Why Hollywood won't cast Christine Taylor anymore

Christine Taylor has been a reliable source of comedy in funny films and TV shows for nearly 30 years. She got her start as a teenager, and you probably first saw her on the 1989-1991 Nickelodeon sitcom Hey Dude. She portrayed Melody, the Bar None Dude Ranch's resident lifeguard and dance instructor. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to Maureen McCormick, TV's Marcia Brady in the 1970s, Taylor earned rave reviews (and got her big break) when she played an extremely vain and self-absorbed Marcia in The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) and A Very Brady Sequel (1996).

From there, Taylor's big-screen supporting-role career was off and running, resulting in her appearance in other millennium-era delights like The Wedding Singer, The Craft, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and Zoolander. (In the latter two, she starred opposite her then-husband, Ben Stiller.) 

But she doesn't show up the way she used to, though, so we must ask: Why won't Hollywood cast Christine Taylor anymore?

Zoolander 2 is so not very hot right now

Despite being a long-awaited follow-up to a classic comedy, and that most of the cast and creative team (writer/director Ben Stiller and writer Justin Theroux) behind the original Zoolander returned, Zoolander 2 completely bombed in 2016. Audiences just weren't interested in going back into the past to explore the further adventures of stuck-in-the-past and exceedingly stupid male models Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson). 

In the first Zoolander, Christine Taylor portrayed Matilda, Derek's love interest and the brains behind his imperative to stop an assassination attempt on the Malaysian prime minister. She returned for Zoolander 2, but only in a cameo as a ghost — Matilda had died in a fatal collapse of the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good.

Taylor got doubly cursed by Zoolander 2. She was barely in it, and so not long enough to remind audiences that she was still kicking around, and not long enough to make the film better. But she also was in it, enough for her career to take a hit from how the film made just $28.8 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and earned a 23 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

She got stuck in a 'box'

Taylor is predominantly known for her work in comedy, which is good, because she's good at it. From her start on Hey Dude, to her hilarious work as Marcia Brady, to holding her own with Zoolander and on Arrested Development, Taylor has more than proven her comedic chops. But she's an actor, and all actors want to, if not need to, stretch their creative muscles once in a while. 

In 2016, Taylor took on one of the least showy and subtle roles of her career with a film called Little Boxes, a quiet little indie about an interracial family experiencing culture shock when they move from New York City to a tiny, not-that-diverse town in Washington state. It co-starred Melanie Lynskey (Togetherness) and Nelsan Ellis (True Blood), won a couple of minor awards nominations, and did well with critics. But it never reached a broad audience, as it was quietly released to just 10 markets in 2017, according to Deadline. This attempt to show the public, and filmmakers, what Taylor could do, didn't quite take.

Out of sight, out of mind

The early 2000s are long over. That's when Christine Taylor was a familiar and constant screen presence as the female lead in "Frat Pack" movies like Zoolander and Dodgeball: A True Underdog. Strangely, it was soon after this period of notoriety that her estrangement from the big screen began — for whatever reason, she's barely worked in film over the past ten years. 

Sure, she had that small role in Zoolander 2, and a cameo in Tropic Thunder in a clip from action star Tugg Speedman's Oscar bait movie Simple Jack, but her other film work has been sporadic and relatively obscure. She was unceremoniously billed as "Aubrey's Mom" in the little-seen teen rom-com The First Time, and she had roles in the indie comedy Kabluey and the aforementioned Little Boxes. And that's it. 

Perhaps casting agents aren't putting Christine Taylor in anything because she hasn't been in enough things to remind them that she's out there?

She's a very special guest star

It's not like Christine Taylor entirely disappeared from the world of entertainment; she's just not starring in high profile, ensemble-driven movie comedies anymore. (It's been a long time since we've seen Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Vince Vaughn, and at least one Wilson brother in a movie together.) Whether it's all the work she can get, or if it's all the work she chooses to get because she's got other things going on in her life, the kind of acting jobs Taylor does now are mostly one-offs or recurring bits on television shows.

She works quite frequently in this capacity, playing a lot of different kinds of characters to boot. If you've watched a lot of television over the past decade, you might have noticed Taylor pop up as a special guest star on kids shows like Hannah Montana, or on reality show parodies like Burning Love. She's even dabbled in procedural crime dramas like Elementary, and on cable sitcoms such as Odd Mom Out and Search Party.

She showed up for a couple of no-show shows

Taylor did a lot of TV early in her career as well. In addition to Hey Dude, and after her Brady Bunch movies, Taylor starred in Fox's short-lived, 1996 sitcom version of the Parker Posey movie Party Girl. In 2007, she gave TV another try, starring in a pilot for CBS, but it was a non-starter. According to IMDb, "Untitled Christine Taylor Project" never even got an official title. Written by Ajay Sagal, who went on to write for The Carmichael Show, and directed by Ben Stiller, the project has yet to receive a release date over a decade later. So, it's not looking good. 

In 2011, Taylor starred in a another pilot: Rip City, a traditional, multi-camera sitcom for TV Land about an Oregon-based soda company. Created by Lizzie McGuire creator and Sex and the City writer Terri Minsky, Rip City centered on Taylor as the beverage distributor's new boss, a New York transplant loathed by all the old employees. Rip City co-starred Taylor's mother-in-law, legendary comedian Anne Meara (above), but it wasn't enough to get the show onto TV Land's roster of warm, fuzzy, and nostalgic sitcoms. 

"It was a real family project, but it didn't make it so we all got a good laugh about that," Taylor quipped to The Morning Call.

Sometimes 'Sharing' doesn't work

Just like clockwork, it would seem, Christine Taylor gives another promising TV project a try every four years. After attempts in 2007 and 2011, Taylor jumped headfirst into pilot season in 2015 with a potentially zeitgeist-capturing show about the gig economy called Sharing. 

According to Deadline, Taylor landed the lead role of Polly, the no-nonsense owner of a shared office workspace, lording over her meek husband (Jerry Minor of Saturday Night Live) and all of the small business workers stuck in the room working next to each other.

Sharing had an impressive pedigree and looked to be a lock to make it to NBC's fall schedule, with the Peacock's golden boy Jimmy Fallon producing and a script co-written by Jeremy Bronson of The Mindy Project. Ultimately, the show never moved forward, according to Deadline. With three failed pilots in 10 years, Taylor doesn't have a track record that instills confidence in the people who cast these things.

Her personal life may affect her role selection

Many of Christine Taylor's movie and TV roles were in projects that starred, and/or were directed by, and/or produced by Ben Stiller, her ex-husband. Now, we're not saying she got cast because of nepotism, because she had a long and solid career before she married the Meet the Fockers star. Rather, Stiller had the benefit of having a crackling comic actress living under the same roof, and he was smart to bring her along for his two Zoolander movies, Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder, Burning Love (produced by Stiller's company, Red Hour), and Arrested Development (she played Lindsay Bluth's nemesis Sally Sitwell opposite Stiller's character, G.O.B. Bluth's magician nemesis Tony Wonder).

Stiller and Taylor enjoyed not only one of Hollywood's longest-lasting marriages, but also one of its longest-lasting creative partnerships. That's all over now. According to People, the two announced their split in May 2017. So it's pretty understandable if one or both parties no longer want to work together the way they once did.

These kids today

Of course, Christine Taylor's noticeable career slowdown may be a matter of choice. With ex-husband Ben Stiller, Taylor has two kids, Ella and Quinlin. And for Taylor, raising them with at least one parent in the house at any given time was far more important to her than Hollywood. 

"It's great to be able to do a little work every now and then," Taylor told Good Housekeeping (via The New York Daily News) in 2016. "When my husband's working or he's on a film, I tend to not work that time and vice versa, so we make it work." And under that arrangement, Taylor wound up watching the kids more often because Stiller worked so much. 

Ella and Quinn are getting older — as of 2018, they're 15 and 12, respectively — so Taylor thinks she can probably leave home a bit more often. "It's nice to be able to go off to work and have them be OK," Taylor told Good Housekeeping. "I struggled more when I started to go back to work, because I would feel so guilty. It's been pretty easy for me to juggle both because my priorities are always there with them."

What's next for Christine Taylor

While Taylor has switched into part-time actor status as of late, she does have a potentially very successful project in the hopper. According to IMDb, she recently wrapped shooting on a broad ensemble comedy scheduled for release in (presumably, the fall of) 2019 called Friendsgiving

The film, by first-time writer and director Nicol Paone, is about a recently divorced actress (Malin Akerman) and her best friend (Kat Dennings), who reject the traditional, family-oriented Thanksgiving festivities in favor of assembling their friend group (and assorted oddballs) to hold a wacky "Friendsgiving," according to Deadline.   

In addition to Akerman and Dennings, the film stars a stellar cast of comedy heavy hitters, including Chelsea Peretti, Aisha Tyler, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feimster, Wanda Sykes, and, of course, Christine Taylor. A big, audience-pleasing comedy with a huge, likable cast of which Taylor is a major part? She should feel right at home, because this harkens back to her Frat Pack days of the mid-2000s.