Why Hollywood won't cast Cameron Diaz anymore

Shocking as it may seem, Cameron Diaz hasn't starred in a major motion picture release since Annie all the way back in 2014. How is it possible that the star of such hits as My Best Friend's WeddingThere's Something About Mary and the Shrek kingdom virtually disappeared from the big screen? 

Well, honestly, we can start with Annie, which was critically skewered and barely made money on what should have generated a windfall based on nostalgia alone. But there are lots of possible reasons why Hollywood may have soured on one of its original "It" girls. 

From typecasting to uneven box office performances, and lifestyle changes to a big, fat, financial cushion that makes such a long hiatus even possible — let's take a look at all the reasons why Cameron Diaz — the woman Forbes ranked as the sixth-highest-earning actress the year she disappeared from the big screen — has gone from "Her again?" to "Where'd she go?"  

Acting pro tip: Don't do it with a car in a movie

While Diaz isn't exactly known for picking the best of scripts, it's still rather shocking to examine just how badly her movies have been reviewed. Case in point: none of her films has received a "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes since Who Is Norman Lloyd?, which was released all the way back in 2007, and that includes a Shrek movie and a Tom Cruise action spectacular.  

Diaz's most recent flicks have been especially painful, garnering some of the worst reviews of her entire career. These include Gambit and Annie in 2014 and 2013's The Counselor, in which The Portland Mercury called Diaz "unbelievably awful." The Counselor also happened to be the film that made headlines for an unfortunate sex scene in which Diaz seduces a yellow convertible, a moment Entertainment Weekly referred to as "one of the most wince-inducing scenes in years" that "has to be seen to be believed." That tidbit alone should give you a good sense of just how rough her filmography has become.

Has she lost her drawing power?

To her credit, Diaz can still turn a mediocre movie into a box-office hit when it counts. Despite middling reviewsBad Teacher surpassed the coveted $100 million mark in 2011 and made an additional nearly $116 million overseas. She found similar success with the 2014 release of The Other Woman, which grossed more than $83 million domestically and almost $200 million worldwide.

The problem is, for every hit she's had, she's also had a flop. The same year The Other Woman came out, Diaz starred in the underwhelming Sex Tape, which was ripped to shreds by critics and earned disappointing returns at the box office. Even the movie-musical Annie, also released in 2014, underwhelmed. The kid-friendly and seemingly critic-proof Christmas release failed to catch on with audiences, earning just $85 million domestically off a staggering $65 million budget.

In other words: Diaz may no longer be bankable on just her star power alone.

She peaked early

Part of the reason it's such a bummer to see Diaz's career where it is today has to do with the fact that, some 20 years ago, she was positioning herself to become one of Hollywood's great comedic actresses. In 1997, she added depth, layer, and humor to what might have otherwise been a stock character in My Best Friend's Wedding, and critics and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association quickly took notice.

More praise continued the following year, when her instantly iconic performance in There's Something About Mary earned her the coveted best actress award from the New York Film Critics Circle. She even flirted with Oscar buzz at the turn of the millennium, first in 1999 with Being John Malkovich, for which she received Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG nominations, then again in 2001 with Vanilla Sky, for which she also received Golden Globe and SAG nominations. Even her performance in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002) nabbed her a Golden Globe nom, which was a testament to her star power at the time.

The fact that she jumped from Scorsese to a Charlie's Angels sequel in a single year made her career trajectory all the more frustrating.

New doesn't always mean better

Diaz celebrated her 45th birthday in 2017, so she's reached a point in her career where playing the bubbly, rom-com blonde is beginning to feel tired, even if it occasionally still brings in some cash. In fact, Diaz says she chose her last successful rom-com, The Other Woman, specifically because she felt there was no other script "out there like that." 

She elaborated in an interview with Collider. "Usually, when it's a story about three women all being involved with the same man, it ends in some eyeballs being scratched out and some weaves being snatched off," Diaz said. "We decided that wasn't the story we wanted to tell." She said the film was more about how the women "empowered" one another by utilizing their strengths and weaknesses to form a friendship, rather than turning on one another. "I felt this was such a unique film," she said.

Diaz's other roles of late further illustrate her desire to try something new. Certainly, playing the older, meaner Hannigan in Annie and the shady Malkina in The Counselor drove that message home. Of course, those films were about as hit-or-miss as the notes Diaz sang in Annie. Had they been better, we might be having a different conversation right now.

The allure of the comfort zone

One of the reasons Diaz may not have delivered on the promise she showed in the '90s is because despite her desire to get out of her comfort zone, she seems to always end up back in it. In the last decade, Diaz has often played a variation of the same character: a career gal inadvertently marries a party boy in What Happens in Vegas (2008), a single gal inadvertently gets tangled up in a fugitive relationship with a spy in Knight and Day (2010), and a celebrity fitness guru in a Hollywood relationship is caught off guard by the oh-so-equalizing demands of pregnancy in What to Expect When You're Expecting (2012).

Even Bad Teacher (2011) saw Diaz shift gears into raunch mode, but it was still just a derivative rom-com with a bunch of f-bombs thrown in. It's gotten to the point where her career has become the equivalent of writing a paper the night before it's due, knowing you'll probably get a C on it but accepting that will be good enough.

Shrek overstayed its welcome

Like most movie franchises, Shrek started off as something unique and wound up as something nobody wanted to see or hear from again.

The original Shrek earned rave reviews and won the inaugural Academy Award for best animated feature in 2002. Naturally, the film's impressive box office returns warranted a couple of sequels, both of which were successes on various levels, but did Hollywood really need to stretch the franchise out to a fourth movie? Critics said "no" and, in many ways, audiences did as well. Shrek Forever After debuted in 2010 as the lowest-grossing film in the franchise, down more than $200 million from 2004's Shrek 2. By that point, audiences were over the once-lovable green ogre once and for all and ready to move on to some of the more creative and interesting animated sequels Hollywood spawned that year.

As if to seemingly drive this point home, the screenwriter for the upcoming fifth installment of Shrek, Michael McCullers, told The Hollywood Reporter that "a pretty big reinvention" was "sort of called for" by the studio, which means Diaz may not even be asked to return.

The sun did not come out for the Annie remake

Fans of the 1982 Carol Burnett version of Annie may disagree with this one, but in a lot of ways, Hollywood missed a legitimate chance to make something great out of the 2014 remake of the beloved musical. Above all, the remake provided the rare opportunity for a major role to be played by a young black actress (Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis), which, in turn, provided the rare opportunity for Hollywood to make a movie for young black kids. 

For Diaz specifically, Annie also provided the chance for her to sink her teeth into a meaty, against-type role — one that could have made older generations look at her in a new light while introducing herself to an entirely new set of moviegoers. 

The fact that all of this was drowned out by bad script writing and, worst of all, autotune, still makes us mad. TV Guide perhaps put it best when it wrote: "The filmmakers only thought about how to make it current, and not about how to make it better."

She earned her early retirement long ago

Although her movie career has stalled as of late, one can't ignore the fact that Cameron Diaz has found more success in Hollywood than most actors will see in their lifetimes. Her debut movie, 1994's The Mask, grossed more than $350 million worldwide, paving the way for Diaz to enjoy a career in which she could turn even the most mediocre of Charlie's Angels movies into a $100 million success.

And we haven't even gotten to the Shrek machine that got underway in 2001. After just four flicks, the wildly popular animated film franchise, in which Diaz voiced the role of Princess Fiona, grossed well over $1 billion in the United States alone. Over her lifetime of work, Diaz's films have grossed more than $3 billion, making her the 4th highest performing actress at the box office. Naturally, she has been handsomely rewarded for her work. 

Put it this way: if you earned millions upon millions of dollars, wouldn't you consider taking a few years off?

Do her books have a hidden message?

Diaz's absence from the big screen may have been deliberate. Over the last few years, she's been busy carving out a career for herself as a lifestyle author. In 2013, she co-wrote The Body Book: Feed, Move, Understand and Love Your Amazing Body, which quickly became a best-seller.

On the heels of that success, she released The Longevity Book in 2016, which "examines the art and science of growing older and offers concrete steps women can take to create abundant health and resilience as they age," according to HarperCollins. That project debuted at No. 2 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Diaz revealed something about her motivation for writing that could be interpreted as an increasing disdain with the inherent vanity of Hollywood. Asked whether she thought her recommended "anti-aging techniques" would be viewed through the lens of society's diminishing "superficial value on aging," Diaz replied, "I hope people will start to embrace it more in that way, but I think we do live in a society where everywhere you look, every billboard, every magazine, every advertisement that pops up on our computer is telling you where you're at [in age] is scary and dangerous." 

In other words: Diaz is more focused on personal wellness these days than she is on conforming to a studio's idea of what her body should look like. 

Don't call her, she'll call you...maybe

Though Diaz hasn't exactly been killing it with the critics in recent years, there's no reason to think her star power has dwindled to nothing. In fact, while participating in a panel discussion at actress Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Wellness Summit (via E! News) in June of 2017, Diaz admitted that the rigors of a jet-setting entertainment career have worn her down over the years. "I just went, 'I can't really say who I am to myself.' Which is a hard thing to face up to." She added, "I felt the need to make myself whole." 

This fame fatigue may have prompted studios to award juicier roles to more eager actresses, or it could have been exactly what it sounds like: an extended mental health sabbatical that only rich celebrities can afford. Either way, Diaz's Hollywood hiatus seems to have been mostly on her own terms.  

Did Selma spill the tea?

Actress and longtime friend of Diaz, Selma Blair, dropped an unintentional bombshell about her The Sweetest Thing co-star's career during a chat with the Evening Standard. "I would have liked to do a sequel but Cameron's retired from acting," Blair said, adding, "She's like 'I'm done'." Cue record scratch, right? 

But Blair wasn't done yet. She also added, "I mean, she doesn't need to make any more films. She has a pretty great life, I don't know what it would take to bring her back."

Not surprisingly, the internet freaked out at such a casual reference to an announcement Diaz had never actually made. Dubious sources even came out of the woodwork to claim Diaz has been "constantly inundated with film scripts trying to tempt her out of retirement but she's just not interested."

Now on the defensive, Blair took to Twitter: "BREAKING NEWS Guys please, I was making a joke in an interview. CAMERON DIAZ is NOT retiring from ANYTHING. And for more breaking news: I am NOW retiring from being Cameron Diaz's spokesperson."

Um, call us crazy, but we're still searching through Blair's original quote for anything resembling a punchline. Guess we'll have to wait for Diaz to clear this one up.

She may have changed her mind about being a mom

Though Diaz hinted to Esquire in 2015 that she was perfectly content with her kid-free life. Specifically, she told the mag, "It's so much more work to have children. To have lives besides your own that you are responsible for — I didn't take that on. That did make things easier for me." Diaz also added that she was "never drawn to being a mother."

However, those rascally celeb "sources" have gotten to talking again and have claimed to Us Weekly that Diaz and husband Benji Madden "would love to have a baby, and it just hasn't worked out." The source went on to say that the couple is considering all avenues to parenthood, including "natural or through adoption or surrogacy, but they aren't giving up."  

Granted, this is all hearsay from a third party, and, of course, having a baby in no way precludes a woman's acting career, but with Diaz already on an extended hiatus — for whatever reason — it's hard to imagine she'd want to dive headfirst back into a busy production schedule while trying to balance pregnancy and motherhood at the same time.

Bring on the bingo card, Diaz's ready

Though Selma Blair claims she was kidding about Cameron Diaz's retirement, maybe she was just remembering her good friend's IGN interview from 2005 when Diaz was already dreaming about her golden years.

Speaking with the site about her role that year in In Her Shoes, which had her spend a bunch of time in a West Palm, Fla. retirement home, Diaz said, "I can't wait to be that age and hanging out with a bunch of people hanging out all day playing golf and going to the beach, all my own age. We'd be laughing and having a good time and getting loopy on our prescription drugs, driving golf carts around. I can't wait."

Of course, as of this writing, Diaz is still more than a decade away from even being allowed to live at one of those 55-plus paradises, but that doesn't mean she hasn't already earned it. Speaking with Ocean Blue World in 2015, Diaz said, "I think that anything that you do, any accomplishment that you make, you have to work for. And I've worked very hard in the last ten years of my life, definitely, and I can tell you that hard work pays off. It's not just a cliche."

So there you have it, folks. Diaz is literally just counting down the days until bingo, bocce ball, and early-bird specials are all she has to worry about. Can you blame her? We certainly can't.

She could turn it around

Because she won the hearts of audiences and critics early on in her career, Diaz will always have a place in Hollywood. Assuming she really wants to make acting the focus of her career, finding her footing again shouldn't prove difficult. 

Choosing better scripts seems like the easiest and most obvious route to take. She needs roles that will challenge her as an actress rather than keep her on autopilot. Working with better directors might help, too — filmmakers such as Spike Jonze, who made magic with Diaz in Being John Malkovich. Finding the right part with the right script in the hands of the right director could remind everyone that (duh!) Diaz is a really, really talented actress. 

Heck, it could even put her back in the Oscar race one day, but given the one-two-slap-in-the-face that was The Counselor and Annie, we'll aim a little lower for now.