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When Hollywood's biggies acted in TV shows

Unlike in Bollywood, Hollywood actors look at television as a step up

When Anil Kapoor starred in the television thriller '24' last year, he did something that most Hindi fillm actors aren’t known for: moving from the big screen to the small screen. Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan might have hosted reality shows or made special appearances every now and then, but none has acted in a TV show so far. In direct contrast to this is the Hollywood landscape, where many big names have acted in TV shows. HitList points out a few instances.

Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga

Latest release: The Conjuring (2013)
Television show: Bates Motel (2013 onwards)
Status: The Oscar-nominated actress has starred in several television mini-series over the past 20 years. Bates Motel is the most recent in this line up and it is a thriller based on Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Psycho.

Jeff Daniels
Jeff Daniels
Latest release: The Quad (2013)
Television show: The Newsroom (2012 onwards)
Status: After bagging the Emmy Award last year for his role as a news anchor, the 101 Dalmatians star continues to reign supreme — alongside British actress Emily Mortimer — in the highly popular TV show as a news anchor.

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

Latest release: Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)
Television show: The Crazy Ones (2013 onwards)
Status: After consciously staying away from television for more than a decade, the celebrated comedian-actor returned with the character of a quirky adman named Simon Roberts. And no, this drama series is nothing like Mad Men.

Mathew McConaughey
Mathew McConaughey

Latest release: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Television show: True Detective (2014 onwards)
Status: A favourite in the Best Actor Award category at the Oscars this year, Mathew plays a shrewd sleuth along with fellow Hollywood star Woody Harrelson in the HBO drama series. The plot revolves around a serial murder case in Louisiana.

Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon

Latest release: R.I.P.D (2013)
Television show: The Following (2013 onwards)
Status: Often described as one of the most underrated actors, Kevin plays an FBI agent trailing a serial killer in the television drama, The Following. Life certainly seems to have come full circle for the actor, whose career started out with the 1979 TV series Search for Tomorrow.

Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett

Latest release: Stuck Between Stations (2011)
Television show: Penny Dreadful (2014-)
Status: It’s not quite clear why this talented Hollywood hunk hasn’t signed any big film in recent times but his legion of fans needn’t get disheartened. The actor stars in the upcoming television series, Penny Dreadful, which also features Eva Green in the cast, among other Hollywood A-listers.

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey

Latest release: Inseparable (2011)
Television show: House of Cards (2013)
Status: The two-time Oscar winning actor seems to have his priorities right. Currently working on his first Hollywood film in over three years, he has starred in the award-winning TV show, House of Cards.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Benedict Cumberbatch

Latest release: August: Osage County (2013)
Television show: Sherlock (2010-2014)
Status: Currently in its finale season, Sherlock stars Benedict in the titular role. And if the adulation is anything to go by, he might just return in another show.

Trendsetters
Before Al Pacino and Meryl Streep starred in the multiple award-winning miniseries Angels in America (2003), Hollywood actors would prefer to stick to movies. However, once these heavyweights tasted success on the small screen, the idiot box was no longer a taboo.

Al Pacino and Meryl Streep in Angels of America
Al Pacino and Meryl Streep in Angels of America

Television actors who made it to the big screen in 2013 and 2014:


 Kit Harington
>> Kit Harington, one of the protagonists Jon Snow in the TV series Game of Thrones, plays the lead in the upcoming period fantasy drama, Pompeii.

Joel Kinnaman
>> Swedish-American actor Joel Kinnaman, known for the television show The Killing, will reprise the role of Robocop in a forthcoming film.

Joel Kinnaman
>> Sofia Vergara, who shot to fame with the sitcom Modern Family, starred in her first film, Machete Kills (2013).

Jon Hamm
>> Jon Hamm, the protagonist of Mad Men, is finally making his big screen debut with Million Dollar Arm, a film that also stars Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma.

Ian Somerhalder
>> Ian Somerhalder, known for his role in Vampire Diaries, will mark his film debut with the sci-fi movie, The Anomaly.

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