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These Actors Have Zilch On Their Film Schedule For 2021. Here's Why

The year 2021 is bound to be a strange one for films in multiple ways. For one thing, movie theaters will attempt to navigate some kind of comeback after being rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. For another, questions over how big a role streaming services will play in the future of movies will only get more intense. And then there's the fact that numerous actors will be absent from 2021. Famous faces that have usually been a reliable sight when it comes to watching new releases will be totally absent from 2021 cinema. 

The lack of 2021 projects for these actors can sometimes be chalked up to mundane factors, like movies getting delayed to the following year due to the pandemic. Everything has had to adjust to the ongoing global crisis, and the release of new movies is no exception. For other performers, though, their lack of 2021 acting credits is a byproduct of factors far beyond the current health situation, like an intentional hiatus or recent struggles to procure work. Sometimes, you don't realize what you've got until it's gone. In the case of these actors, their lack of 2021 acting credits makes it clear what a constant presence they've been in pop culture up to this point.

Eddie Redmayne's 2021 has been gobbled up by Fantastic Beasts

It can be easy to forget how time-consuming roles in blockbuster franchises are. If one needs a reminder, just look at the career of Eddie Redmayne. In his initial years as a performer, Redmayne had no trouble appearing in multiple movies in a year. Ever since taking on the role of Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movies, though, that's changed. Since The Danish Girl in November 2015, Redmayne has only appeared in two live-action movies (The Aeronauts and The Trial of the Chicago 7) that don't belong to the Wizarding World franchise.

The time-consuming nature of the Fantastic Beasts movies has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fantastic Beasts 3 was slated to start filming in March 2020, but the film's first day of principal photography was also the day production was shut down due to the pandemic. The project was unable to resume filming for six months, which helped inform the decision to delay Fantastic Beasts 3 from its original November 2021 perch to a July 2022 date. With Redmayne's entire 2020 gobbled up by Fantastic Beasts 3 duties, he had no time to film any other movies for 2021. It's just another example of how Redmayne's career has become dominated by those Fantastic Beasts movies.

James Franco's career dried up after serious accusations

For the longest time, James Franco was as busy as could be. Between directing and acting, Franco was a rampant presence in the world of film and television, doing everything from a recurring role on General Hospital to headlining Oscar nominated movies like 127 Hours. In 2016 alone, he had acting credits in eight different movies and two shorts, as well as TV show credits for 11/22/63 and Angie Tribeca. "When I started out as an actor, I had no social life from 18 on, it was just acting all day and night," Franco said of his workaholic nature to IndieWire in November 2017. "That model continued into my 30s. The idea was that the more I did, the better I got. That works to a certain extent."

However, Franco's career came screeching to a halt in January 2018, when multiple sexual assault allegations came out against him. Soon after, in October 2019, a lawsuit for sexual harassment was filed against Franco. Since these accusations emerged, Franco's acting credits have been primarily projects he filmed before the accusations came out, such as Kin or The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. (The big exception to this being the third season of The Deuce.) Meanwhile, Franco also hasn't taken on any new directorial projects. With his career opportunities trickling down to a crawl, this means that the actor who once seemingly never stopped to sleep has no acting credits waiting in the wings for 2021.

George Clooney doesn't enjoy acting like he used to

Since Money Monster in May 2016, George Clooney has largely been absent in front of the camera, only returning to star in his own directorial efforts, such as Netflix's The Midnight Sky. It's been a conscious choice for the actor, who's abstained from further acting roles both due to his age and his current financial status. "Look, I acted for a long time and, you know, I'm 56. I'm not the guy that gets the girl anymore," Clooney said in 2017, explaining that, "Acting used to be how I paid the rent, but I sold a tequila company for a billion f—ing dollars. I don't need money."

Clooney has further expanded on this decision in recent interviews by declaring that "it's boring to just be an actor" and that he struggles to find movies that feel totally fulfilling for him as a performer. "It's hard to find ten films that you go, 'Wow, I get it, man. This is great,'" Clooney explained to GQ. "There are moments in films, lots of 'em, but a full film that you just go, 'Wow, this is great'? It's not like there are that many out there." Considering those factors, it's no shock that not only has Clooney focused on primarily being a director of films like Suburbicon in recent years. It also makes it no surprise that he has no acting plans for 2021.

Jason Lee prefers to be on the other side of the camera

Jason Lee has already helped to make 2021 noteworthy. This will be only the second year in the 21st century (following 2017) where Lee will have no acting credits. The former My Name Is Earl leading man has certainly lowered his profile in recent years, but he's usually been able to squeeze in a cameo appearance (like in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot) or voicework on cartoons like We Bare Bears. Apparently, that won't be the case in 2021.

It's not a shocking development, though, given that Lee has been open in recent years about switching careers to be a photographer. Lee once spent his days chasing CG chipmunks around. Now, he spends them taking photos of Texas landscapes. "Acting just feels so different," Lee explained to Vanity Fair in 2019, "You're in front of the camera. You're memorizing dialogue. You're just constantly thinking about, 'Is this good? Am I doing it right?' With photography ... it's just you creating the thing yourself, by yourself, on your own. And that very personal, intimate experience, it's unparalleled."

Lee also told Vanity Fair that he wouldn't mind returning to acting in the future, but for now, photography will keep Lee busy for all of 2021.

Brad Pitt had a movie lined up for 2021

While he may not have any acting credits in the near future, Brad Pitt isn't in the middle of a self-imposed sabbatical. In fact, he did have a project ready to go for 2021. Pitt was planning on teaming up with Whiplash and La La Land filmmaker Damien Chazelle for the classic Hollywood movie Babylon. When the project was first announced, a 2021 release date was confirmed right alongside the participation of Pitt and Emma Stone. Pitt expressed excitement about Babylon to Access Hollywood in early 2020 as he explained that it would be his next project and that it "would look at the silent movie era, the death of the silent movie era."

Of course, this interview was conducted just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic upended everybody's plans, including those for Babylon. Not only did the postponement of principal photography mean that the film lost Emma Stone, it also got delayed a whole year from December 2021 to December 2022. As a result, Pitt doesn't have a big drama or any other kind of movie on the slate for 2021. Fans of the actor will have to wait a little while longer for his next project.

Taylor Lautner seems to have disappeared

"Taylor Lautner Wants to Be the Next Tom Cruise." So read a September 2011 MTV interview with the Twilight leading man, who was once being talked about as the breakout star of that series of romance dramas. In the interview, Lautner noted that Tom Cruise was his hero and someone he wanted to mold his career after. "I think the biggest reason that I've looked up to him is just his career choices," Lautner explained. "He's always continued to challenge himself and do different things, going from Risky Business to Top Gun to Jerry Maguire to Born on the 4th of July."

But Lautner hasn't shown that level of versatility in his recent roles, mostly because he hasn't done much of anything in terms of acting. Having not appeared in a movie since 2016 and not in a TV show since 2018, Lautner has been M.I.A. in recent years. This trend is set to continue in 2021, when Lautner once again has no roles on the horizon. Lautner was once championed as the heir to Tom Cruise's throne. Getting the kind of roles that would make him live up to that title, though, will apparently have to wait until after 2021.

Rob Schneider is just too controversial

In retrospect, Grown Ups 2 was a turning point for the career prospects of Rob Schneider. This Saturday Night Live veteran was the only one of the five leads of the original Grown Ups not to return for the sequel. Afterwards, Schneider, despite being a staple of early Sandler comedies, failed to appear in any Sandler star vehicles until The Ridiculous 6 in December 2015. At the same time, Schneider headlined the Netflix comedy Real Rob, which sank without a trace after a two-season run. His struggles to maintain consistent acting work have continued on into the new year, with Schneider currently having no acting credits on the horizon for 2021.

Schneider's struggles to launch his own successful TV shows and appear regularly in Happy Madison titles have coincided with the actor's constant interest in the anti-vaccine movement. As late as November 2019, Schneider was making social media posts decrying vaccines. This scientifically inaccurate and dangerous movement isn't something most Hollywood producers want to be associated with. Put Schneider's struggles of being a lucrative leading man and his controversial anti-vaccine position together, and it becomes apparent why the comedian has no projects lined up for 2021.

Could Jim Carrey come back after Sonic?

In the 1990s, you were as likely to see a Jim Carrey vehicle at your movie theater as you were to see an overpriced fountain drink. In 1994 alone, Carrey put out three of his most beloved vehicles – The Mask, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and Dumb and Dumber. Carrey proved a persistent presence on the silver screen throughout the rest of the decade and well into the 2000s.

However, after the 2014 comedy Dumb and Dumber To, something strange happened. Carrey vanished. Not entirely, of course. Carrey appeared in two indie movies, The Bad Batch and Dark Crimes, while he also headlined the Showtime comedy Kidding in 2018. But for the first time since he became a leading man, Carrey was no longer starring in wide release comedies. 

Carrey finally returned to movie theaters with his widely-praised turn as Dr. Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog in early 2020. This is a role that could lead to Carrey once again becoming a recurring presence on the silver screen considering that he's expressed excitement about potentially reprising the part in the Sonic sequel. But given that Carrey mostly stayed away from acting for six years, it shouldn't be any surprise that he's also decided to eschew any acting opportunities in 2021.

Bryce Dallas Howard tried her best for a 2021 release

Only a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Bryce Dallas Howard was making history by getting back to work. Her summer blockbuster Jurassic World: Dominion made headlines for being the first major blockbuster to return to principal photography in the wake of this health crisis. "We are the guinea pigs who are going to take the leap," Howard told The New York Times about the processes being employed to keep everyone safe on the set. In a moment where it seemed like nothing was certain, Howard and the rest of the Dominion crew were trying to lend some stability to the entertainment world by plowing ahead.

Dominion resumed filming with the intent of maintaining its original June 2021 release date. However, even with Howard's conviction, the release date eventually shifted. By the time the cameras stopped rolling, Universal had delayed Dominion to 2022. It was understandable given that the release schedule for 2021 was – and still is – in a constant state of flux. However, it did have the additional side effect of leaving Howard without anything on her 2021 slate. While the actor waits for 2022 to add a new credit to her IMDb filmography, Howard can take comfort in being part of a historic filming process.

Ryan Gosling is taking a little break

In 2013, Ryan Gosling announced that he'd be going on a hiatus from acting. At the time, he didn't provide any explanation for his brief hibernation. Luckily for Gosling fans everywhere, his respite didn't last long. Starting with The Big Short in December 2015, Gosling began to appear in a wide variety of movies for three consecutive years. These ranged from the dark comedy The Nice Guys to the Oscar-winning La La Land to the sci-fi sequel Blade Runner 2049. It was a streak of movies that demonstrated his versatility as a performer, but no matter how lucrative or respected his choices were, no streak lasts forever.

After First Man in October 2018, the extremely busy Gosling suddenly stop appearing in movies. Unlike his last hiatus, Gosling didn't make any announcements about his sudden stop, and it's unclear if this was intentional or just the result of potential projects falling through. Gosling's slumber as an actor will continue through 2021, but fans need not fret. The actor has plenty of films on the horizon. He'll begin playing the lead in the Russo brothers blockbuster The Gray Man by the end of January, and he's signed on to play the newest version of the Wolfman.

Anthony Hopkins is still keeping us entertained

Anthony Hopkins may be most famous for playing Hannibal Lecter, but it's far from being his only noteworthy part. Over the years, he's played in prestigious films like The Lion in Winter and The Remains of the Day, as well as blockbusters like Thor and Transformers: The Last Knight. And the man gives 110% no matter the role. In recent years, Hopkins has continued to be a standout performer with achievements like scoring his first Oscar nomination in over two decades for his supporting work in Netflix's The Two Popes and generating enormous buzz for his work in the Sundance 2020 sensation The Father

However, despite his usually busy nature, 2021 is shaping up to be Hopkins' first year since 1986 to not have any acting credits. Rather than an indication of Hopkins winding down as a performer, this instead appears to simply be a result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic limiting the chances for Hopkins to work in front of the camera. Even during this health crisis, Hopkins has demonstrated to the world that he has no plans to step away from acting, as seen by him signing on for new projects like the Johnny Flynn drama One Life. While the world waits for further Hopkins performances, we can all revel in Hopkins' amusing self-quarantine videos.

Milla Jovovich had her 2021 movie moved to 2020

For a brief moment, Milla Jovovich did have a movie scheduled for 2021. Her newest film, Monster Hunter, was briefly scheduled for April 2021, a COVID-19-induced seven-month delay from its original September 2020 date. However, Monster Hunter eventually became the rare theatrical release to bump up its release date in the middle of the pandemic. Rather than wait for April 2021, the producers of Monster Hunter pushed the video game adaptation up to its final release date of December 18, 2020. As a result, Jovovich has nothing on the table for 2021. 

This is a bit of an unexpected occurrence given that, even with her days headlining Resident Evil movies behind her, Jovovich has remained busy appearing in all sorts of films in recent years. This was particularly true of 2019, when she appeared in multiple films including a reboot of Hellboy and the Emma Roberts vehicle Paradise Hills. Her consistent presence as an actor in recent years has made sure that Jovovich maintains an image beyond just Alice in the Resident Evil films. It also makes it highly likely that audiences will see her on the big screen again after 2021. In the meantime, perhaps Jovovich fans can just rent the once-2021 title Monster Hunter.