Why Hollywood won't cast Shane West anymore

Shane West stole the hearts of millions when he appeared in A Walk To Remember as Landon Carter, a high school screw up turned sweetheart when he develops feelings for the school nerd Jamie Sullivan, played by Mandy Moore. Since then he has appeared in dozens of television shows and films but none have made the same impression on fans or critics, leaving many to wonder what he's been up to these days.

West was a heartthrob on the rise in the early 2000s, with the potential of becoming a major Hollywood actor, but for some reason he has since disappeared from the spotlight. Is it Hollywood who has turned its back on him or is it purely bad luck?

He got his start on television

West moved to Los Angeles when he was just a teenager to pursue an acting career, and like most actors, he struggled at first. According to an interview he did with Lindzi.com in 2002, he never even considered a career in acting until he moved to California with his family and many of his classmates were acting and appearing in commercials. In the interview he claimed, "… I got the bug. It started working for me so I kept going."

West had guest appearances on a few major television shows when he was just starting out, including Boy Meets World and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and landed his first major role in 1999 on a show called Once and Again. He played Eli, one of two children who are products of divorce, in this TV drama that didn't pick up much of a following. While it was noted for being controversial and being one of the first shows to introduce a gay relationship between two characters, it was cancelled after just three seasons. He went on to make his first movie appearance with a small role in Liberty Heights soon after, which was received well by critics.

He was only cast in teen movies

Even though West had entered his twenties, his characters seemed to be stuck in high school. In the 2000 film Whatever It Takes, West plays a high school nerd who falls for the most popular girl in school. Appearing alongside big names like James Franco and Aaron Paul didn't seem to help put this movie at the top of everyone's must-watch list, and it didn't do very well in theaters. Rotten Tomatoes gave it just a 16 percent rating. The movie had a $32 million budget according to Box Office Mojo, but didn't manage to even make a third of that back. The only thing this movie seemed to accomplish was to get West another role as a teenage high school student, this time with a strange accent.

After filming was wrapped up on the set of Whatever It Takes, West was interviewed in a bar by The New York Times and was quoted saying, "[Whatever It Takes] will probably be my last teen movie. I don't think I want to do another one. I don't want to get stuck.” That might have been smart thinking, but he wasn't being offered many parts that allowed him to play more diverse character. In his next film, Get Over It, West played a foreign exchange student who claimed to have been the lead singer of a boy band abroad. The film had a slightly better reception than Whatever It Takes, receiving a 44 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and making just under $20 million. With a budget of $22 million, that makes this movie a bit of a failure in the eyes of those who matter. Regardless, these films made it difficult for West to break out of his roles in teen movies and he soon went on to film A Walk To Remember.

A Walk To Remember was very successful, but his next films flopped

Before A Walk To Remember was filmed, West appeared in the film A Time For Dancing as a DJ that begins dating one of the main characters, but it never appeared in theaters in the U.S. The movie gained a small following in Italy and was eventually released years later on DVD for Americans to enjoy, but few people are aware the movie even exists.

Right after he filmed A Walk To Remember, West was finally presented with the opportunity to break away from these teenage roles, playing Tom Sawyer in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Based on a mini comic book series created by writer Alan Moore and artist Kevin O'Neill, the story follows popular fictional characters from classic novels who were chosen to form a group of evil-fighting heroes set on a secret mission for Queen Victoria circa 1900. It was expected to do well, but even with Sean Connery playing the lead, critics felt the movie was a flop, receiving only a 17 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

From there, West put teenage romantic dramas and comedies to the side while he pursued darker roles in horror movies. Unfortunately, these movies didn't attract much of an audience either, and West made the right decision by accepting more television acting roles.

He spends a lot of time playing music

If you can picture a young Shane West then you can probably imagine him on stage in head-to-toe punk rock getup, belting out his band's latest hit in front of hundreds of people. That's because he was in several bands, including Average Jo, Johnny Was, and Twilight Creeps. He even spoke about his music in an early interview while promoting A Walk To Remember, as his band was included on the soundtrack.

West stated, "… Our first proactive move to get us out there is that we have a song on the soundtrack to this movie. We don't go by Average Joe because we're going to have to start changing our name. We ran into some legal problems because it's taken by so many other things. On the soundtrack, we go by our last names. I believe it's track 11. We're looking for a career… We're looking for a label and manager."

While West never made it big with any of his own bands, he did get a feel for stardom playing with punk rock legends, Germs. West spent a lot of time with the group during when he was preparing to appear in a biopic about the band called What We Do Is Secret. In the documentary, he played the band's lead singer, Darby Crash, alongside several other actors. Filming was done on and off for four years before the movie was finally released, but during that time West actually started performing with the band and eventually went on tour.

In an interview with Rogue, he explained how this developed by saying, "… we played a gig where the actor Germs played first, and then the real Germs came on stage. I had to sing with them because Darby Crash had passed away many years ago. There were actually a lot of Germs fans at that party. And they just ate it up. They really enjoyed the performance, and all we did was play five songs. And people started kind of asking us to play gigs." While his time spent performing with Germs has come to an end for now, he continues to work toward a career in music and performing with his latest band Twilight Creeps. Unfortunately, that means he's spending less time acting and auditioning for parts.

He started working behind the scenes

Like many of those who work in Hollywood, West took some time to work behind the scenes on some of the films he was starring in. He started by working as executive producer for the documentary What We Do Is Secret, a film he called "a labor of love" in an interview with Home Media Magazine. He continued saying, "… it was very trying on the patience, and it was very difficult because we lost funding a million times." Not long after producing the documentary, West went on to co-produce and star in the horror movie Red Sands where he played one of several U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan who accidentally unleash deadly creatures. It was received with mixed reviews, but didn't reach many viewers as it went straight to DVD.

West doesn't seem to be leaving his acting or music career behind anytime soon, but he might consider producing more since he seems to enjoy juggling several projects. When asked by Home Media Magazine what his plans are for his future, music or acting, he responded by saying, "I'm gonna do what I wanna do. That's how I think most people can and should live their lives."

He got a big break on ER...and then he left

West got his next big break after A Walk To Remember when he was offered the part of Dr. Ray Barnett on ER, joining the list of some of the sexiest men in Hollywood who've played doctors on the show, including George Clooney and John Stamos. Even though he started on ER in it's 11th season, the show still had a huge following and his appearance certainly helped boost his career, but he left after just three seasons.

West left ER to take a role in the anticipated pilot Supreme Courtships, which depicted the professional and personal lives of six members of the Supreme Court. The show cast some pretty big names including Kate Burton, best known for her role as Ellis Grey in Grey's Anatomy, and Kurtwood Smith who played Red Forman in That 70's Show, but the pilot wasn't picked up by Fox. This sent West back to the set of ER, making a few small appearances as Dr. Ray Barnett to wrap up a few storylines until the end of the series.

He starred in Nikita...but it was canceled

Nikita aired on the CW for four short seasons, in which West starred alongside actress and producer Maggie Q. The show was about an assassin who gets revenge on those who trained her, and gained a cult following right away. However, things took a turn during the show's second season, when it was considered the lowest rating drama on the network, according to Forbes. Many were surprised when the show was renewed for a third season, however, Forbes explained the reasoning behind their decision in their article.

According to them, the CW has a deal with Netflix where they can air their shows for four years after the show's series finale. Deadline reports this was a $1 billion deal that will likely never be made with any other network as few offer as much as the CW network. When Nikita was renewed for a final fourth season of only six episodes, many thought it was done to give fans what they wanted. However, Forbes reported that it was likely part of the network's deal with Netflix. One of the stipulations of their contract is that their shows have true and sensible conclusions. Likely this was what motivated CW to give the show it's final season, giving West a job for just that much longer — but not giving him any leads on new gigs.

His current projects aren't doing well either

After Nikita wrapped up, West tried to get back into film. He starred in two movies, a Top Gun-themed thriller titled Red Sky and a horror film called Here Alone. Unfortunately Red Sky wasn't well received by critics and went straight to DVD. The film was nominated for two awards, the Golden Reel Award and the Hollywood Media in Music Award, but won neither. Gazette Review reported that the film was criticized "… mostly for its crude special effects and underwhelming plot," but managed to attract a decent audience due to the film's "… star-studded cast, which included Cam Gigandet, Bill Pullman, Troy Garity, Richard Leigh Cook, and JC Chasez."

West also stars in Salem, a TV show that sheds light on accused witches and the infamous witch trials in America's history. It premiered as a hit and was WGNA's highest-rated show in seven years, according to Deadline. Unfortunately those fans didn't stick around, and the show's final season wrapped up in January. It seems West has faced nothing but bad luck in regards to both his television and movie career, so how can he turn things around?

How he can turn it around

While his most recent television project has now come to an end, the horror film he starred in Here Alone has yet to be released in theaters. It premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, receiving mass critic approval and becoming the year's Audience Award Winner. Deadline recently reported that the movie was purchased by Vertical Entertainment and they plan for an early 2017 worldwide release. There's no release date yet, however things are certainly looking up for West! It's about time he was recognized for one of his horror films, and while we all know he likes to change things up, perhaps horror is a genre he can be successful in for a while. If not, there's always room for a reboot of Once and Again, a possibility West discussed in an interview with The Wrap.

Additionally, with the 15 year anniversary of A Walk To Remember's release having just passed, both West and Moore have been receiving more acknowledgement in the media. Fans are still madly in love with the connection the two had on screen, and often ask about the possibility of a reunion. Moore recently brought up the possibility of the cast getting back together on Twitter. As reported by E! News, the actress responded to fans by saying, "We're working on it!" Fans didn't have to wait long to get what they've been waiting for as the Huffington Post reported that both West and Moore got together just a few days ago with A Walk To Remember director Adam Shankman. Photos of their reunion were posted on the actress and director's social media pages. Likely this was just a photo op designed to bring attention back to the classic film, but it's also something that will bring more attention to West and his career. Perhaps help him land a guest appearance on Moore's hit show This is Us! He might not want to star in teen movies anymore, but he can certainly use his connections to climb back up to stardom!