For celebrity directors, actors, and musicians, staying relevant with audiences can be difficult. There comes a point in every creative person’s career when they have to step outside of their comfort zone and take new risks, lest they be accused of doing more of the same with the passing of time. Here are 15 Hollywood figures who are going after new innovations in 2013 with the hope to reinvent or reinvigorate their careers.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is now 65 years old and has spent ten years off of the big screen. Two terms as the Governor of California have given Hollywood pause as to whether or not his star power can still carry a mega-budgeted picture. As such, Schwarzenegger is tackling two new subgenres this year to mark his big screen rebirth. The Last Stand, released in theaters January 18th, has Schwarzenegger tackling his first Western. The film’s plot has Schwarzenegger playing a small-time Sheriff intent on defending his border town from a drug cartel on the lamb. His follow-up, The Tomb, hits theaters September 27th and has the former bodybuilder playing an inmate at a maximum security prison. The enigmatic role sees him begrudgingly help break out a new fish inmate who also designed the prison (Sylvester Stallone). Both roles stray from Schwarzenegger's typicaly super powered roles and will force the actor to draw on his vulnerabilities as an actor.
Chloe Grace Moretz
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With films like Kick-A$$ and Dark Shadows, audiences have grown used to seeing Chloe Grace Moretz play capable, no nonsense teen girls. In 2013, she will be breaking this archetype by playing the title character in Carrie. The film, which stands as the second adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel, has Moretz stepping into the role of a meek teenager whose abuse at the hands of her mother and peers sparks dark telekinetic powers. The role has Moretz playing one of her first truly awkward and outwardly vulnerable characters and will likely strike a chord with audiences in the process.
Everyone knows Michael Bay as the “big action movie guy”—The Rock, The Transformers series, and Armageddon have cemented this legacy. This year Bay will be departing the action genre in favor of a crime caper more along the lines of a Coen Brothers film. Based on a true story, Pain and Gain is described by Bay as being about "a couple of Florida steroid-abusing knucklehead bodybuilders who become criminals involved in an extortion ring and a kidnapping plot that goes horribly wrong." While the black comedy sports a decent budget ($22 million), a high profile cast (Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson), and could signal Bay’s transformation into a more serious filmmaker.
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Following the premiere of his documentary, Reincarnated, Snoop Dogg officially converted to the Rastafarian religion and committed to releasing his first reggae album in 2013. Under the new title of Snoop Lion the rapper has released two singles from the album (also titled Reincarnated) and committed to releasing the full LP sometime this spring. Regarding his new found musical style and pseudonym, the rapper told The Fader magazine "Snoop Lion, Snoop Dogg, DJ Snoopadelic—they only know one thing: make music that’s timeless and bangs."
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Shane Black redefined spec script sales in 1987 when his screenplay, Lethal Weapon, caused a record breaking bidding war in Hollywood. The film went on to be a huge success, sparking a decade long career writing ultra-violent, film noir inspired action films. None compared to the success of Lethal Weapon. In 2005, Black graduated to the role of director with his action comedy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. That film, which starred Robert Downey Jr., helped get Black the job writing and directing Iron Man 3. The popcorn superhero flick will mark a major departure from Black’s typically bleak style and will take him likely take him back into the A-list arena his career started in.
Jay-Z will go down in history as one of the most important figures in hip-hop history, but this year he will be branching out and composing the score for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. The adaptation of the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald centers on the life of millionaire playboy Jay Gatsby during the roaring Twenties. Though it may seem like an unlikely choice for the rapper, the film’s mysterious, self-made millionaire subject should be a perfect aural fit for the similarly self-made Jay-Z.
Spike Lee has directed a wide variety of films, from capers and comedies to war films and satires. In 2013 Lee will be making his first entry the genre of revenge thrillers with Oldboy. The film is an adaptation of the Japanese manga of the same name and chronicles a businessman (played by Josh Brolin) who is imprisoned without warning or reason for a decade only to emerge and exact revenge on his captors. As previously adapted by Chan-Wook Park, the tale is an extremely dark crime tragedy that will take Lee into violent and gritty territories even he has not previously explored in previous films.
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Marc Forster is a director best known for dramas like Monster’s Ball, Stranger Than Fiction, and The Kite Runner. His recent career turned to action films with Quantum of Solace and Machine Gun Preacher, but those received a lukewarm reception with most movie goers. In 2013 he’s entering the realm of horror films with the high-profile zombie flick World War Z. The film’s tumultuous production history of continuous rewrites, reshoots, and going over budget doesn’t bode well for the project. Yet with Brad Pitt leading the film and buzz worthy trailer, Marc Forster’s World War Z may establish him as a horror filmmaker to be reckoned with.
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Mads Mikkelsen has played his fair share of villains in films like Clash of the Titans (2010) and Casino Royale. This year he will be taking the role of iconic anti-hero Hannibal Lecter in NBC’s Hannibal. Following in the footsteps of actor Anthony Hopkins is no small feat and if Mikkelsen nails the morally ambiguous character, he could very well parlay the prequel series into a Dexter-sized hit with mainstream television viewers.
Rob Zombie has made a name for himself with slasher films like The Devil’s Rejects and his Halloween remakes. In 2013, he will be moving away from traditional filmmaking with the transgressive, surrealist art house horror film The Lords of Salem. After touring the festival circuit last year the film has divided audience and critics alike. It has been compared with such arthouse directors as David Lynch and Alejandro Jordowsky—references few ever thought they would toss around in reference to the typically grittier rock n’ roll filmmaker.
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Vera Farmiga has played characters beset by psychotic characters in several films, but she has yet to play a full-on psycho killer. Not only will she playing a homicidal maniac in A&E's Bates Motel, she will playing the mother to the most iconic onscreen killer in cinema history—Norman Bates. The show will serve as a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and is set to air March 18th.
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Singer-songwriter Skylar Grey is a talent who contributed to such songs as Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie” and Dr. Dre’s “I Need A Doctor.” Grey will be releasing a full album, Don’t Look Down, in the spring of this year. Eminem is producing the project, which will be departing her hip-hop collaborations in favor of an avant-garde, art rock sound. Two cuts from the album, “C’mon Let Me Ride” and “Building A Monster” are currently available for purchase.
Seth Rogen is a superstar comedy writer and performer, but this year he will be adding the title of director to his resume. This Is The End assembles his usual crew of comic cronies (Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, James Franco, Jason Segel) to play exaggerated versions of themselves in an end-of-the-world thriller. The plot is being kept tightly under wraps, but the early teaser reveals an action packed film that has as much gore as it does improvisational laughs.
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Jesse Eisenberg will be shedding his "hapless nerd" comedy persona to play the leader of a group of heist-pulling magicians in Now You See Me. The thriller has Eisenberg recast as a smooth talking illusionist who fancies himself a modern day Robin Hood. This lead role could take Eisenberg out of his typical onscreen stereotype and make him an everyman that all audiences can embrace.
Sam Raimi’s filmography is littered with action, comedy, and horror films, but he has never tackled a fantasy-- much less a property like Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. However, the success of his Spider-Man series has secured the director Oz: The Great and Powerful. The fantasy will likely rely heavily on Raimi’s knack for comedy and action, but will also force the director to build an imaginative, literary world. With any luck, Raimi will also build a long-running franchise for Disney in the process.