These days, with Netflix, HBO, and Amazon producing shows that dominate the Emmys, many movie stars are getting into the TV game, where some have done some of the best work in their careers. Here, major actors who made the switch from the big screen to the small screen.
Kidman did some of her early work on TV mini-series in Australia, such as A Country Practice (1981), Vietnam (1987). and Bankok Hilton (1989). In America, she’s mainly been known as a big-time movie star. She made the transition to TV in HBO series Top of the Lake (2013-2017), in which she plays Julia. She of course has also starred on HB
Fanning got her start at seven years old, when she played Lucy Dawson in I Am Sam (2001), alongside Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer. Now, in The Alienist (TNT), she plays Sara Howard, a secretary who aspires to be the city’s first police detective.
After a career of mostly big blockbusters, such as Closer (2004), I Heart Huckabees (2004), and All the King’s Men (2006), Law shifted his focus to TV in HBO’s The Young Pope (2016). He plays the titular role and will reprise the character in The New Pope (2020). He is also playing Sam in the new HBO series The Third Day (2019).
Stone made her breakthrough as Jules in Superbad (2007), and has continued to build her career in film over the past decade. She grabbed a starring role in a TV show in 2018, when she played Annie Landsberg in Netflix’s Maniac, alongside Jonah Hill. This role came one year after she nabbed her first Oscar for Best Actress in La La Land.
Most people might recognize Ricci as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family, but she took on another real-life quirky character in the series Z: The Beginning of Everything as the lead role of Zelda Fitzgerald.
Bassett has been known for her storied film career in such movies as Malcolm X (1992) and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), but in recent years, she’s made a big stamp on TV, like in season 8 of American Horror Story, when she played Marie Laveau,and in theEmmy Award-winning “Thanksgiving” episode of Netflix’s Master of None, as Lena Waithe’s character’s mother, Catherine, who is grappling with her daughter’s sexuality.
Lively first became a recognizable face in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005), but she became a household name when she took on the role of Serena van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl (2007-2012).
Adams has done TV spots, including early episodes of The Office, but she mostly stuck to movies as her career really got going: She has starred in Junebug (2005), American Hustle (2012), two Superman movies (2013 and 2016), among other titles. She made the switch to TV as the mysterious Camille Preaker in HBO’s Sharp Objects (2018).
Cheadle has been a familiar face in movies for decades. He shows up in Boogie Nights (1997) and the Ironman and Oceans’ movies (to name a few). In Showtime’s House of Lies (2012-2016), he made his first big TV splash as management consultant Marty Kaan.
As if the three-time Oscar winner hasn’t done enough in her career, Streep made the move to TV in HBO’s Big Little Lies season 2 (2019) as the somewhat villainous Mary Louise, mother-in-law to her former The Hours (2002) co-star, Nicole Kidman. She also starred in the HBO miniseries Angels in America in 2003, for which she snagged an Emmy.