Nina Dobrev: Why Hollywood Won't Cast Her Anymore

Nina Dobrev scored her big break playing Mia Jones on Degrassi: The Next Generation in 2006, before becoming better known as Elena Gilbert on The Vampire Diaries three years later. Her role on the popular supernatural series, which earned the actress three People's Choice Awards and six Teen Choice Awards, catapulted her into bonafide TV stardom. 

After leaving the dramatic teen fantasy series behind in 2015, Dobrev went on to appear in The Final Girls, a slasher comedy film which received praise from critics. The actress' first post-The Vampire Diaries project showed promise for her future career, and it seemed to put Dobrev in a perfect position to rule the entertainment industry as Hollywood's next go-to leading lady. But apart from a handful of movies and TV guest spots, she's been pretty quiet. Since there's a lot about Dobrev's career that fans may have missed since she left Mystic Falls, let's answer the question on everyone's mind: Why won't Hollywood cast Nina Dobrev anymore?

Her surprising The Vampire Diaries exit

Dobrev shocked die-hard The Vampire Diaries fans everywhere when she exited the show after six seasons in May 2015. While the actress had secretly planned on leaving at that point in the series from the start, saying goodbye to Elena Gilbert was a bittersweet experience for herself and viewers alike. 

"The fairy tale has to end, and the next chapter has to begin," Dobrev told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "I knew this was my time, and I'm excited for the next step." However, the actress was well aware that taking this big risk into the unknown could be the end of her career. As she reflected to Harper's Bazaar in 2017, "If anything, the fact that [leaving] terrified me drove me even more. I needed to feel that fear of, 'Oh, my God, what if I never get a job again?' That just made me want to work five times as hard to make sure that didn't happen."

Is she too picky?

Dobrev's post-The Vampire Diaries resumé may be admittedly sparse, but it's partially her own doing. By the time she left the hit CW series, the actress was in her late twenties and already a TV veteran, so she understandably had high standards when it came to the roles she chose to play. "The things I want to do aren't necessarily the things that are expected of me," she told Harper's Bazaar. "I don't want to play a teenager anymore. I want to play adult roles and be challenged and work with great filmmakers and tell incredible stories, and that has meant being really picky."

As the TV star continued to zig when audiences expected her to zag, she did her best to avoid the risk of being typecast as a teen. In 2017, Dobrev told Rogue Magazine (via Just Jared Jr.), "I wanted to prove everyone wrong who said I would play this one role my whole life or be stuck playing younger roles."

She might be choosing the wrong projects

While there's something admirable about Dobrev carefully picking her roles, the actress' aim hasn't always on point — like when she found her way back to the big screen in 2017's Crash Pad and xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

With only a limited release, Crash Pad received an average score of 46 out of 100 on Metacritic. In a particularly harsh review of the comedy, the Los Angeles Times called it "stubbornly unfunny," adding that the "plucky ensemble fails to elevate" the "forced, formulaic revenge comedy." Meanwhile, xXx: Return of Xander Cage performed even worse with critics. Giving it a 45 percent rating, Rotten Tomatoes' general consensus read, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage should satisfy fans of the first two installments, but its preponderance of set pieces can't quite make up for a tired storyline that fails to take the franchise — or action fans — anywhere new." To be fair, what the action flick lacked in critical acclaim and originality, it more than made up for at the box office, grossing an impressive $346.1 million worldwide.

Unfortunately, neither project seemed to do much to further Dobrev's career prospects.

Her relationships became tabloid fodder

Having spent much of her teenage years and twenties in the spotlight, Dobrev does her best to keep her personal life private. However, due to a string of high-profile romances with the likes of Whiplash star Austin Stowell, Scream Queens alum Glen Powell, and former The Vampire Diaries co-star Ian Somerhalder, the actress' dating life has, at times, overshadowed her professional endeavors.

Most damaging was the lingering rumor that Dobrev quit The Vampire Diaries over her alleged bad blood with former co-star Ian Somerhalder, who married actress Nikki Reed in 2015. While filming the series finale together, the trio put this sexist myth to bed once and for all, calling to put "an end to all those fake stories of on set jealousy, betrayal, made-up-friendships lost & women hating women."

When asked about the difficulty of dating in Hollywood in 2017, Dobrev told Ocean Drive magazine, "That is between me and my dating life and it will stay that way and that's why I'm so good at it because I avoid these questions."

Being a role model is her top priority

Dobrev takes being a role model, particularly to young girls, very seriously, and is known to advocate on behalf of body positivity, mental health, and fitness. "I'm a person just like anybody else," she told the Huffington Post in 2017. "I'm a girl and I have insecurities of my own. So I think being a positive example by practicing what I preach hopefully sends out a good message. It's about showing people it's not always easy."

These efforts are closely tied to the actress' longtime activist work. While publicly supporting a number of charities, Dobrev is devoted to using her celebrity and time to foster real change in the world as an Oceana Ambassador. "I am thrilled to join up with Oceana and help fight for healthy oceans," she said in a January 2018 press release, which announced an initiative to ban the sale and trade of shark fins in the United States. 

"I want to spread that awareness and make sure [sharks] get protected because they don't have anybody looking out for them," she told Ocean Drive. "I'm going to be the voice for these amazing and beautiful creatures."

Not all publicity is good publicity

Making headlines isn't always a good thing. Despite her best efforts, Dobrev isn't immune to controversy — and her social media posts sometimes get her into trouble. In January 2018, the Time's Up-supporting actress was called out for being "hypocritical" when she shared a since-deleted Instagram post of herself fangirling over movie star Johnny Depp, who was infamously accused of domestic violence by ex-wife Amber Heard. The TV actress has also taken major heat from her more conservative followers for being a vocal critic of President Donald Trump.

Luckily, Dobrev doesn't let online trolls or critics get her down. "The online world can be beautiful but also vicious," she told Ocean Drive, comparing it to dealing with high school bullies. "I just try to ignore it. I don't read comments often if I can avoid it. I try to practice what I preach, and if I put good vibes out there I hope that they'll come back to me and karma will bite them in the bum."

Flatliners flopped big time

The 2017 remake of the 1990 sci-fi-horror flick Flatliners, in which Nina Dobrev starred alongside Ellen Page and Diego Luna, was unfortunately a critical and commercial failure. While the reboot scored a low 27 out of 100 on Metacritic, it earned a downright dismal five percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. "Flatliners falls flat as a horror movie and fails to improve upon its source material, rendering this reboot dead on arrival," read the site's brutal general consensus. The movie didn't fare much better at the box office, grossing less than expected with $45.2 million worldwide — a lower earning than the original film. Ouch.

To make matters worse, Dobrev had been counting on the project to help her fulfill one of her biggest professional goals at the time. She told Ocean Drive, "I had so much fun playing this character and kind of playing my first adult role in a professional sense."

She can't leave The Vampire Diaries behind

Letting go of a fan-favorite role is no easy task, which is probably why Dobrev couldn't quite leave The Vampire Diaries behind for good after exiting the drama. In March 2017, she temporarily reprised her popular role in the series finale, which, according to executive producer Julie Plec, was always a part of the plan. 

"I'm thrilled to bring this show to an end the way we always intended — with Nina back to help us say goodbye," she released in a statement to Deadline. For her part, Dobrev couldn't have been happier to return, telling Entertainment Weekly, "The nostalgia is insane." She continued, "I keep getting triggered by moments: a piece of wardrobe, a person's voice, a crew member's laugh. It's like a trip down memory lane, and I have so many beautiful memories of the six years that I spent here. I'm really glad that I got to be a part of it."

While getting back to one's roots is often a good thing, at the time of this writing, Elena Gilbert remains Dobrev's most notable part to date.

Run This Town faced major backlash

The political drama Run This Town, which is set against the backdrop of the late Rob Ford's scandalous term as Toronto's mayor, found itself the subject of major controversy in April 2018. At the time, the character played by Dobrev's co-star, Broadway's Ben Platt, was wrongly assumed to be based on Robyn Doolittle, the reporter who played a key role in covering Ford's substance abuse and sexual assault scandals.

"I'm glad they're rewriting the fact that it was a female reporter who investigated Rob Ford," Doolittle herself tweeted. "Why have a woman be a lead character when a man could do it? Ammaright?" While Dobrev didn't publicly comment on the matter, the Dear Evan Hansen star took to Twitter to emphasize that his character was "in no way based on Robyn Doolittle," adding that he'd never agree "to be a part of a film that would attribute the accomplishments of a remarkable woman to a fictional man." 

Platt and writer-director Ricky Tollman continued to perform damage control, but the media storm surrounding the unfounded accusation failed to cast a positive light on Dobrev's upcoming efforts on the big screen.

She's turning it around

Nina Dobrev may have spent much of her post-The Vampire Diaries career trying to maintain her momentum in Hollywood, but it looks like her film and television prospects are about to take off. In June 2018, the actress appeared in rapper Drake's iconic music video for "I'm Upset," which featured a fictional high school reunion with his former Degrassi: The Next Generation castmates. That August, Dobrev returned to the big screen, starring in Ken Marino's comedy Dog Days

The actress was reported to appear in the teen drama Departures alongside Maisie Williams and Asa Butterfield, and she landed a lead role in the CBS multi-cam comedy Fam, which has already been picked up to series. She was also cast in the pulp-action flick Lucky Day. At the time of this writing, it's unknown when these projects will be released, but, with a number of diverse acting roles lined up, here's hoping that Dobrev's career will make it back on track!