Actors who took a break from Hollywood

Several actors have stepped away from the big screen for a bit

·5-min read
Emma Watson attends the Kering Foundation's Caring For Women Dinner at The Pool on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Emma Watson hasn't done a film for a while. (Invision/AP)

Emma Watson has revealed she stepped away from acting for a few years because she was feeling a bit “caged”.

The Harry Potter star was last seen in 2019’s Little Women, but in an interview with the Financial Times she said she would “absolutely” act again.

And Watson certainly isn’t the first actor to take a moment away from the industry.

Read more: Movie stars who retired from acting

Some, like Daniel Day Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Sean Connery, never really returned after stepping back.

But plenty of others picked up their screen careers after some time off.

Cameron Diaz

Cast member Cameron Diaz poses on the red carpet to promote the movie
Cameron Diaz is coming out of retirement. (Reuters)

Diaz took a step back from Hollywood a few years back, dropping out of the limelight after her 2014 film Annie.

She later said the move brought her “peace” after years of scrutiny in the public eye.

However, last year the star – who welcomed daughter Raddix in 2019 – confirmed she was returning for Netflix film Back In Action.

The movie sees Diaz reuniting with Jamie Foxx, who she shared the screen with in Annie.

“@iamjamiefoxx only you could get me back in action,” she said on Instagram..

"I can't frickin wait it's gonna be a blast!"

Josh Hartnett

May 21, 2001; Los Angeles, CA, USA; JOSH HARTNETT stars as Capt. Danny Walker in the romantic war/action drama 'Pearl Harbor' directed by Michael Bay.
Josh Hartnett was well known for Pearl Harbor. (PA Images/Alamy)

Hartnett’s hiatus came at the height of his stardom, following films such as The Faculty and Pearl Harbor.

However, he later explained that it wasn’t that he quit, it was just that he started a family with wife Tamsin Egerton and started taking on smaller jobs that didn’t take him away from his children so much.

He returned to the spotlight two years ago, with a part in Guy Ritchie’s action thriller Wrath Of Man.

Chris Hemsworth

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Chris Hemsworth speaks as he accepts the AACTA Trailblazer Award during the 2022 AACTA Awards Presented By Foxtel Group at the Hordern on December 07, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James Gourley/Getty Images for AFI)
Chris Hemsworth took a break from making movies. (Getty Images for AFI)

In 2019 Thor star Hemsworth told fans he was taking a break as he wanted to focus on time with his children.

The star, who has a 10-year-old daughter and nine-year-old twin boys with wife Elsa Pataky, said his children were “at a very important age" so he probably wouldn’t shoot anything for the rest of that year.

“They are still young and they are aware when I leave more than before,” he told the Daily Telegraph at the time.

The star recently revealed to Vanity Fair that he is taking some more time off.

He said he is having a break after discovering he has a greater than average chance of developing Alzheimer's after finding out he has two copies of a gene linked to an increased risk of the neurodegenerative disease.

Joe Pesci

Actor Joe Pesci sits courtside at the NBA basketball game between the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers Friday, March 23, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Joe Pesci returned to acting in The Irishman. (AP)

Pesci made his name in big films like Goodfellas and Raging Bull in the 80s and 90s but in 1999 he indicated that he was stepping back from movies and started to pursue music.

He only popped up on the big screen a couple of times over the following two decades.

But in 2019, the star came out of retirement for filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman.

At the time it was rumoured that Pesci was asked several times before he agreed to return for the project.

Rick Moranis

USA. Rick Moranis in the (C)Columbia Pictures film: Ghostbusters (1984).  Plot: Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.  Ref: LMK110-J6943-040321 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets.
Rick Moranis is well known for Ghostbusters. (LMKMEDIA)

The Ghostbusters star quit Hollywood in the late 90s as his wife had passed away and he wanted to focus on his role as a single parent.

He was later quoted as saying that his “little bit of a break turned into a longer break” and that he had discovered he didn’t really miss it that much.

However, in recent years the star has taken some voice roles and he is now set to return in Shrunk, which is a Honey I Shrunk The Kids sequel.

Jennifer Lawrence

Cast member Jennifer Lawrence at the Los Angeles premiere of
Jennifer Lawrence felt as if people were fed up of her. (Invision/AP)

Lawrence was one of the biggest names in Hollywood after roles in The Hunger Games movies and her Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook.

But she admitted she later reached the point where she felt as if people were “sick” of her.

"I was not pumping out the quality that I should have,” she told Vanity Fair in 2021.

“I just think everybody had gotten sick of me. I’d gotten sick of me. It had just gotten to a point where I couldn’t do anything right.”

The actor took a break after 2019's Dark Phoenix, not appearing in a movie until 2021’s Don’t Look Up.

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams poses at the premiere of the film
Rachel McAdams took two years off. (AP)

McAdams took a two-year break from Hollywood when she was riding high in the noughties, but later said it was so she would “stay sane”.

Read more: Artist removing JK Rowling's name from Harry Potter books after trans row

The actor was a big name thanks to films like Mean Girls and The Notebook but apparently ended up turning down big parts in projects like The Devil Wears Prada and Iron Man.

She took time off and recently told Bustle that although she felt guilty for not capitalising on the opportunity she’d been given, she “also knew it wasn’t quite jiving with my personality and what I needed to stay sane”.

Watch: Emma Watson 'wasn't very happy' before stepping away from acting