To be fair these actors are not the only ones to star in a string of diabolical films, but what sets them apart is their uncanny ability to pick the worst scripts in Hollywood.
So how did it all go so wrong for these attractive brunettes with the designer stubble?
Australian born actor Eric Bana began his career as a comedian and was part of an ensemble cast in Full Frontal, a popular Australian sketch comedy television series. His knack for impersonations and genuine affability then led to hosting The Eric Bana Live talk show. Soon after this he co-starred in the hit Australian movies The Castle and Chopper.
Bana’s physique and smouldering looks soon attracted the attention of Hollywood casting agents and he was lured to Hollywood with the expectation of becoming an A-list star.
And he started off well. He scored one of the lead roles in Black Hawk Down, a film directed by the masterful Ridley Scott.
Ridley, as you may be aware, is also the director of Alien and Blade Runner, both of which are masterpieces.
Black Hawk Down — which is not a masterpiece but still a good movie — is also memorable for disposing of Orlando Bloom’s character within the first 10 minutes. This fortunate event relieved audiences of another tepid performance by the pretentious English actor and cemented Ridley Scott as a genius.
Bana’s next movie was The Hulk and this was quite a coup for a relatively unknown Australian actor. Superhero movie franchises are one of the core business models of major studios. What could possibly go wrong? Well, quite a bit it seemed. Audiences simply didn’t care all that much for Bana’s Hulk and it was remade only a few years later with Edward Norton in the lead role.
Bana says of The Hulk:
I’m proud of what it tried to do. I apologize to all those people who were so angry about it…I’m fascinated by the people who hated that movie and feel compelled to watch it again, which always blows my mind. But, yeah, it is what it is and I certainly don’t regret doing it.
He might not regret the movie but everybody else does.
While The Hulk was disappointing, Bana managed to grab the lead role in Munich, a Spielberg film about the hostage crisis during the 1972 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, what should have been a star-making role turned out to be a fizzle.
By now, studio executives were beginning to wonder whether Bana was a bankable actor.
Surely Troy, the epic tale from Greek mythology and co-starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, would be a hit. However, the film turned out to be a bloated, poorly scripted mess. Director Wolfgang Petersen should have followed Ridley Scott’s example and dispensed with Orlando Bloom at the conclusion of the opening credits and thus given us some respite from a terrible movie.
After this trio of disappointments, Bana had the opportunity to salvage his reputation with The Other Boleyn Girl, The Time Traveler’s Wife and Star Trek, the latter of which he played a pissed off Romulan with great aplomb.
Finally, Bana appeared to be on track. But then came Funny People, Deliver Us from Evil, Deadfall and Closed Circuit which proved beyond doubt that the Australian actor had an uncanny knack for starring in box office bombs.
Bana quickly disappeared from leading-man roles and into supporting ones in The Secret Scripture and, more recently, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
And now, Bana’s fortunes have dwindled so dramatically that the only upcoming gig I could find is a guest presentation at the Sydney Opera House for a digital marketing symposium run by software developer Adobe.
It’s hard to believe that anyone else in Hollywood could possibly match Eric Bana’s downward trajectory; but then there is Taylor Kitsch.
What can you say about the former Canadian model-turned-actor?
Like Bana, Taylor Kitsch moved to Hollywood with the expectation he would soon crack the A-list. The Canadian born Kitsch had modeled in New York before securing the role of Tim Riggins in the popular NBC TV series Friday Night Lights.
It seemed only natural that the handsome Kitsch could forge a career in the heart and loins of movie going audiences.
This is when Taylor Kitsch really went astray: Snakes on a Plane, The Covenant and Gospel Hill were all terrible movies. In fact, The Covenant is so bad that Rotten Tomatoes gave it 3% which is 13% less than Bana’s worst movie (Special Correspondent, 16%) and on par with stinkers The Nutcracker in 3D, Death Wish V: The Face of Death and Jaws: The Revenge.
And then it got better. Much better.
Cast in a supporting role in the popular X Men franchise, Kitsch was fortunate to work with Hugh Jackman. Unlike Bana, who had to put up with Orlando Bloom twice, Kitsch credits Jackman as being a mentor as well as being the nicest guy in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, he should have sought Jackman’s advice before agreeing to star in John Carter.
Any mentor worth their while would have taken Kitsch aside and said, “Listen mate, a script adapted from a story written in 1912, about a Confederate soldier who teleports to Mars and rescues an alien princess doesn’t sound very promising. Why don’t you join me in Les Miserables instead?”
But Hugh must have been busy that day, or Taylor didn’t pick up his cell phone, because he signed on to star in John Carter in spite of its dodgy premise.
Oodles of money was thrown at this science fiction romp and it showed with amazing special effects and outlandish costume design. Unsurprisingly, John Carter tanked and joined the ranks of studio disasters led by Heaven’s Gate, the 1980s movie that bankrupted United Artists.
At least John Carter did not bankrupt Disney (they still own lucrative theme parks) but it certainly lost a lot of money.
Much like Bana, Kitsch defended his role in the whole debacle:
I’m very proud of John Carter. Box office doesn’t validate me as a person, or as an actor.
Which is just as well because it certainly validated his appalling lack of judgement.
Next, he was cast alongside Rhianna and Liam Neeson in Battleship, a science fiction adventure that lost even more money than John Carter. Even Taylor’s tight white naval uniform and Rhinana’s first movie role couldn’t entice audiences into the cinema.
Not yet ready to admit defeat, Taylor Kitsch switched back to television for a role in what surely should have salvaged his career. The first series of True Detective was a hit for actors Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.
But Kitsch had the misfortune to co-star alongside Vince Vaughan’s wooden acting, a confusing script and no likeable characters whatsoever. The show was a mess and failed to match the ratings of the first season.
With movies and television failing him, was it time to return to modelling?
He’s now writing and directing Pieces and has a few projects in post-production.
So where does this leave our two contestants?
In his favor, Kitsch is only 36, whereas Bana is 48. Given their relative ages, Bana’s longer track record of career destroying roles and the lack of movies in production or post production then I think we have a clear winner.
The actor who destroyed his career by being unable to recognise a terrible script goes to: