Hi! How can I help you?
Exclusive Details


April 1, 2024

From Hollywood to the Small Screen

Hollywood celebrities are moving to the small screens, a phenomenon most prevalent in the U.S., but not foreign to Asian regions. By Ching Wai.

US - Celebrities past and present will sometimes choose to participate in smaller projects shown on television after having appeared on the big screen. The shift used to indicate a waning of a star - celebrities would take up smaller roles on smaller screens when they had little options. That is not the case now. Presently, television shows and original projects by streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime may pay better and have higher qualities of production. Stars who choose to appear on the smaller screens may do so simply because they like the scripts. Additionally, having projects remain on streaming sites for viewers to consume whenever means celebrities can remain on screens for extended periods. This is in contrast to movie screenings that usually last for a few months.

Many celebrities have made the leap from the big screen to the small screen. Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon are in The Morning Show, which allegedly makes USD $2 million an episode. Cillian Murphy remained a part of Peaky Blinders even as he participated in other bigger projects like A Quiet Place. The Oscar winning actor mentioned that he took on the role after being amazed by the script. Meryl Streep was in HBO’s Big Little Lies even after having done countless big films. The franchises Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland’s Helena Bonham is in Netflix’s The Crown. Experienced actress Dakota Fanning chose to be in The Alientest (2018) after her hiatus, and Benedict Cumberbatch will be in the upcoming Netflix series Eric.

Yet, the shift for big stars to the small screen seems to only hold true for local celebrities, most of whom have been in the Hollywood game for years. In the Hollywood scene, local stars have been able to freely grace the big screen in major roles, and rightfully so: Hollywood is based in the U.S. after all. Discrimination against one’s racial profile was seldom an issue for them, and roles that were written typically fit them. Now, Asian actors are only just beginning to emerge and gain recognition. Local consumers are beginning to be more open to a diversity of film works and genres in a variety of different languages.

The trajectory of local and international actors are therefore different. Previously, with fewer opportunities for big roles on the big screen, Asian actors would land roles in television or shows and movies by streaming services like Netflix. These shows, like Never Have I Ever and Squid Game, can be produced in the U.S. or internationally. Now with the changing landscape that gives Asian actors more opportunities and recognition, they can progressively transition into the Hollywood scene.

Within Asia’s domestic film and entertainment scene, dramas and series are equally if not more popular than movies. For example, Korean variety shows like Running Man have achieved local and international popularity and acclaim. Asian dramas of a variety of genres, from BL (boy love) dramas to comedy series, have also attracted international attention. Asian actors have therefore already been dominating the small screen. Their shift to the small screen is therefore not jarring - such as with Song Kang-Ho being on Disney+’s Uncle Samsik after being in the Oscar-winning film Parasite. With Hollywood, came prestige. And now with Hollywood stars entering the small screen, they might be bringing the prestige with them.

To never miss a story — sign up for Viral Weekly free newsletter to stay up-to-date with compelling TV and Film news and views.

Back to Listing