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There are some movie careers which are very clearly marked out from the open scene – Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, was always a combination of too handsome and too talented not to make it to the very top of the film industry. Yet, just one generation before him, the same could easily have been said of a young Mickey Rourke who, after thrilling in Diner and Rumble Fish, quit the acting scene to become a professional boxer and struggled for years to reclaim his rightful place in Hollywood.

Likewise, there are an array of established actors now who, at one point, looked like they were never going to make it. Jack Nicholson, a man so ingrained into Hollywood’s folklore, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time before, struggled for other a decade trying to make it, even pursuing writing screenplays for The Monkees. Michael Douglas, another member of Hollywood royalty, floundered for years until the 80s came and the Oscar winning producer finally became a star in his own right.

For every inevitable success or failure in Hollywood, there are those careers which don’t go in the straight paths we imagine – those who climb the heights or fall out of favour due to bad career choices or a dose of lucky serendipity, those who sidestep the conventional ways of thinking and those who make decisions which flummox us all. This article examines these very same paths and looks at 10 movie career twists no one saw coming.

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