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Why Hollywood Won't Cast Christopher Mintz-Plasse Anymore

He's the artist formerly known as McLovin, and one of the funniest young members of the acting posse known as the Frat Pack—and yet, Christopher Mintz-Plasse doesn't show up onscreen anywhere near as much as you'd expect since his breakout performance in Superbad. Why isn't he getting more love from Hollywood? We investigate.

He can't break free of Superbad

Ever since 2007's Superbad, where he obtained the world's fakest fake ID, memorably answered inquiries about his age with an assertion of his party-readiness, and concluded his night by getting epically [expletive deleted] by the long arm of the law, Christopher Mintz-Plasse has been better known by another name: McLovin. Nearly ten years later, it's still his most memorable role—which is fine if you want to be a cult figure forever, but not so great for the establishment of a robust and continuing career in Hollywood. The legacy of McLovin has utterly overshadowed literally every move Mintz-Plasse has made since; it's a fair bet that at least half his fans don't even recognize him by his real name. And while the cachet of his Superbad persona continues to draw crowds for his other projects (the manager of Mintz-Plasse's band still name-drops McLovin when he books their gigs, even though the actor himself has explicitly asked him not to), it isn't helping him branch out or move forward into more serious roles, either.

His public face needs updating

Between filling out into his adult bod, growing into his teeth, and losing those baby chipmunk cheeks, Mintz-Plasse has actually become something of a stealth hottie over the years—but nobody seems to realize it, including him. Between his comedic acting abilities and his not-at-all-unpleasant face, the actor could totally be holding his own as an everyguy romantic lead (not unlike his pal and occasional co-star Seth Rogen), or at least filling in as the Cute Best Friend to more traditionally handsome actors like Dave Franco. Instead, the guy is hiding what could be a perfectly respectable leading man's light under a bushel of wildly uneven facial hair and a pair of less-than-flattering specs, effectively ensuring that directors won't notice his potential.

He's being heard but not seen

Christopher Mintz-Plasse has been a go-to guy for Dreamworks' animation studio for ages, ever since he scored the role of Fishlegs in How to Train Your Dragon. In addition to voicing that character through three Dragon films and a TV series, the actor was also the first call when they needed a villain's voice for the 2016 Trolls movie. None of which is a bad thing, of course—it's great work for an actor with his unique talents (not to mention his unique voice), and by all accounts, he loves doing it—but despite being a source of regular employment, it's still not going to get him on the radar if he wants his face to be a permanent presence in Hollywood.

His first TV project never got off the ground

In May 2012, Mintz-Plasse scored the lead role in exactly the kind of project that could have made him a star: a CBS sitcom called Friend Me, where he starred alongside Nicholas Braun and a cast of talented peers. It was a perfect transitional vehicle for the actor, who could have moved on to all kinds of big-deal roles after proving his ability to anchor a series. But tragically, Friend Me creator Alan Kirschenbaum took his own life before the project premiered, and CBS decided not only to leave the show out of their lineup, but not to even air a single one of the eight episodes already in the can. Needless to say, the blow to Christopher Mintz-Plasse's career was a distant second to the terrible loss of Kirschenbaum—but it did cost him some serious momentum at a crucial time.

He doesn't court celebrity

Unlike so many of his peers—and particularly his Superbad castmates, who've mostly gone on to big-deal careers, SNL hosting gigs, and even the occasional Oscar nod—Mintz-Plasse just isn't that focused on being famous. Except when he's posing for pics with peeps like Dave Franco at a movie premiere, his media presence is remarkably low-key (if you follow him on Instagram, you're more likely to see him cuddling with his dog than canoodling with fellow celebs in his various feeds), and he's clearly not fussed about raising his profile by rubbing shoulders with A-listers or having a tabloid-ready romance with a co-star. In short, he's not chasing the kind of fame, social circle, or Hollywood profile that might otherwise make him a household name.

He's splitting his focus between movies, TV, and music

While Christopher Mintz-Plasse definitely enjoys acting, he's also a dedicated musician, and his projects on that front are clearly just as important to him as being onscreen. A peek at his Twitter feed shows that he's spending a lot of time these days practicing, performing, and recording with his latest band, Mainman—which is, of course, time he's not spending auditioning for more or bigger roles in blockbuster Hollywood movies. But unless his priorities undergo a drastic shift, splitting his time this way is exactly what Mintz-Plasse wants to keep doing. In 2015, he told Stereogum, "I would love to keep balancing the two. I think I'm very lucky and grateful for where I am right now, that I can do both. Acting, you can work for three months and not work for six months. So in that time, I love the momentum of music and everything that's going on. The momentum right now is very musical. I kinda just go with the flow."

He's trapped on a middling sitcom

The good news is, Mintz-Plasse managed to recover from his first, abortive foray into the world of TV comedy and land yet another lead role on yet another small-screen series, this time starring alongside Joel McHale and Stephen Fry on CBS sitcom The Great Indoors. The bad news is, the show isn't performing as hoped—and perhaps not the best fit for an actor who does his best work in edgier fare.

The friendliest critic derided The Great Indoors as "a malaise of millennial minstrelsy"; the most scathing suggested that the show would do better on a TV network catering exclusively to Donald Trump supporters (ouch.) And while Christopher does the best he can with the material he's given, the format of a traditional three-camera sitcom is miles away in terms of its tone and its intended audience from the Judd Apatow-brand comedies that made him famous in the first place. In short, it's not a show where his abilities really shine, or where he's going to earn the kind of notice that leads to bigger, better roles—but it's still being watched by enough people that CBS ordered a full 19 episodes for its debut season, which means that Mintz-Plasse has to stick around for at least that long (and possibly longer, depending on the conditions of his contract.)

Here's how he can turn it around

As previously noted, part of the reason for Christopher Mintz-Plasse's low visibility in Hollywood is that he seems to prefer things that way. Between his apparently private nature, his current choice of TV project, and his investment in music—where he's just another member of the band, not a famous frontman—there's no sign that the actor even wants to headline blockbusters or compete for star status alongside the thirstiest actors of his generation. But if he wanted to stage a comeback, it's definitely not too late.

While Mintz-Plasse doesn't hang out as much with his Superbad posse in recent years, he's clearly still on good enough terms with them to merit inclusion in their new films; he even got to be the bearer of the biggest, floppiest, most R-rated wiener joke in Rogen's latest pair of comedies, Neighbors and Neighbors 2. Basically, the work is there if he wants it. And if he ever decides to commit completely to acting, and to pursuing more screen time in bigger movies, becoming a star will probably be as simple as making an expression of interest to his prolific bros.