MTV’s Awkward is back for Season Three, and it's a good thing its stars are used to all kinds of awkward. They should take note ― because successful TV stars often have a, yes, awkward time trying to make the leap into movie stardom. While many of these actors have found their footing now, it definitely wasn’t the easiest transition to make… as the less-than-great movies they starred in prove.
Here are a handful of TV actors that hit a few bumps on the way to the big screen!
1. Katie Holmes
Long before she was Tom Cruise’s ex, Katie played the tomboy-next-door on Dawson’s Creek, winning the hearts of critics and audiences. But no one could say the same for her early roles in movies like Disturbing Behavior and Teaching Mrs. Tingle, which definitely failed to find the same balance of smarts, sex appeal, and teen drama.
2. Michelle Williams
Speaking of Dawson’s darlings, the other notable female on that show didn’t fare much better. Her appearance in Halloween: H2O may be relatively undamaging, considering it was the best of the Halloween movies since the original (not that that’s saying much). But compared to her frequently Oscar-nominated roles these days, it was a far cry from the career we know her by now.
3. Mark-Paul Gosselaar
He was so suave and smooth as Zack Morris on Saved By The Bell… but that didn’t help him much on the big screen. Dead Man On Campus stars him as a college student who tries to find a depressed roommate he can drive to suicide in order to get better grades… hmm, any wonder this got slammed by the critics and pretty much sunk his film career? Since this 1998 movie, he’s stuck to TV ever since.
4. Elizabeth Berkley
Lots of TV stars have rough transitions into film, but this is a complete crash landing. Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls is quite likely the most-mocked movie of all time, and a lot of it is thanks to Elizabeth’s bonkers performance. She gets angry for no reason, has a seriously skewed moral compass, and dances like she’s auditioning for The Exorcist. Plus, did we ever want to see Jessie Spano go full-frontal? No, not especially…
5. Melissa Joan Hart
Clarissa Explains It All… but she never explained how Melissa Joan Hart ended up in this generic teen romcom awkwardly named after a Britney Spears song. (Ohhh, 1999!) Her co-star was a future TV star, Adrien Grenier of Entourage… but the movie didn’t exactly drive audiences crazy. Or to the theaters. And yet it remains her most notable film role…
6. David Boreanaz
On TV, he was the dreamboat vampire Angel romancing Buffy Summers. And even though his big-screen debut was called Valentine, the love story was decidedly less effective. He turns out to be the killer cupid who offs such starlets as Denise Richards and Katherine Heigl in a totally unmemorable slasher movie, and his film roles have been lackluster ever since… which is why he stuck to TV with shows like Angel and Bones.
The first I Know What You Did Last Summer was a breakout hit for TV stars Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar. The second one? Pretty much a dud. Brandy played Karla, the sassy black friend who replaced Jennifer Love’s sassy black friend from the first movie. She surprisingly survived the movie, though there was no need to bring her (or anyone from this cast) back for a sequel.
8. Ashton Kutcher
He’s doing alright for himself now, financially, and jOBS might actually make him a respectable actor. But the former That ‘70s Show star didn’t exactly light up the screen in Dude, Where’s My Car? or Just Married, or… any of his movies, really.
9. Jessica Biel
She’s the lucky girl married to Justin Timberlake, and her film career now isn’t half-bad. But let’s not forget she started playing the “rebellious” Christian daughter on 7th Heaven and certainly wasn’t A-list straight out of the gate. She played “the girl” in romantic comedies like I’ll Be Home For Christmas and Summer Catch, opposite Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Freddie Prinze Jr.
10. Jennifer Aniston
She’s a bona fide movie star now, but it took a hot second for her to get there. Underwhelming romcoms like Picture Perfect and The Object of My Affection made for pretty mediocre attempts at the massive success she found on Friends… and in fact, that’s still pretty much her best role all these years later. She’s far from the only friends star to make poor choices in film roles though: Matt LeBlanc played baseball with a chimp in Ed, and Matthew Perry played Lewis & Clark with Chris Farley in Almost Heroes. In fact, Jennifer probably feels pretty damn good about herself in comparison...
Season 3 of Awkward is back on MTV -- tune into an all-new episode tonight at 10/9c!
Which TV star do you think had the most awkward transition to movies?