CATEGORIES FeaturesWith all the Lindsay Lohan drama in the news lately -- complete with advice from industry types regarding her best chances for a comeback -- we got to thinking about other actors who could use another shot at fame (the good kind).
Not many have flamed out as publicly and spectacularly as she has (Robert Downey Jr. comes to mind -- and just look at him now!), but there are several who, like Lohan, once basked in both critical and commercial acclaim, only to lose it all -- or most of it -- to drug/alcohol addiction or other setbacks.
Here are some actors who've struggled with various demons (or just grew up) and who deserve to be back in the spotlight. Casting directors, take note:
One of the most promising young actors of the '90s, Furlong is mainly known for his portrayal of John Connor in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' and as Edward Norton's little brother in 'American History X.' He was equally good at playing troubled young men in indie dramas 'Little Odessa' and 'Animal Factory,' but by the early 2000s he'd lost control of his life and career, having become addicted to heroin and cocaine. Apparently clean and sober for years, Furlong has been working steadily in mostly under-the-radar films (though he has a role in next year's 'Green Hornet').
Possible comeback vehicle: We'd like to see him in a high-profile indie drama that would give him a chance to show how compelling he can be onscreen.
Best known for 'American Pie,' its sequel, and 'Scary Movie 2,' Lyonne has been most memorable starring in offbeat comedies such as 'Slums of Beverly Hills' and 'But I'm a Cheerleader,' which allowed her earthy everygirl persona to shine through. Several years after a DUI arrest, the former child star -- along with then-boyfriend Furlong -- seemed to be spiraling downward (culminating in a crazy threat to molest a neighbor's dog), but she eventually completed treatment at a drug and alcohol facility in 2006. Since then she's worked on several smallish projects and the thriller '13,' which has yet to see a U.S. release date.
Possible comeback vehicle: We'd love to see her in (yep) an off-beat comedy directed by, oh, maybe Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ('Little Miss Sunshine').
He may be completely overshadowed these days by (estranged) little sister Julia, but Eric was a major star -- and infamous Bad Boy -- in the '70s and '80s, his intense acting style offset by tough, pretty-boy looks. He received Golden Globe nominations for 'King of the Gypsies' and 'Star 80' as well as a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for 'Runaway Train,' but was equally renowned for offscreen acts, including arrests for drugs and domestic violence. (He also lost custody of daughter Emma in a publicized battle with his ex-girlfriend.) Roberts hasn't exactly been idle of late, appearing in music videos, as himself in HBO's 'Entourage,' and in various films (he had small parts in 'The Dark Knight' and 'The Expendables'), but it's time for another major role.
Possible comeback vehicle: Roberts has always been great playing very, very bad guys, but we'd like to see him as an decent sort (a cop?) for a change, in a solid crime drama. (Note: He's a cast member of the upcoming Season 4 of VH1's 'Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,' which we'll assume ends well for him.)
Like Eric Roberts, Busey has appeared as himself on 'Entourage' and took part in 'Celebrity Rehab,' Season 2 (supposedly as a mentor, but that's a whole other story), but his road has been a tougher one in some ways, due to the brain injury he sustained in a 1988 motorcycle accident. His Oscar-nominated performance in 1979's 'The Buddy Holly Story' was undoubtedly the highlight of a long and varied career, but we think there's still a place for him onscreen.
Possible comeback vehicle: The best way to get his foot back in the door may be as a judge on a reality show, just because he's so damn entertaining -- and OK, a little scary -- as himself. (And since he is a musician ... say, has 'American Idol's 2011 cast been confirmed yet? With him aboard, we'd definitely start watching.)
Poor Mac. Can he ever hope to recapture the popularity he enjoyed at age 10 when 'Home Alone' became an enormous hit and his shocked, cherubic face was plastered on posters everywhere? Of course not, but we haven't given up on him, even at the hoary old age of 30. Post-childhood, he didn't play it safe onscreen, portraying debauched Club Kid Michael Alig in 'Party Monster' and a wheelchair-bound cutie in 'Saved!,' but his career has since been eclipsed by younger brothers Rory and Kieran (who recently stole many scenes in 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.') Macaulay was arrested in 2004 for drug possession, but he's not known to be a major abuser, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Possible comeback vehicle: Maybe his best bet would be to star with his siblings -- assuming they're all on speaking terms -- in a quirkier 'Brothers McMullen'-type film, directed by someone(s) like Jay and Mark Duplass ('Cyrus'). Stunt casting, sure, but we'd see it.
The former star (she played Lois Lane) of the Christopher Reeve 'Superman' franchise, Kidder is -- sadly -- also known for her bipolar disorder, which manifested itself in a highly publicized manic episode in 1996. (She's since been treated successfully.) Her career had already been hindered by injuries sustained in an on-set car accident several years before, which limited her roles. In the past decade she's taken a variety of small film and TV parts, most recently playing Laurie Strode's therapist in 2009's 'Halloween II.'
Possible comeback vehicle: She's done well with horror (one of her earliest acclaimed roles was in Brian De Palma's 'Sisters' and she starred in the original 'Amityville Horror') and has a sense of humor (she spoofed herself on an episode of 'Family Guy'), so maybe a decent role in a smart horror comedy along the lines of 'Zombieland' would be the ticket.
Haley Joel Osment
Like Macaulay, Osment achieved mega-success at a very early age, with a starring role in 'The Sixth Sense,' followed two years later by 'Artificial Intelligence: A.I.' And like most child stars, he's had a less than smooth transition to adulthood, career-wise. Aside from appearing in 'Secondhand Lions' in 2003, he's done mostly voice-over work in films and video games. He was arrested for DUI in 2006 and sentenced to three years probation, but that doesn't seem to have affected his career one way or another. In 2008 he appeared on Broadway in a revival of 'American Buffalo,' which quickly closed (not his fault). Next he's executive producing and starring in the forthcoming indie 'Montana Amazon,' about an eccentric family.
Possible comeback vehicle: In case 'Montana Amazon' doesn't put the 22-year-old Osment back on the radar, it would be interesting to subvert his wholesome looks (and film reputation) with a slightly sinister character, in either an edgy teen movie or indie drama.
Yes, Lohan herself. Is she beyond redemption at this point? We won't go into her many past and recent transgressions, but as of now she is facing another jail sentence for again violating the terms of her probation (failing a drug test). She's obviously nowhere near ready to work, which is a shame because 'Inferno,' the Linda Lovelace biopic she's supposed to be starring in, may have given her the chance to show some depth in portraying the '70s porn star-turned-activist.
Possible comeback vehicle: Hard to tell right now given the precarious state of things -- the producers of 'Inferno' haven't ruled Lohan out yet. If that doesn't happen, then she should probably look for another serious drama. (Would anyone buy a comedy?) But first, obviously, she needs to get well.