Major Movie Stars Who Are Headed to TV Soon
Over the past few years, film has become more like television, and television has become more like film. After all, the big thing in the movie industry right now is ongoing, producer-driven cinematic universes. Meanwhile, a lot of filmmakers and actors who are interested in telling stories that don’t fit into the traditional blockbuster mold are taking their business to HBO, Netflix, and other television platforms.
As such, some of the best movie stars in the industry are now winding up on the small screen, whether it’s Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies or Winona Ryder in Stranger Things. Looking ahead, that phenomenon doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
Here’s a look at some of the major movie stars who now have TV projects in the works.
1. Meryl Streep
As everyone knows, Meryl Streep is the actress who has received the most Oscar nominations of any performer: 21 over the past several decades. So it’s a pretty big deal that she’s now headed to TV.
Granted, Streep has appeared on TV a handful of times before, but those have primarily either been made-for-TV movies or brief appearances in comedies like The Simpsons and Web Therapy.
Now, she has received a major, ongoing role in a drama series: HBO’s Big Little Lies. In Season 2, Streep will be playing Perry Wright, the mother of Alexander Skarsgård’s character, according to Variety.
Next: This mega movie star just landed her first TV role.
2. Julia Roberts
Mega movie star Julia Roberts recently booked her first main role on a television series when she signed up for HBO’s Today Will Be Different, per Deadline.
This new show is based on the Maria Semple novel about a woman who attempts to get her life together; the story unfolds over the course of a single day. It’s being planned as a miniseries — though, as we learned from Big Little Lies, there’s always the possibility of HBO giving it a second season if it’s popular enough.
Before this, Roberts occasionally popped up on shows like Murphy Brown and Friends, but she has never played the main character in a TV show before.
Next: This Oscar nominee also has an HBO miniseries in the works.
3. Amy Adams
Oscar nominee Amy Adams works almost exclusively in film, delivering brilliant performances in movies like Arrival, The Master, and American Hustle.
Early on in her career, Adams did do some television work, guest-starring on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The West Wing, and more; she also had a recurring role as one of Jim’s girlfriends in The Office. But she has never been the lead of a TV show before. That will change in 2018 when Adams will play the main character in the HBO series Sharp Objects.
Based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, the series will follow a crime reporter who returns to her hometown to investigate a murder. It’s a miniseries, which is presumably how HBO got Adams to commit to it. But once again, based on what happened with Big Little Lies, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a second season.
Next: This Academy Award-nominated actor has a Netflix show in the works.
4. Liam Neeson
Though he’s had some minor roles on television over the years, Liam Neeson has mainly been a film actor for his entire carer thus far. Most of the TV roles he’s had have been quick appearances on comedies like The Simpsons and Life’s Too Short.
But Neeson is now headed to Netflix on the new show, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It’s easy to see why, as this series comes from The Coen Brothers, two of the most brilliant filmmakers working today. Buster Scruggs is once again an anthology series, meaning it’s not much of a commitment on Neeson’s part.
The cast also includes James Franco, Zoe Kazan, Stephen Root, and Brendan Gleeson.
Next: This soon-to-be TV star recently won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
5. Emma Stone
In 2017, Emma Stone won the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in La La Land. Now, the next thing we’ll see her in will be a TV show. Stone will star in Maniac, a new Netflix series directed by True Detective‘s Cary Fukunaga. The show follows the fantasy worlds of two patients in a mental institution, with Stone being one of those patients, according to Deadline.
This will be by far the most significant TV project Stone has ever taken on. She has rarely ever done TV before, with the biggest previous television project of hers being a Fox show called Drive that was canceled after four episodes.
Next: Stone’s co-star in Maniac is also a film actor.
6. Jonah Hill
Emma Stone’s co-star in Maniac will be another actor primarily known for film: Jonah Hill. Hill received an Academy Award nomination for his performance in The Wolf of Wall Street, and he’s also known for films like Moneyball, This is the End, and Superbad.
He has done a very small amount of TV work, with the biggest project being an animated show called Allen Gregory that was canceled after seven episodes. But now, Hill will be playing one of the two patients in Netflix’s Maniac.
Stone and Hill previously worked together on Superbad.
Next: This huge star is headed to Hulu with a new show.
7. Sean Penn
Hulu has been really stepping up their game recently in terms of original programming. In 2017, it became the first streaming service to win the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series for The Handmaid’s Tale. Now, one of their upcoming shows will star a big film actor: Sean Penn.
That show will be The First, a drama about the first manned mission to Mars, according to Deadline. The show will be created by House of Cards‘ Beau Willimon. This is the first time Penn has ever led a TV drama in his entire career. Before now, he has only appeared on television in very small roles on shows like Friends and The Larry Sanders Show.
The First actually isn’t even Penn’s only TV project in the works right now; he’s only working on American Lion, a miniseries about Andrew Jackson.
Next: This actor, known for his big action movies, is heading to TV for the first time.
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger
After serving as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to acting in 2012. Like before, Schwarzenegger proceeded to mainly star in action films like The Last Stand, Sabotage, and Terminator Genisys.
But now, Schwarzenegger has landed his first big scripted television role ever. He’ll star in Outrider, a new Western drama from Amazon Studios. Schwarzenegger is also going to executive produce.
Before now, the biggest thing Schwarzenegger has ever done in television has been hosting the reality show The New Celebrity Apprentice, taking over as host after Donald Trump became president.
Next: This actor is jumping to TV after starring in the biggest movie of 2017.
9. Benicio Del Toro
We just recently saw Benicio Del Toro in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and later this year, he’s reprising his role as Alejandro in the Sicario sequel. Del Toro was previously nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor after playing Jack Jordan in 21 Grams.
Recently, Del Toro booked his first major TV project. He’ll be starring in Escape at Dannemora, which is based on the real-life story of two inmates’ 2015 escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility. Del Toro will be playing the lead character, Richard Matt. His co-stars include Paul Dano and Patricia Arquette.
This will be an eight-episode limited series for Showtime. So once again, this is a case where an actor who primarily works in film moves to television because the project at hand is a miniseries.
Next: This Academy Award-nominated actress is joining a major Netflix show.
10. Diane Lane
Over the course of her impressive career, Diane Lane has starred in dozens of films, and her performance in 2002’s Unfaithful earned her an Academy Award nomination. She has done a very limited amount of TV work, mainly consisting of TV movies and one miniseries in the 1980s.
However, Netflix has announced that Lane will be joining the cast of House of Cards Season 6. We don’t yet know who she’ll be playing, but we know she’ll be the sibling of another new character played by Greg Kinnear.
Lane was probably willing to commit to this TV role knowing it will be fairly limited, as the sixth season of House of Cards will be its last.
Next: This Academy Award-winning actress will star in a new TNT show.
11. Jennifer Connelly
Actress Jennifer Connelly made her film debut in 1984’s Once Upon a Time in America, and she went on to star in movies like Requiem for a Dream, Labyrinth, and Dark City. Her performance in A Beautiful Mind won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2001.
The only real television project Connelly has ever done of any significance was a Fox show called The $treet, which was canceled after just a few episodes in 2000. But now, Connelly will be the lead character of the new TNT series Snowpiercer.
This show will be based on the popular 2013 movie, which starred Chris Evans.
Next: This Marvel Cinematic Universe star is now doing TV for the first time.
12. Elizabeth Olsen
We might know Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen from TV, but their sister, Elizabeth, got into film instead. She currently plays Scarlet Witch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and she has also starred in movies like Silent House, Godzilla, and Wind River.
Recently, Olsen landed her first TV project of any kind, and interestingly, it’s a Facebook original show. According to Deadline, this will be a half-hour female-driven dramedy, and Facebook has ordered 10 episodes.
Lizzy Weiss, the creator of Switched at Birth, will serve as showrunner of this series, which does not yet have a premiere date.
Next: This star of a series of action films is headed to Amazon.
13. Kate Beckinsale
Primarily known for starring in the Underworld franchise, Kate Beckinsale has also led movies like The Aviator and Van Helsing. Beckinsale recently signed on to lead a TV series for the first time, and it’s once again a streaming show.
She will star in The Widow, an eight-episode thriller for Amazon about a woman who suddenly sees her late husband on the news, prompting her to try to uncover a mystery. The show comes from Harry and Jack Williams, who previously created the BBC series The Missing.
Next: This young actress has starred in the DC film universe, and she’s headed to Amazon as well.
14. Cara Delevingne
After first working as a model, Cara Delevingne began a film career in 2012. She has since starred in movies like Paper Towns, Suicide Squad, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The only TV work Delevingne has ever done was one episode of a BBC series called Playhouse Presents. But she recently landed one of the lead roles in a new Amazon series called Carnival Row.
This fantasy drama involves a group of mythical creatures fleeing their war-torn homeland and gathering in a city where tensions are rising and where a series of unsolved murders have taken place, according to Variety.
Next: Delevingne’s co-star in Carnival Row is also a big movie star.
15. Orlando Bloom
Delevinge’s co-star in Carnival Row is also a huge movie star: Orlando Bloom. Bloom is, of course, known for his roles in the Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, and Pirates of the Caribbean movies. He has done very little TV work outside of a few episodes of the British medical show, Casualty, early in his career.
In Carnival Row, Bloom will be playing Rycroft Philostrate, a police inspector who is investigating the unsolved murders in the show.
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