Hollywood Movie Stars Who Aren't Above Doing TV

by Karen Veazey
Feb 21, 2018 at 4:45 p.m. ET

It used to be that movie stars made movies and TV stars made TV shows. But those days are past, as some of the juiciest roles in entertainment are cropping up on TV. In fact, in 2014 Emmy presenter Jimmy Kimmel did a hilarious bit on the big names that have made the crossover.

Some of the best roles for actors right now are still being created in TV's writers' rooms, bringing big-name talents right into our living room every week. Maybe the pay is right, maybe they like the opportunity to film closer to home, maybe it's something else, but we the fans are undoubtedly the winners here.

Scroll or click through for a representative list from the past and who we can look forward to in 2018. Note how many roles are on HBO, a channel known for risk-taking. Could that mean even more channels will start producing the same quality soon?

1 /27: Katie Holmes

1/27 :Katie Holmes

In February, it was announced that Katie Holmes would be returning to TV in the new drama (formerly titled Mrs. Otis Regrets) about a disgraced FBI agent that has to rebuild her life after a public downfall. Holmes would take on the lead role of Hazel Otis, the aforementioned disgraced agent. It will be her first major TV role (barring limited series and guest roles) since finished Dawson's Creek in 2003.  

2 /27: Elizabeth Olsen

2/27 :Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen is headed to Facebook to star in a new female-driven dramedy created and written by Kit Steinkellner (Z: The Beginning of Everything). Details are being kept under wraps, but the Avengers and Ingrid Goes West actress will film 10 episodes to launch the series.

3 /27: Jennifer Garner

3/27 :Jennifer Garner

Garner'sreturn to TV was announced in early February when The Hollywood Reporter released word that she would be starring in a new HBO comedy from Girls creators Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner. The new show, titled Camping, will be a limited series described by THR thus: "The series kicks off on Walt's (uncast) 45th birthday, which was supposed to be a delightful weekend back to nature, at least according to his obsessively organized and aggressively controlling wife Kathryn. But when the camping trip gathers Kathryn’s meek sister, holier than thou ex-best friend and a free-spirited Tagalong in one place, it becomes a weekend of tested marriages and woman on woman crime that won’t soon be forgotten. Plus, bears." Count us in.

4 /27: Kristen Wiig

4/27 :Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig is set to star in a comedy executively produced by Reese Witherspoon and ordered to series at Apple. The 10-episode, half-hour comedy is inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s upcoming short story collection "You Think It, I’ll Say It.” 

5 /27: Tiffany Haddish

5/27 :Tiffany Haddish

Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish is set to star opposite Tracy Morgan in TBS’ The Last OG this April and recently signed a 2 year first-look deal with HBO, giving them dibs to any ideas she develops with her production company She Ready.

6/27 :Meryl Streep

In late January 2018, it was announced that Oscar winner  Meryl Streep would be joining the heavily-awarded HBO hit show Big Little Lies. It was confirmed by Deadline that she would join the all-star cast — which includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern — as Perry mother, who comes to Monterey after the death of her son. We can't wait to see how this turns out.  

7 /27: Dwayne Johnson

7/27 :Dwayne Johnson

Johnson has a slew of projects in pre-production, including a Big Trouble in Little China remake and Suicide Squad 2, but the Jumanji 2 actor has most recently been gracing the TV world with his portrayal as pro football player turned financial manager Spencer Strasmore in HBO’s Ballers.

8 /27: Nicole Kidman

8/27 :Nicole Kidman

HBO’s Big Little Lies brought together some of the most compelling actresses to tell the story of moms run amok in small-town California. Kidman won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her portrayal of a conflicted battered wife. The entire cast, including Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgård and Laura Dern, also won big at the Golden Globe awards.

9 /27: Ewan McGregor

9/27 :Ewan McGregor

Writer Noah Hawley (Legion) and producers Joel and Ethan Coen went big when casting their dark comedy Fargo. The award-winning FX series has drawn stars like Kirsten Dunst, Billy Bob Thornton and David Thewlis. For Season 3, McGregor did double duty, starring as brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy.

10 /27: Maggie Gyllenhaal

10/27 :Maggie Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal's success playing the role of a headstrong, liberated prostitute on HBO’s The Deuce is no surprise. She’s taken on similarly complex characters in films like Secretary and Sherrybaby. Her work on Deuce earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Drama.

11 /27: Anthony Hopkins

11/27 :Anthony Hopkins

A scene doesn’t go by in HBO’s Westworld without seeing a host of respected film actors, but Hopkins is arguably the series’ biggest catch. Working alongside talent like James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Ed Harris, Hopkins plays the aging creator of the troubled theme park, intent on keeping control of his own little world.

12/27 :Jane Fonda

Except for bit parts on two shows, Fonda has eschewed TV for her long and storied career. It took the role of an aging woman dealing with rejection on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie to get her to make the leap. Co-created by Marta Kaufmann (Friends) and Howard Morris (Home Improvement), the show was just renewed for a fourth season.

13/27 :Naomi Watts

Watts' choice to star in David Lynch’s Showtime revival of Twin Peaks brought her back to TV for the first time since 1998’s Sleepwalkers. In the meantime, she’s been a regular on the award shows for her work in films like 21 GramsThe Impossible and Birdman.

14 /27: Liv Tyler

14/27 :Liv Tyler

Tyler’s role as Meg Abbott on HBO’s The Leftovers is her first foray into TV. The show, which just ended its three-season run, also stars Christopher Eccleston, Justin Theroux and Ann Dowd and is considered by critics to be one of the best on TV.


15 /27: James Franco

15/27 :James Franco

In 2017, The Deuce had Franco playing double as a set of twins. This year he’ll join The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Coen Brothers anthology series for Netflix about the Old West.

16 /27: Reese Witherspoon

16/27 :Reese Witherspoon

In an effort to create great roles for women, Witherspoon and co-producer Nicole Kidman brought Big Little Lies to TV. This year Witherspoon will join Apple (yes, that Apple) as they produce one of their first shows for TV audiences. Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV is based on the book of the same name. Jennifer Aniston will costar, and both actresses will serve as executive producers.

17/27 :Amy Adams

HBO’s Sharp Objects is based on the debut novel by book-club darling Gillian Flynn and follows Adams as a journalist returning to her hometown to cover a murder. Marti Noxon (UnReal) is the showrunner, and Chris Messina (The Mindy Project) and Henry Czerny (Quantico) also costar.

18 /27: James McAvoy

18/27 :James McAvoy

Watership Down from Netflix and BBC One will bring Richard Adams' award-winning classic to the screen in animated form. A four-part miniseries will follow the tale of rabbits searching for a safe home. John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Gemma Arterton (The Girl With All the Gifts) and Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road) also star.

19 /27: Julia Roberts

19/27 :Julia Roberts

Today Will Be Different on HBO is based on Maria Semple’s novel of the same name. The show will span the course of one day, when Eleanor Flood wakes up determined to have the best day ever but must abandon the plan when her future is threatened.

20 /27: Miles Teller

20/27 :Miles Teller

Too Old to Die Young will delve into the dark side of Los Angeles with Teller cast as an LAPD officer. The series from Amazon Studios, co-created by Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) and Ed Brubaker (Westworld), explores the existential journeys of contract killers.

21 /27: Bill Skarsgård

21/27 :Bill Skarsgård

Hulu’s original series Castle Rock will bring Skarsgård (It) back to the familiar territory of Stephen King’s work. The series centers on the titular small town, where mystery undoubtedly lurks.

22 /27: Benicio Del Toro

22/27 :Benicio Del Toro

Del Toro is a hot property after his recent turn in Star WarsThe Last Jedi, but his next venture will take him to the small screen. Showtime’s Escape at Dannemora is based on the true story of two inmates who, aided by their lover, escaped Clinton Correctional Facility in 2015. Paul Dano (Looper) and Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) also star, with Ben Stiller directing.

23 /27: Chris Pine

23/27 :Chris Pine

One Day She’ll Darken on TNT will reunite director Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) with Pine to tell the story of Fauna Hodel, a character given away at birth. Striving to learn about her past leads Hodel to a doctor-to-the-stars who has a dark history.

24 /27: Carey Mulligan

24/27 :Carey Mulligan

Netflix and BBC Two are teaming up for Collateral, a series centered on Mulligan’s Detective Kip Glaspie. The series will cover four days during which Glaspie works to uncover proof of an execution.

25 /27: Penelope Cruz

25/27 :Penelope Cruz

FX’s American Crime Story turns to the fashion world for its second season with The Assasination of Gianni Versace. Cruz will star as the designer’s sister Donatella.

26 /27: Jennifer Connelly

26/27 :Jennifer Connelly

TNT’s Snowpiercer will adapt the 2013 futuristic film by Bong Joon-ho for TV. Connelly’s role as a first-class passenger will provide a look into the life of the train that went unexplored in the movie.

27 /27: Emma Stone

27/27 :Emma Stone

Maniac is a remake of a Norwegian dark comedy coming to Netflix in 2018. Directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective), the show is based on the fantasy lives of an institutionalized character played by Jonah Hill. There's no details yet on Stone's character, but considering she was photographed filming with a purple puppet in August 2017, there's no shortage of intrigue here.