I haven’t had an acting job since, and that’s been really hard for me. So even before COVID kind of flipped the world on its head, I was struggling with this.”

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Deborah was featured within the 2021 movie Ida Red alongside Melissa Leo and Josh Hartnett.


Liz Gillies

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Liz’s declare to fame got here in 2010, when she landed the long-lasting function of Jade West in Nickelodeon’s Victorious. After the present resulted in 2013, she thought provides could be rolling in left and proper, however as a substitute, Liz discovered herself taking part in the ready recreation in her great-grandma’s basement.

Liz instructed the Zach Sang Show, “When I was done with Nickelodeon, I was like, ‘That was so much fun. People are going to be casting me so much right now. I was so good on that show…let’s just sit by the phone.'”

“Cut to me in my basement playing The Sims for 18 hours. I’m not lying. Cut to my great-grandma of 98 being like, ‘She needs to go out and get drunk, and maybe have a one-night stand, because it’s killing us.'”

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Liz at the moment stars on The CW’s Dynasty reboot. It was simply introduced that the sequence’ present fifth season will probably be its final.


Brendan Fraser

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There was a time while you could not go to a movie show with out seeing Brendan’s face on a poster. He starred in hit franchises like The Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth, in addition to fan favorites like Bedazzled, George of the Jungle, Crash, and The Air I Breathe. But even a person on the high can undergo arduous instances. 

Brendan was coping with quite a bit behind closed doorways, together with well being points, a divorce, initiatives he wasn’t happy with, and an alleged sexual assault from 2003 (Brendan claimed former HFPA president Philip Berk “grabs my ass cheek, and one in all his fingers touches me within the taint. And he begins shifting it round.”). The actor obtained to a degree the place he did not really feel worthy.

“The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why,” Brendan instructed GQ. “There’s many causes, however was this one in all them? I feel it was.” And that, he says, is why he finally disappeared for some time. “I bought into the pressure that comes with the hopes and aims that come with a professional life that’s being molded and shaped and guided and managed. I just felt I couldn’t be a part of it. I didn’t feel that I belonged.”

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Brendan has since regained his confidence and jumped again into roles that imply one thing to him. He’s gone on to star in HBO Max’s Doom PatrolLine of Descent, and No Sudden Move. He’s additionally set to be part of the upcoming launch of Batgirl.


Susan Sarandon

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Susan Sarandon is an business veteran, with a rap sheet stuffed with field workplace hits and cult classics, starting from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Thelma & Louise to Stepmom and Tammy

And after being within the enterprise for therefore lengthy, Susan realized a factor or two about Hollywood’s code of conduct…or lack thereof. During a 2013 interview on Oprah’s Master Class, Sarandon talked about how Hollywood treats actors once they age, particularly girls.

“You’re so punished in this business,” Susan stated. “When people say, ‘Do you think you’ve lost work because of your politics?’ I say, ‘No, you lose work because you get old and fat!’ That’s when they write you off in Hollywood. There’s the inevitability of the deterioration of the physical. That forces you to think, really, what is beauty and what survives?”

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Susan is about to star in an upcoming drama sequence referred to as Monarch concerning the Romans, the fictional first household of nation music, in late 2022.


Gal Gadot

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Gal obtained her begin within the Fast & Furious franchise, however rose to fame as soon as she entered the DC Universe in Wonder Woman. Since then, she’s starred in large initiatives like Justice League, Red Notice, and Death on the Nile. But her profession path wasn’t a simple one. In a 2020 interview with Access Hollywood, Gal revealed that she doubted if performing was actually for her.

“There’s so much rejection in this profession,” Gal stated. “And it came to a point where I was just like, ‘Is it really worth it?’ [My husband and I] were in LA for a trip, and I was telling my husband, ‘Look, we’re here now, but we’re leaving in two weeks…I don’t know if we’ll ever come again.'”

“‘I don’t know if I want to pursue [acting].’ And then, during those two weeks, I had the Wonder Woman audition. Isn’t it crazy the way the world, the universe, works?”

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Gal is at the moment engaged on two upcoming movies, together with a spy drama referred to as Heart of Stone, and a live-action adaptation of Snow White, the place she’ll play the Evil Queen.


Joshua Bassett

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Joshua at the moment stars on the hit Disney+ mockumentary musical comedy High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. But earlier than incomes that breakout function, Josh was having a really arduous time reserving gigs.

In a 2021 interview with Access Hollywood, Joshua revealed why he nearly walked away from performing and the recommendation his father gave him that made him change his thoughts.

“It was, like, audition after audition of me getting really close to things, and the reason why I wasn’t getting them was always ridiculous,” Joshua stated. “It was either somebody had a larger social media platform or some ridiculous reason. I was just getting really frustrated.”

“I remember telling my dad, ‘The joy of [acting] is gone. I don’t enjoy it anymore. It’s not something I want to do.’ And he [was] like, ‘You’ve gone this far, why don’t you just wait it out a month?’ And I was like, ‘OK, fine.’ I was ready to quit that day and then just about a month later is when I got the show.”

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Joshua just lately starred within the Disney+ authentic movie Better Nate Than Never.


Laverne Cox

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Before her breakout function within the hit Netflix sequence Orange Is the New Black, Laverne nabbed components briefly movies and Law & Order. During that point, she nearly gave up on performing and regarded going to grad faculty. Laverne determined to exit for yet one more audition, and the remainder is historical past.

“I was just devastated by, like, turning 40, and my life was kind of in shambles financially, and I had worked and trained a lot, and my dream of being a working actress had not come to fruition,” Laverne stated throughout an interview for the Paley Center’s Pride Month programming, People reported in June 2021. 

“I was just like, ‘I’ve got to do something else. I mean, who do I think I am? I’m a Black transgender woman — no one’s ever done this before, let me go and do something, have a real job or something.'”

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Not solely did Laverne land a number one function in Orange Is the New Black, but it surely additionally led her to change into the first overtly trans actor to obtain a primetime Emmy nomination. Most just lately, Laverne was featured in one other widespread Netflix restricted sequence, Inventing Anna.


Hong Chau

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Luck strikes while you least anticipate it, and for Hong, it occurred simply when she was excited about saying goodbye to her performing desires for good. Before incomes her breakout function in Downsizing alongside Matt Damon, she had a tough time staying optimistic about her performing profession.

“I’ve thought about quitting so many times,” Hong instructed E!. “Because I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and Downsizing is only my second movie.”

“Every once in a while, something would come along that would keep you in there for another, like, couple of months before you’d want to quit again, and so luckily I didn’t quit and I stuck with it.”

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Since then, Hong has starred in different main titles, like Amazon Prime’s Homecoming and HBO’s Watchmen. She’s additionally anticipated to look within the upcoming psychological movie The Whale.

Are you accustomed to a time when a star spoke out about not getting work? Tell me about it within the feedback under!

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