A-list Movie Stars Joining TV Shows

March 17, 2014  |  
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There was a time when A-list movie stars wouldn’t have been caught dead doing television shows but times have surely changed. Instead of catching them on the silver screen, you can now find these actors on the small screen.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey’s first words ever uttered on the big screen were “Alright, alright, alright” in 1993’s Dazed and Confused. Since that breakout performance he’s gone on to star in over 30 movies. This month the Texas native won the Academy award for Best Actor as ladies man turned AIDS activist Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club. Starring in HBO’s acclaimed series True Detective, McConaughey is an early favorite to win an Emmy for his role. If he does, he will become the first to win an Oscar for Best Actor and an Emmy in the same year.

Clive Owen

Clive Owen made it big over in England before coming across the pond to find an audience here in the U.S. The English actor won critical acclaim and picked up an Oscar nomination for his role in the 2004 movie Closer. After snagging lead roles in such movies as Sin City and The Inside Man, Owen partnered up with Steven Soderbergh’s Cinemax series The Knick. Set in downtown New York City in the 1900’s, the series will focus on Knickerbocker Hospital and the surgeons and nurses who pushed the bounds and limitations of medicine during a time of high mortality rates and zero antibiotics.

Billy Bob Thorton

He may be best known for his short-lived marriage to Angelina Jolie, which was filled with numerous public displays of affection and even vials of blood, but Billy Bob Thornton has been starring in movies since the early 90’s. This spring Thornton will star in the remake of Fargo on FX as a drifter named Lorne Malvo who moves to a small town in Minnesota to negatively influence the residents with malice and violence. The series is also slated to air in the U.K.

Viola Davis

There’s no denying the talents of Viola Davis. An alum of the Julliard School, Davis has won two SAG awards and a Tony along with picking nominations for an Academy, BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. Named as one of the most influential people in 2012 by TIME magazine, Davis is set to star in a brand new television series by Scandal creator Shonda Rimes. The Won’t Back Down star will play the lead character in the sexy thriller How To Get Away With Murder pilot.

Halle Berry

Halle Berry got her start by playing a junkie in Spike Lee’s 1991 film Jungle Fever. Since then she’s gone on to star in a multitude of movies and earned an Academy award for the 2001 film Monster’s Ball. This summer Berry will head to the small screen with a brand new CBS show. She will play an astronaut who arrives home after a year-long mission in Extant. The mini-series is slated to air July 9th.

Greg Kinnear

Greg Kinnear got his start hosting a short-lived game show in the early 90’s before snagging the role of talk show host in Damon Wayans’ Blankman. Featured in over 20 movies since then, Kinnear earned an Oscar nomination for his role in As Good As It Gets. Earlier this year, the Indiana native took on the lead role in Fox’s hour-long show Rake as the down on his luck but lovable lawyer Keegan Dean. Kinnear also received critical acclaim for his turn as John F. Kennedy in the 2011 miniseries The Kennedys.

Minnie Driver

English actress Minnie Driver made her television debut with a deodorant commercial in the U.K. before grabbing small parts on various TV shows. After her supporting role in 1995’s James Bond film Golden Eye, she caught Hollywood’s attention with Good Will Hunting. The film helped her earn her first Oscar nomination. No stranger to television, Driver has gone back to her roots with NBC’s About A Boy. Playing depressed vegan single mother Fiona Brewer, the show is based on the 1998 novel of the same name.

James Spader

Some actors are known for playing eccentric characters and James Spader is definitely one of them. Stealing the show in such films as Pretty In Pink, Crash and Stargate, Spader brought his infamous kookiness to the small screen as the colorful lawyer in The Practice and its spin-off show Boston Legal. He also had audiences rolling in laughter as the idiosyncratic boss Robert California in The Office. Starring in NBC’s The Blacklist, Spader makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck as government agent turned world-class criminal Raymond Reddington. Spader has earned a Golden Globe for his role.

Don Cheadle

Actor Don Cheadle has starred in numerous movies since the mid 80’s but it was his role in the genocide film Hotel Rwanda that earned him much praise, critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination. No stranger to television Cheadle starred on the Golden Girls’ short-lived spin-off The Golden Palace before joining the cast of Picket Fences for two seasons. Cheadle currently stars on Showtime’s House of Lies as the cutthroat management consultant Marty Kaan alongside Kristen Bell and Glynn Turman.

Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson got her start in the entertainment industry with an appearance in an episode of Sister, Sister before switching over to the silver screen. Best known for her roles in Baby Boy and Hustle & Flow, Hollywood started to pay attention to Henson after she was nominated for an Academy award with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Returning back to television, the single mom of one played detective Joss Carter in CBS’ Person of Interest before her character was killed off after a couple seasons, now she will star in the new TV drama Empire.

Jennifer Lopez

She started out as a dancing fly girl on Keenan Ivory Wayans’ sketch comedy show In Living Color before launching a very successful singing career. Jennifer Lopez delved into the world of acting by playing slain Spanish singer Selena in her biopic. After starring in numerous films, the Bronx native set her sights back on her music career but now she will return to television but not as a dancer. Lopez is gearing up to produce and star in the NBC police drama Shades of Blue where she will play a detective that goes undercover in the FBI’s anti-corruption task force.

Meg Ryan

Meg Ryan’s breakout role was in the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally where she infamously faked having an orgasm during a lunch date at a restaurant. For the past decade or so Ryan has sporadically starred in films but now she is ready for steady work and a steady paycheck. The Sleepless In Seattle star has signed on to produce and star in a comedy on NBC about an out of work mom who decides to return back to the workforce at a New York City publishing house.

Anna Faris

Anna Faris kept audiences laughing with the Scary Movie franchise before snagging the lead roles in other comedies such as The House Bunny and What’s Your Number? Faris had a guest spot on Friends and hosted SNL twice but, ready to conquer the world of television comedy, Faris singed on to star in the CBS show Mom. The funny lady plays a single mother and recovering alcoholic and drug addict struggling to put her life back together.

Michael Ealy

Michael Ealy started his acting career with an Off-Broadway play but like many others before him, he soon found himself in front of the cameras and became a movie star. He first popped up on Hollywood’s radar as the reformed thug Ricky Nash in Barbershop. In addition to films, Ealy padded his resume with a few television projects. Now starring in Fox’s Almost Human, Ealy plays a police robot in the futuristic sci-fi drama.

Kevin Bacon

Starring in films before a lot of us were even walking, Kevin Bacon has been in so many movies there’s a trivia game based on his prolific acting career, which spans over numerous genres, called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Following in his wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick’s footsteps, Bacon has momentarily ditched the big screen for a weekly television paycheck. In Fox’s The Following, Bacon plays FBI agent Ryan Hardy who is intent on tracking down a serial killer and his murderous cult.

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