Why Hollywood won't cast Felicity Huffman anymore

Felicity Huffman had been acting steadily on the stage and screen for more than two decades before scoring her big break as Kelsey Grammer's on-screen love interest, the no-nonsense financial reporter Julia Wilcox, on Frasier in 2003. She became a household name a year later for her iconic portrayal of neurotic career woman-turned-stay-at-home mom Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives. The actress' performance earned her multiple accolades over the course of eight seasons, including an Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.   

By the time the hit ABC dramedy went off the air in 2012, this actress-producer-director appeared ready to don the crown as show biz's next go-to leading lady. Despite Huffman's multiple talents, she's actually been much quieter than we previously expected. While dealing with typecasting, failed projects, rumors about her appearance, and more, any momentum in her career was put in jeopardy in March 2019, when she was charged in a massive celebrity college admissions scandal. So, why won't Hollywood cast Felicity Huffman anymore? We've got your answers below.

She's been typecast

While Lynette Scavo was undoubtedly the role of a lifetime, it led Felicity Huffman into a longtime struggle with typecasting. "You go into acting jail at the end of these things because it's hard for anyone to see you as anything other than Lynette Scavo or whatever it is," she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2011 (via the Express). "So I think it's unwise to look at the carnage around you of past TV actresses and go, 'It's not going to happen to me.'" Clearly prepared for the days ahead, Huffman joked about her backup plan to open "supermarkets and gas stations." However, it took years for audiences to view the TV star as anyone other than her most popular alter ego. 

"You go, 'Oh, there's Lynette. You don't go, 'There's Felicity Huffman,'" she told the Associated Press in 2014 (via Fox News). Explaining how she was looking forward to playing a role that would finally shift this public image, Huffman added, "So you need to be different enough that it's not just, 'Oh, there's Lynette as a doctor. There's Lynette as a cab driver or policeman.'"

American Crime was short-lived

After struggling to find her footing again in television, Huffman's starring role on the anthology crime drama series American Crime allowed her to finally move beyond the realm of Desperate Housewives in 2015. With each season focused on an entirely different story, the actress served up distinctive looks and delivered three standout performances as grieving mother Barb, as private school principal Leslie Graham, and as Jeanette Hesby, a woman who marries into a troubled farming family. 

"What was behind it is, I keep wanting to give the audience a break from the last character I played so they could see the new character as complete and whole," Huffman explained to IndieWire in 2017. "I think you feel the history of your career that's come before," she said. "I didn't want them to go, 'Oh, there's Lynette as a grieving mother on American Crime.'"

For her distinguished on-screen work, the TV star received three consecutive Emmy nominations for outstanding lead actress in a limited series or movie. However, American Crime was short-lived. According to Deadline, the show was canceled due to low ratings in 2017, following a three-season run.

Has she altered her appearance?

Throughout her career, Huffman has not been immune to the unfortunate double standards women face in the entertainment industry. "We live in a patriarchal society. It's getting better, but it's still in the fabric of America," she told Haute Living in 2017. "[The most difficult thing about Hollywood is that,] it doesn't exactly feel like a meritocracy — it feels like a gold rush. Everyone's looking for the shiny, new thing."

While dodging plastic surgery rumors and even nasty online trolling over her seemingly unrecognizable appearance in more recent years (via Yahoo!), the actress has also struggled with the unrealistic expectations show biz places on women's looks. "Beauty could never have been my currency," Huffman candidly told the Daily Mail in 2012. "I look OK. I look better in person than I do on film, which is bad because it's how I make my living, but I am not a beauty and on balance I am glad." As for whether she's actually gone under the knife, Huffman has yet to comment on these reports to date. However, she told the Daily Mail, "I am all for plastic surgery, I can't wait to get my face lifted ... I think if it makes you feel better, go for it."

Don't count on a Desperate Housewives reboot

The 2010s have become the era of TV reboots. With the likes of Will & Grace and Full House hitting the small screen once again, Desperate Housewives fans are undoubtedly hoping to see Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, and Eva Longoria return to Wisteria Lane, but that doesn't seem likely. "It's not going to happen," Huffman told Haute Living. "I think [writer and producer] Mark Cherry ran through all the stories ― and then some. The well is empty. Now it would be called Desperate Old Biddies." 

Welp! We guess we have our answer. Another major reason to avoid a reboot would be the infamous alleged feud between Hatcher and the rest of the cast. However, she's ironically one of the wifies who has expressed interest in getting the gang back together. "I'd be the first person [to return]," Hatcher said on the Loose Women in 2018. "I never wanted it to be over." Longoria also told Closer Weekly that she'd reprise her role "in a heartbeat," but added, "Our showrunner doesn't want to do it."

She's been busy raising her kids

Felicity Huffman and Shameless star William H. Macy tied the knot in September 1997, according to E! News. After this Hollywood power couple welcomed their daughters, Sofia (born in 2000) and Georgia (born in 2002), into their brood, the actress' family life has remained her top priority. "Home is the best place on earth," the proud mom told the Daily Mail in 2012. "Our house in California is set in almost three acres and we aspire to self-sufficiency — and I love to get the girls involved." For their part, the happy couple's children are reportedly already planning to follow in their famous parents' footsteps. "I was against our daughters becoming actors and then Bill turned to me and said, 'It's been a great life for us, why deny them?'" Huffman said. "So I have compromised and said OK, but they have to go to college first."

As for married life, Huffman and Macy seemed to have unlocked the key to a successful union. "We got lucky! Marry Felicity Huffman," Macy simply told E! News in 2016. To which Huffman quipped, "Marry Bill Macy."

ABC passed on Libby & Malcolm

After American Crime's cancellation, Felicity Huffman was looking forward to the future. For the first time in more than a decade, she was planning her unlikely return to comedy in an ABC pilot called Libby & Malcolm (via Deadline). According to her interview with Haute Living, the show would have seen Huffman play a white Republican from the South who falls head over heels for Courtney B. Vance's character, a black Northern Democrat. "The show is very humorous; it's a razor's edge comedy [with the underlying theme] of love conquering all [while] exploring how politics can affect our families," the actress said, expressing her high hopes for how the series could play in the increasingly divisive climate of President Donald Trump's administration. "I hope if [the pilot gets picked up] that both Republicans — of which I have many in my family — can go, 'Yes, I appreciate that point of view,' and that Democrats can do the same."

The project would have marked a distinct departure from Huffman's prior career path. However, as reported by Spoiler TV, the network ultimately decided not to pick it up to series.

She was turning it around...

Heading into 2019, Felicity Huffman appeared to be back at the top of her game while juggling two major gigs on Netflix. According to Deadline, the actress was picked to star alongside Angela Bassett and Patricia Arquette in Otherhood, a movie about a trio of suburban moms who relocate to New York City to mend their relationships with their kids. Following the comedy film's April 2019 release, viewers would see Huffman play prosecutor Linda Fairstein in When They See Us starting in May 2019. This mini-series from writer-director Ava DuVernay centers on the 1990 Central Park Five case.

"I would say I'm in the best place in my career that I've ever been," Huffman told Haute Living. "I think that I'm old enough now in my craft to know ... what I'm going for. I think [I have the] skills as a craftsman to learn how to get to that goal or at least how to try and get to that goal." She went on to say, "I would really like to do three things: I would like to do a period piece, a Western, and a blockbuster ... but a blockbuster as [in] a superhero movie. I'd want to be a kickass superhero."

But then that college admissions scandal broke

On March 12, 2019, Huffman was one of 50 people indicted in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal (via TMZ). The actress was reportedly arrested by the FBI at gunpoint at her Hollywood Hills, Calif. home. However, sources told TMZ the actress "knew the arrest was looming and would have gladly surrendered on her own." 

According to the indictment documents, Huffman and Macy allegedly paid $15,000 "to participate in a college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of [their] eldest daughter" to help get her into an elite school. Macy has not been indicted, as of this writing, but Huffman was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud (via Deadline). According to TMZ, she was released on $250,000 bond the same day as her bust. Adding to Huffman's bad press was a resurfaced tweet from 2016, in which she asked: "What are your best 'hacks' for the back-to-school season?" Yikes! Needless to say, that question has not aged well in the Twittersphere.

Where does she go from here?

At the time of this writing, Felicity Huffman's standing in both federal court and the court of public opinion hang in the balance, leaving many fans wondering if this scandal has destroyed her career for good. According to CNN, she is scheduled to appear in a Boston, Mass. court on March 29, 2019. While she may face prison time, legal expert James J. Leonard Jr. doesn't see this "as a probability," telling People, "At the end of the day, we are talking about parents who tried to help their children, and crossed the line in doing so."

Amid the ongoing social media backlash, the fate of Huffman's upcoming Netflix projects also remain up in the air, according to the Los Angeles Times. As crisis management expert Howard Bragman told USA Today, both Huffman and Fuller House star Lori Loughlin, who was also among the dozens of parents indicted in this elaborate scheme, are "the two that are going be the face of it again and again and again. And that's the price you pay for being in Hollywood." Calling the scandal itself a "humiliation," Bragman noted, "We've seen a lot worse things in Hollywood than this."

So, where will Huffman end up once the dust settles? With some experts erring on the side of optimism, we suppose only time will tell.