Why Hollywood Won't Cast Kellan Lutz Anymore

As one of the sparkly Cullen family vampires in the Twilight Saga films, actor Kellan Lutz was poised for overnight success, just like most of his co-stars when the adaptation of the young adult book series took over Tinseltown starting in 2008.

Lutz, who'd previously appeared on a few television series and low budget films, was suddenly a household name who started racking up projects with individual breakout potential in addition to endorsement deals. However, after a few major misses, Lutz seems to have worked his way down to the B-list — if not lower. Nowadays he's barely hanging on to his celebrity status, even if he doesn't realize it yet. 

Following box office blusters, bad business decisions, and very publicized attitude issues, let's walk through some of the reasons Lutz's career has experienced such a significant slowdown since he left the Twilight zone. 

He told everyone he'd "win an Oscar'

While some of Twilight's stars have enjoyed acclaim since their stints under the constant cloud cover of the fictional Forks, Wash. (e.g. Anna Kendrick and Kristen Stewart), Kellan Lutz had not and still has not found his name on any significant acting ballots (unless the Razzies count, that is). However, that didn't stop him from making some very lofty predictions about his career.

Not only did Lutz say he wanted to emulate the career of Matt Damon, but he also told DuJour Magazine, "I want to act for the rest of my life. I'll win an Oscar one day, but I'm in no rush to get there. I don't care if that takes me 50 years, and I'm old. I just love what I do." 

That sense of surety might be admirable, but for some, it made him something of a laughing stock and suggested he'd grown too cocky, too soon. It certainly didn't help matters that his words basically echoed what Lindsay Lohan had been saying at the time about her own eventual viability in the industry. The fact that each comment carried a similar level of cachet was not good news for Lutz.

He was one thirsty vampire

Another issue with Lutz's image-building during his turn in the Twilight sun was what appeared to be an attempt to use the paparazzi as a thinly-veiled pawn. In 2010, for example, he was photographed sitting in a tree, reading a book in an unnatural pose that many believed was staged.

The same year, Lutz openly complained about not being "taken serious[ly] as vulnerable," telling Variety, "People don't look at me that way. I'm a 6'1," 195-pound guy. In a studio movie, I audition and they're like, 'No, Kellan, can't play this thing at all.'" 

In other words, it sure seemed like Lutz may have been trying to craft a new image for himself, but he failed at being subtle about it, potentially making him seem even more oafish than before. Talk about being up a tree.

Those critical misses tho

After Twilight's first installment stunned at the box office, Lutz got a few movie opportunities right away, but none of them managed to make an impact. 

First, there was his 2010 crime thriller Meskada, which was blistered by critics and didn't even register at the box office. Then came A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, which was moderately successful with ticket sales but received strong critical rebuke (and was released the same year as his aforementioned Oscar prediction, to boot!) Even an effort to re-team with Twilight co-star Ashley Greene in a romantic drama called A Warrior's Heart sputtered, perhaps due to the heaping mound of bad reviews that followed its festival debut.

Even so, Lutz got a genuine shot at making a name for himself well outside of the Twilight zone by landing a role in 2011's Immortals, Tarsem Singh's take on the violence and mythology of Greek gods. In the film, Lutz plays Poseidon, joining several other up-and-comers with promise, including Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, and Isabel Lucas. Alas, the film barely made back its production budget on the domestic front and failed to impress almost anyone with a critical credential

That wouldn't be the last of Lutz's opportunities, of course, but it did mark the start of a downward trend in his box office value.

He played hard ball with money...and lost

The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse enjoyed successful back-to-back box office runs and proved the series wouldn't suffer a sequel slump. Consequently, Summit Entertainment (later bought out by Lionsgate) renegotiated contracts with the talent for the films, hoping to renew their contracts for the two part ending, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

While it might seem more likely that the trio of actors who carried the franchise — namely, Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Taylor Lautner — might be the main holdouts, it was actually Kellan Lutz and Ashley Greene who reportedly made hefty demands and very nearly saw themselves tossed out from the franchise as a result. The two eventually settled their differences with the studio, earning a little more than a quarter of what they wanted for the final pair of films, but it may have cost them more than the difference between what was asked for and earned. 

By making such a public play for a higher paycheck, Lutz may have established a reputation as an off-screen diva.

He bit the hands that fed him

Lutz's salary spat not the only time he bit the hand that fed him — the studio that made him a star. In late 2011, while promoting the release of Immortals, Lutz took a shot at Summit Entertainment (and possibly director Bill Condon, by extension) by telling The Hollywood Reporter: "Twilight's kind of crazy. I'm very happy to be a part of them. But the last movie did seven months, and still wasn't a well-oiled machine and it gets kind of tough. We're all very blessed and I love the experience. But working with Relativity and doing Immortals was just a world of difference, so much more enjoyable."

Lutz couldn't just leave it at that. Oh no, he added, "Everyone [on Immortals] just treated everyone like they were family. It's just really a great experience to enjoy feeling like an equal on the set and that it's not a machine, it's a family." 

Considering the final films in the Twilight Saga had yet to be released at the time of this interview, it may have been a bit too soon to start burning bridges with filmmakers and studio executives, especially since Immortals wasn't the star-making vehicle Lutz probably expected it to be.

Splat city

Lutz's next few non-Twilight films failed to make any kind of impact, other than to help his Rotten Tomatoes page look like it got slimed by Nickelodeon. There was his 2013 cop drama Java Heat, which was absolutely eviscerated by reviewers and earned almost no money at the theaters, despite Lutz putting a lot of (literal) blood, sweat and tears into it. That same year, his R-rated rom-com Syrup somehow did even less box office business, with similar critical condemnation.

Perhaps most damningly, Lutz had not one, but two shots to play burly title heroes in The Legend of Hercules and the animated Tarzan, but both failed spectacularly with critics and audiences alike. So, not only was Lutz failing to impress those who might one day fulfill his prophecy of collecting prestigious trophies, but he was also unable to draw a crowd to the cinemas. Whereas his colleagues carried their ravenous Twilight fans along to their other cinematic adventures, Lutz simply couldn't cull an audience. 

He's missing out on TV's big moment

Arguably, Lutz's most versatile screen moments have come through television. There was his solid work as a soldier on HBO's Generation Kill, a respectable mini-series about marines in the Iraq War. He also enjoyed a memorably self-deprecating cameo in NBC's 30 Rock which was just cheeky enough to do a little damage control for his cocky public profile. 

Perhaps his best small screen work was in his recurring role on HBO's The Comeback, which featured him as a recurring character for the first season and brought him back for a cameo in the surprise revival-slash-Season 2 in 2015. 

However, Lutz has mostly missed out on the era of peak TV. He did briefly host the U.S. version of a reality competition series called Bullseye — which caused him great personal pain — but that fizzled after just one season. He claims to be a "planner" with a precise path for his future in the biz, but perhaps he should consider deviating from that and considering pursuing more small-screen endeavors.

C'mon, man, put on a shirt. (Or don't)

In the Twilight Saga, Lutz plays Emmett Cullen, the resident strongman of the vegetarian vampire family, so it's no surprise that he broke into showbiz typecast as a beefcake. While his co-stars have also had to work to shed their on-screen personas (Robert Pattinson as a brooding dreamboat and Nikki Reed as a jealous mean girl,) Lutz initially played right into his type.

Not only did he strip down to his skivvies for a Calvin Klein underwear campaign, but he was also often spotted sunning shirtless by paparazzi, to the point that even Lutz realized he needed to start wearing a shirt more often. As he told The Hollywood Reporter, "I love a topless run by the beach, and it does suck when paparazzi is there. It's like, 'Do I keep my shirt on because I don't want to be shirtless in another magazine?' I don't want to be known as the guy who always takes his shirt off." He added that he'd been more and more choosy about when to take off his top for magazine shoots, but considering he had literally appeared bare-chested on a cover a week before that interview, his words seemed a touch disingenuous. 

Indeed, even a cursory review of his Instagram feed reveals that he must not mind baring his bod that much.

He's moonlighting as an inventor

Lutz has tried to expand his resume beyond his floundering filmography. Thanks to his educational background in chemical engineering, he's been involved in several points of product development, some of which has even been patented, and he considers himself to be a bona fide inventor as his secondary career. Lutz has even promoted a dice game called Kellan IT — a play on the phrase "killin' it." (You can't make this stuff up.)

But not all of his off-camera adventures have been so successful. He also helped design and promote a clothing line called Abbot + Main in 2013 but wound up suing his partner, Daniel Guez, for $1.5 million for lost profits after Guez allegedly failed to deliver the proper royalties for sales. Though other actors of his ilk have found success in the fashion industry, it seems that Lutz's first foray into that line of work failed to find its footing. 

Is he too ambitious?

There is still plenty of time for Kellan Lutz to turn things around, but he may be setting the bar too high. In 2017, he told The Evening Standard, "I think in this next stage I'm ready to prove myself and make my name on my own and really show what I've got and make my own blockbusters ... I'd love to have my own action movie franchise like Jason Bourne, or play a superhero like He-Man or a character in the Marvel universe. I met with them so hopefully a role will come up in the future."

Considering Lutz has yet to prove his box office mettle in even lower-risk projects, his expectations may be a bit unrealistic. That said, he has since admitted that he may have been blinded by the light of Twilight, telling The Hollywood Reporter near the 10th anniversary of the first film's release, "I think when you're just thrown into something and it takes off on such an exponential level that you get lost in the flashing lights, and the glitz and glamour." 

Perhaps he's still in the Twilight haze, but here's hoping his acting career proves equally immortal.