Table of content    
  1. Hayden Panettiere
  2. Eddie Murphy
  3. Ke Huy Quan
  4. Taylor Lautner
  5. Brendan Fraser
  6. Macaulay Culkin
  7. Joe Pesci
  8. Demi Moore
  9. Mark Hamill
  10. Renée Zellweger
  11. Zoe Saldaña
  12. Shelley Duvall

12 Movie Stars Who Were Back And Better Than Ever

It is said that the journey of an actor can be a rollercoaster ride, marked by triumphs, setbacks, and unexpected turns. In Hollywood, we witness thousands of cases where actors climbed up to the heights of careers, giving us extremely impressive performances, but suddenly took a break. Truly, reputation is actually a fickle friend and it can leave you at any time. 

Yet, amidst the unpredictable nature of fame, many stars have managed to return to their profession after a long break and end up shining brighter than ever. They reignited the sparks of their career, crafting awe-inspiring comebacks that leave us captivated and in awe. 

Join us as we delve into the tales of these extraordinary individuals and the remarkable performances that have reclaimed the spotlight.


#1. Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere captured viewers’ hearts thanks to her portrayals in the TV series Heroes and Nashville, and Scream 4. However, after filming the horror film, she took a break from acting for health problems. The film gave her a chance to come back to the industry. The actress learned about the filming of the new part of Scream.


#2. Eddie Murphy

It’s easy to see Eddie Murphy on screen in the ‘80s. However, 30 years into his career, he began taking on fewer and fewer roles. After A Thousand Words, we didn’t see him on screen. 

In 2016, he made a comeback as a Henry Church in Mr. Church. The 2019 movie Dolemite Is My Name starred him as filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore and the actor didn’t let viewers down. The film was hailed as one of the best of that year and Eddie’s work as the greatest in his filmography.


#3. Ke Huy Quan

Ke Huy Quan was famous as a child star and was sought after by various directors. One of the most well-known films he starred in was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. However, he had a tough time, finding new roles and had to work on the other side of the camera. 

His portrayal in Everything Everywhere All at Once became his turning point. For his great performance, he won an Oscar.


#4. Taylor Lautner

Thanks to his role as Jacob Black in the Twilight Saga, Taylor Lautner was named one of Hollywood’s highest-paid young actors. It’s understandable that the bar for him was set higher. However, he didn’t find the right projects and gradually started leaving Hollywood to live real life. Fortunately, he found true love during this time. 

In 2022, he appeared in the sports comedy Home Team, marking his comeback. Fans were so excited to see him on screen again.


#5. Brendan Fraser

Source: The Whale / A24

The news Brendan Fraser won an Oscar for the Best Actor award came as a huge surprise to everyone in 2023. We hadn’t heard his name much since the early noughties. He was considered one of the most in-demand actors but suddenly removed the spotlight after that. 

In 2019, it seemed like he rose from the ashes, appearing in major projects. First, in The Poison Rose and Line of Descent, and, in 2022, in Darren Aronofsky’s drama The Whale. The latter earned Brendan the coveted statuette.


#6. Macaulay Culkin

Macaulay Culkin coming back to the screen after a long hiatus became a huge surprise in 2021. The actor whom Hollywood dropped in the ‘90s stunned critics with his performance in American Horror Story. 

Prior to that, he appeared in obscure films and commercials but didn’t get much attention. However, the series was the actor’s first truly prominent work in almost two decades.


#7. Joe Pesci

After the release of the hit Home Alone, Joe Pesci chose to depart from the cinema and focused on his music career. However, after years, he returned to the screen with minor roles. 

Martin Scorsese offered him play a key role over 50 times in The Irishman but the actor didn’t want to be associated with the gangster image. Scorsese just got his nod after promising that this character would be different. The role finally earned him many award nominations, including the BAFTAs and the Oscars.


#8. Demi Moore

It seems that Hollywood couldn’t drop Demi Moore. Despite her long breaks, she was named in the list of in-demand actresses after making comebacks. After her role as Jane, she disappeared for several years to raise her daughters. 

When returning to the silver screen with her role in Passion of Mind and then in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, she won praise from viewers and critics. After that, she left the spotlight for several years and easily managed to return to her career.


#9. Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill took a 6-year break after filming the iconic 1983 film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (Episode VI).  For the success of the movie, he became associated with his character and honestly, he hated that. The actor started immersing in Broadway productions and didn’t appear until 1989.

After several failures, he decided to expand the scope of his activities, voicing in animated films. Now, he appeared in some movies, like Criminal Minds.


#10. Renée Zellweger

For her performance in the thriller Case 39, the actress came under fierce criticism and her career started taking a nosedive. Many suspected her acting skills. The actress left the screen for six years after starring in My Own Love Song. 

2016 saw her comeback in the movie Bridge Jones’s Baby. The movie grossed more than $210 million and helped her earn fans. 


#11. Zoe Saldaña

While many actresses are afraid that maternity leave may prevent them from acting, Zoe Saldaña is willing to leave her career to become a mother. Because of financial problems, she managed to return to her work, “We have to pay bills and at the end of the day, I think that’s the best example we can set for our children.”

Now, she has tremendous success when acting in several MCU films and reprising her role in Avatar. 


#12. Shelley Duvall

2023 saw the return of Shelley Duvall, the’70s and ’80s film icon. The Shining star shone again after a 20-year career break. Director Scott Goldberg invited her to star in his film The Forest Hills, reminding the world of her abilities. As for the 73-year-old Duvall, she says: “[Jessica Tandy] won an Oscar when she was 80. I can still win.”


Who is your favorite actor? Are there any actors you want to return to the big screen? Let us know in the comments. 

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