Why the trend of Hollywood actors making a beeline for television roles will not be ending any time soon

We have witnessed the phenomenon of movie stars coming to the small screen, proving that there is no replacement for talent.


                            Why the trend of Hollywood actors making a beeline for television roles will not be ending any time soon

Three months in, in 2019 and we are assured it's a great year for TV.  Not only because breakthrough TV series are dropping this year, from 'Game of Thrones' season finale to 'Stranger Things 3', but also because we have witnessed a phenomenon of movie stars coming to the small screen, proving that there is no replacement for talent. Earlier this month, Kate Beckinsale returned to TV after a decade with a binge-worthy and thrilling drama series called 'The Widow,' on Amazon Prime Originals. Recently this month, we witnessed Mark Hamill trade his 'Star Wars' lightsaber for a medieval sword in 'Knightfall.'

Julia Roberts as a therapist-turned-waitress in Homecoming (Amazon Prime Originals)
Julia Roberts as a therapist-turned-waitress in Homecoming (Amazon Prime Originals)

In the latter half of 2018, Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts, made her return to the small screen with 'Homecoming,' a psychological thriller, again on Amazon Prime Originals. Jim Carrey also returned to TV with Showtime's critically acclaimed series 'Kidding.' In 2017, legendary actress Meryl Streep shattered the stigma of stars coming to the silver screen with the starring character in 'Big Little Lies.'  The coming months also indicate that the line of movie stars plunging into the world of TV will not be ending anytime soon as Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell will star in FX's 'Fosse/Verdon' on April 9, and Uma Thurman will return to TV with 'Chambers' later in April. George Clooney will also show up on TV in May as he stars as a military boss in Hulu's six-episode adaptation of Joseph Heller's acclaimed novel 'Catch-22.' With Apple launching their own streaming site, rumors of Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon coming on television with brand new roles is also doing its rounds in tabloids.

The phenomenon, where TV is booming, and adversely affecting the film industry can be best understood from the film actors themselves who are moving to small screen. Jake Busey, best known for his roles in 1996's 'The Frighteners,' and in 1997's 'Starship Troopers,' will be appearing on 'Stranger Things 3' alongside Winona Ryder and believes that stars are switching to TV because "there is no market for movies."

Jake Busey arrives at the Art Directors Guild 23rd Annual Excellence In Production Design Awards at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on February 2, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jake Busey arrives at the Art Directors Guild 23rd Annual Excellence In Production Design Awards at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on February 2, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

 

In an exclusive interview with MEA World Wide (MEAWW), he explains how the TV shows are less of a risk than movies. "Studios don't want to take the risk of a one-off movie that may or may not do well at the box office. Instead, with television series a crossover study of business can help see whether the show is doing good or bad and they can tweak it to make it better or for worse or whatever."

The 47-year-old actor also clearly chronicles the diminishing glory of blockbuster movies. "When we did 'Starship Troopers,' the opening weekend garnered 75 million dollars but was considered a flop. Interestingly, when the 'Predator' came out in 2018, the studio was hopeful and they would get a 26 million dollar weekend and they did. Now that was considered to be number one. So the game has really changed," the actor adds.

"In 1998, 75 million dollars was a bad opening weekend and in 2018, 26 million dollars opening was a great blockbuster."

Yul Vazquez, a Cuban-American actor who was recently seen on Netflix's 'Russian Doll,' agrees. He started his career with films and boasts about 40 film credits till date. Why did he switch to TV and frequently appears in small screen shows now? Well, because the 54-year-old actor believes that that cable television is where "really good projects are happening and actors are finding really good writing and really good parts." Even the directors and writers for that matter.

Yul Vazquez attends the premiere of TNT's 'I Am The Night' at Harmony Gold on January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)
Yul Vazquez attends the premiere of TNT's 'I Am The Night' at Harmony Gold on January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)

Known best for his roles in 'Runaway Bride,' 'Bad Boys II,' 'War of the Worlds,' 'American Gangster' and 'The Infiltrator,' the actor believes that "distinction between TV and movies is being blurred now." "Everything now in a way comes into your house and you watch it on your flat screen and it's three feet wide. I mean, you know, it's all changing and it is an exciting time," he adds. 

Of course, TV is changing, but the phenomenon of filmstars gracing the small screen can arguably be credited to HBO who got Claire Danes in 'Homeland' in 2011, and Steve Buscemi in 'Boardwalk Empire' in 2014.

Now with premium cables, higher budgets and more chances of a hit amidst fierce competition, stars will hop into the TV boat, even if it's for a film. 'Bird Box' with Sandra Bullock and 'Triple Frontier' with Ben Affleck and Garrett Hedlund has already happened. There's definitely more coming. Are you ready for the golden age of digital television?