Why Lea Michele's Future In Hollywood Looks Bleak

Throughout Glee's six-season run on Fox, star Lea Michele seemed destined to have the kind of Hollywood career most actresses dream of, but if she were to pick up and shake a Magic 8 Ball today, her future would most likely read, "Outlook not so good." Here are just some of the reasons Michele's prospects in Hollywood are rapidly diminishing.

She's barely made any movies

After Glee became an overnight sensation in 2009, many assumed Michele would make the inevitable switch from the small screen to the big one while the iron was still hot. That never happened. In fact, in the seven years since Glee premiered, Michele has appeared in only one major motion picture release: the Garry Marshall ensemble comedy New Year's Eve in 2011. Sure, she has also appeared in Glee: The 3D Concert Movie (2011), but who actually saw that one?

How and why her movie career never took off is up for debate. Either she didn't get the parts, got them and turned them down or, just doesn't really care. Regardless, if she wasn't landing roles in movies then, who's to say she'll star in them now?

Her music career hasn't taken off, either

Although she wasn't able to turn Glee into a full-fledged movie career, Michele did manage to score a record deal with Columbia Records. Unfortunately, the music she released didn't move the needle. Her much-anticipated single, "Cannonball," peaked at no. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2003; her follow-up single, "On My Way," didn't even chart. To be fair, the actual album, Louder, debuted at no. four on the charts in 2014, but moved a miserable number of copies and was widely considered one of the biggest flops of the year. Odds are, you won't be hearing Michele sing on the radio anytime soon.

She has no plans to return to her roots

Ever since she appeared in the Tony-winning musical Spring Awakening in 2006, Broadway fans have been itching to see Michele return to the Great White Way. Now seems like a better time than ever for her to give the stage another go. There's more than enough overlap between Glee and Broadway audiences. Plus, it's not like her other pursuits are on fire. So, what's up with the stage fright?

"I want to come back to Broadway as soon as I can," Michele told Playbill in late 2015. "I'm just waiting for the right time and the right thing...if they'll have me back." We understand holding out for a good part, but at this point, time isn't exactly on her side anymore.

She never broke free from her Glee character

Here's where we'll give Michele a little credit: unlike so many stars who quickly found fame through television, Michele actually stayed with Ryan Murphy's hit show for all six seasons. Yep, according to IMDb, she appeared in 121 episodes of Glee, right up until it's brutally bad series finale in 2015.

Sadly for her, while she may have won points for loyalty, Michele is now faced with the unenviable task of trying to break free from the character that made her famous, Rachel Berry. That's tough for any actor who's played the same role for years—just ask the cast of Seinfeld (1989-98) or Friends (1994-2004). For Michele, the challenge will be even greater, considering many people assumed Michele and Berry were the same person to begin with. At this point, she'll probably need to do an acting 180 to get audiences to notice her again.

Her much-hyped follow-up to Glee is already flopping

It's not like Michele hasn't tried to make her way in Hollywood. She's currently playing the once-neck-brace-wearing Hester Ulrich on Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens, one of 2015's most buzzed-about shows.

The problem with Scream Queens is that nobody's really tuning in to watch anymore. In its second season on Fox, the show reportedly hit a series low on Oct. 18, 2016, attracting just 1.5 million viewers and a 0.6 rating in the coveted 18-49 demographic, according to TV by the Numbers. That's bad even by today's TV ratings standards, leading some to believe the show may not stay on the air much longer.

It doesn't help that Michele is also starring in another Murphy vehicle, which makes her presence feel more like a passive choice than an active one. This role is better than nothing, but it doesn't exactly scream "longevity" right now.

She's long been rumored to be a diva

Although she's known for her epic vocal skills, Michele has also built up a reputation for allegedly being a huge diva. From practically the moment Glee premiered in 2009, the tabloids had a field day painting Michele as a nightmare on set, reportedly ticking off co-star Naya Rivera and even guest star Kate Hudson in the process. Whether true or not, Michele's alleged reputation lingers on the pages of the internet to this day, and that's never something you want in the air when you're walking into an audition room.

People still link her to Cory Monteith

For better or worse, when audiences think about Michele, they inevitably turn to her former boyfriend, Cory Monteith, who died of a reported drug overdose in 2013. Part of that connection will always be out of her own control—like, you know, the time fans ridiculously got mad at her for dating Matthew Paetz about a year after Monteith's death. Michele has also continued to discuss the late actor via interviews or, more recently, tattoos. Of course, grief is an arduous and personal process with no discernable end, so we understand and empathize with her experience. This tragic turn of events has and will continue to shape her personal and professional image.

Is it an "Anne Hathaway" thing?

Much like Anne Hathaway, Michele's perky theater-girl persona seems to have struck the wrong nerve with certain fans of movies and television. Heck, in 2014, even The Daily Beast published an op-ed called "Why Does Everyone Hate Lea Michele?" The author of that piece wrote, "The problem seems to be that Lea Michele and Anne Hathaway are too good. They are not f***ed-up enough. They are too in control. They don't stumble out of nightclubs, or go nutty next to an awards podium."

"The perfection and polish of Michele and Hathaway bring back red-button memories of the school know-it-all, the perfect head girl, the keen-as-mustard smiling drama school actress—and how you paled next to her," the editorial said. "How you envied her, set yourself up in opposition to all that. And now, as an adult, dammit Missy Perfection—in the forms of Michele and Hathaway—is still stalking your flawed self."

Being branded as a diva, unlikable, and too perky are never great attributes for an evolving career, but if it's any consolation, Hathaway won an Oscar for Les Miserables (2012), a movie adaptation of the show in which Michele made her Broadway debut. So, perhaps, there's still hope after all.