We are used to seeing actors begin their careers on television before moving to film. Obvious examples abound – Bruce Willis in his Moonlighting days, Woody Harrelson keeping the bar at Cheers, the various Freaks and Geeks and so on.
Now it seems the balance has been restored and the advent of a new era of American television has given many great film actors the opportunity to find roles of quality and consistency previously unavailable to them. On the occasion of the release of Justified: The Complete Third Season early this week on Blu-ray and DVD we’ll be looking at some of the greatest big names who have found a new lease of life on the small screen.
Timothy Olyphant has come a long way from his turn as the Mickey in Scream 2, and has always been an actor with a feet in both camps. Televisual turns in Deadwood and Damages went alongside his big screen outings in The Crazies, Die Hard 4.0 and Hitman and with the success of Justified it seems that Olyphant will be continuing on this path for many years.
At one time television acting was considered beneath its film counterpart, and perhaps that air lingers still but with the US networks ploughing more money into better shows we should start to see the lines becoming blurred further before disappearing altogether.
Here are some of the other film stars who have made recent television great.