The Prestige Of TV

Who needs big screen roles when you have plump pickings for TV? These stars are happily chasing television gold with diverse characters that rule the ratings.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

From Film Star To Variety Queen

The Hong Kong starlet’s claim to fame include leading lady roles in romantic movies like Love You You and First Time, which saw her pick up an acting gong at the Chinese Film Media Awards in 2013. But it was her foray into television the year after, that made Angelababy a household name. Viewers couldn’t get enough of the 30-year-old when she joined the cast of Keep Running, a spin-off of the insanely popular Korean variety show Running Man, in 2014. She has since made herself at home on television and is set to debut a new drama, My True Friend, this year that centres on her role as a real estate agent caught in a love triangle. Want an inkling of the scale of the production for her new drama? They’ve filmed parts of it in the Italian capital, Rome, proving that when it comes to TV budgets, more is more.
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Michelle Yeoh

From Bond Girl To Captain’s Chair

Whether she’s showing off her martial arts chops in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or fending off her son’s greedy suitors in Crazy Rich Asians, Michelle is a prolific screen actress who has taken her stellar acting chops to the small screen in a modern take on the Star Trek series. As Captain Philippa Georgiou in Star Trek: Discovery, Michelle made history as the first actress of Asian descent to use her real-life accent on TV. The 56-year-old action star is set to reprise her role in a standalone spin-off series currently in development on US network, CBS. “I’m so excited to continue telling these rich Star Trek stories,” she says. “Being a part of this universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can’t wait to see where it all goes – certainly I believe it will go ‘where no WOMAN has ever gone before!’” 
Here are some other A-listers who have ditched film for television
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Winona Ryder

Winona made her mark starring in ’90s classic flicks Beetlejuice, Little Women and Edward Scissorhands. A shoplifting scandal took her away from the limelight for a while but she made her triumphant return to acting and the media spotlight in Netflix juggernaut, Stranger Things, which hit our screens in 2016. Three years later, Winona and the supernatural throwback drama are coming back for brand new season on July 4 and neither is showing any signs of slowing down.
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Drew Barrymore

While Drew is known for being a rom-com queen after starring in films like Never Been Kissed and Blended, she took her brand of comedy to the small screen when she starred in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet. The show featured some of the best acting we’ve seen from Drew but the streaming platform has since axed the series.
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Julia Roberts

In her 30-year career in Hollywood, Julia has never before had a television role… until now. While some might say that she’s a little late to the TV party, the Oscar-winner decided she wanted to wait for the right project and it finally came around in the form of Amazon Prime’s Homecoming. “I just went with the good story, that it was ultimately going to be put on television is the last thing that I really consider,” says the actress of the plum role.

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Meryl Streep

The most nominated woman in Academy Awards history has the pick of the best projects in Hollywood. So it’s interesting that she would choose to star in a television series and ignore the calling of film studios with bigger budgets. According to Nicole Kidman, Meryl sent an email to her after Big Little Lies won a Golden Globe for Best Miniseries in Television or Film in 2017, and insisted she had to join her in its second season, which marked its return to HBO and HBO GO on June 9.
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Reese Witherspoon

After realising how few women were getting the opportunity to play roles that really reflected who they were, Reese took matters into her own hands and started a production company. One of her first projects? Big Little Lies, a HBO series that follows a group of emotionally-troubled group of women. Not only did she assemble an A-list cast for the female-driven series, the show also took home multiple Golden Globes and Emmy awards thanks to its stellar storyline and top-notch acting from some of the biggest names in show business.