What the Hell Happened to Heather Graham?

heather graham 2013

Heather Graham has been around a lot longer than most people realize.  She had an early role in a Haim/Feldman “Coreys classic”, got caught up in the craziness of James Woods and somehow clawed her way to being Hollywood’s “it” girl for a few short years in the mid 90′s.  And then, she vanished into virtual obscurity.  What the hell happened?

I pride myself on having an eye for talent.  So when I saw Swingers in 1996, I felt like I had discovered “that funny guy” (Vince Vaughn) and “the blonde at the club” (Heather Graham).  I watched their careers with interest as their stars rose.  I rooted for them both to succeed and felt validated when they both became big stars.

I did not anticipate that “the big guy” (Jon Favreau) would go on to direct Iron Man.  But I was happy for him too.

Over the years, you can imagine my embarrassment as I came to realize that Graham had been around for years before Swingers.  Not only that, but I had actually seen a lot of her work without taking much notice.

mrs soffel

Heather Graham’s first role was an uncredited cameo in the Mel Gibson-Diane Keaton prison romance, Mrs. Soffel in 1984.  She was 14 years old.  That fresh face I “discovered” in 1996 had been working for 12 years by then.  Ooops.

In fairness, you can’t blame a 14-year-old boy for missing a Diane Keaton movie.  Especially Mrs. Soffel.

graham - growing pains

Graham’s first credited roles weren’t until 1987 when she appeared in two episodes of Growing Pains and a TV movie called Student Exchange.

Ohhh, that Mike Seaver.  I wonder what he’s up to now…

cameron

Man, I did not see that coming.  Anyway…

graham - license to drive

In 1988, Graham got her first significant role opposite the Coreys (Feldman and Haim) in License to Drive.

Graham was Corey Haim’s dream girl named (get this) Mercedes Lane.  Because, you know, cars.

Being a 17-year-old dude, the Coreys were no more appealing to me than Diane Keaton.  So I missed this one too.  But the reviews were surprisingly positive for a movie starring Corey and Corey.  License to Drive was a hit at the box office.

graham - twins

Later that year, Graham had a small but important role in the Ivan Reitman comedy, Twins.

When I read that Heather Graham was in Twins, I assumed she was one of the girls the twins met up with in their travels.  But no, it turns out Graham played Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito’s mother in flashback.

Heather Graham as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito’s mom.  Only in the movies.

Graham had been cast opposite Winona Ryder in the 1988 black comedy, Heathers.  Graham would have played Heather McNamara, but her mom would not let her because she found the script distasteful.

graham - drugstore cowboy

Graham got a big break playing a drug addict in Gus Van Sant’s breakthrough movie, Drugstore Cowboy opposite Matt Dillon.

It was a supporting role, but the reviews were great.  Drugstore Cowboy was a small movie, but it was seen by casting agents.

graham - I love you to death

In 1990, she had a small role in Lawrence Kasdan’s black comedy, I Love You to Death.

Like a lot of Kasdan films, I Love You to Death had a star-studded cast.  Even the bit parts were filled with the likes of Keanu Reeves and William Hurt.  I recently re-watched I Love You to Death specifically to spot Graham.  Blink and you will miss her.

graham - shout

In 1991, Graham appeared opposite John Travolta and Jamie Walters in the rock-and-roll coming-of-age film, Shout.

At the time, Travolta was squandering his Look Who’s Talking career bump.  And Walters was on his way to becoming the “How Do You Talk to an Angel Guy”.

For what it’s worth, I hear it’s like trying to catch a falling star.

Anyway, Shout was a bomb.  Travolta was nominated for a Golden Raspberry.  And Heather Graham moved on to greener (and weirder) pastures.

Next Up: Twin Peaks and James Woods

Posted on September 5, 2012, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 66 Comments.

  1. I am sorry to say that I still have no idea who she is….although I saw The Hangover. No other films listed here ring a bell.

  2. I believe Mike Tyson shows up @ the end of Hangover 2

  3. My first memory of Graham was seeing her in Drugstore Cowboy. My friends and I had a great time watching that movie. NO HATS ON BEDS!!!

    While Graham was never a particularly versatile or super naturalistic actress, her charm and immediacy on camera is easy to underestimate. There are plenty of actors/actresses who are considered to be better then she is who do not posses those qualities to the degree that she does.

    Also, she’s real purty.

    I love the idea of having readers vote on stuff. Maybe we could vote on a mandatory Disney photo for you to collect on your trip, or a full review of one of the less well known attractions. I could do the same on my trip, too.

    • Feel free to set up any polls you like. Let me know if you have questions about how to do it. It took some trial and error to get this one working. It’s not exactly intuitive.

      I never saw Drugstore Cowboy. Until I did this write-up, I had no idea she was in it. But I’ll definitely have to track it down. I always confused it with Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

      I agree that Graham has a lot of qualities that make her a pleasing presence on screen. Not just her looks, which are nice. It takes a certain quality to be able to play opposite Mike Myers or Eddie Murphy and not fade into the background. Graham was able to make those guys look good without stepping on their toes. And that’s a skill.

      Usually, when I do these write-ups, I come away with an increased appreciation for the subject I am writing up. I have to admit, this is the first time that was not the case. As Graham’s career was unfolding, I was only seeing the highlights. I always perceived her to be right on the cusp of breaking out.

      But now that I have sought out all of her other choices, well, she seems to fall back on strippers and porn stars a lot.

      • Her choice of roles did seem to be routinely sexualized. She maybe could’ve profited from a few more “good girl” type roles. From what I understand, her parents would’ve preferred that path as well. They were apparently very conservative and protective (who could blame them, and their fears may have been realized through her eventual career choices).

        One rumour says that her parents stopped her from accepting a role in “Heathers.” It’s a great film as is, but wouldn’t it gain a little extra appeal if Graham had played the unhappy go-along cheerleader? Nothing against the actress who did the job, but Imagine a cast photo with Ryder, Slater, Doherty, AND Graham.

        • I could definitely see Graham as a minion Heather. She even had the first name for it.

          Her family was indeed quite religious and I understand they stopped talking to her after Boogie Nights. Which is a shame. Perhaps after that, she figured why not go for broke.

          I don’t know that I needed to see her play more “good girls” per se. But she had a real nack for light comedy. I really think she would have shined on TV if she had been on the right show. She was great on Arrested Development and Scrubs. But I guess shows of that caliber don’t come along every day.

          If I could go back in time and change any element of her career, it would be Twin Peaks related. I would have to find some way to make Fire Walk With Me a hit so Lynch could make a follow-up film resolving the dangling plot threads from the TV show. But that has very little to do with Graham. That’s just my Twin Peaks obsession flaring up.

          And I would have loved to have seen her follow up Austin Powers and Bowfinger with more light comedy. I understand the desire to work with the Farrelly bros, but that just didn’t work out. Also, totally random thought, doesn’t Graham seem like she would be right at home in a Tim Burton flick?

          One conclusion I have come to time and again doing these articles is that there are only so many good roles for women in Hollywood these days. And the competition for them is fierce. There are not nearly enough to go around. If more established stars take all the good scripts, you get left with crap like Committed.

          Finally, I do have to give Graham credit for this much. She rarely played it safe. She kept going back to off-the-wall choices when she probably could have made a fortune going the Reese Witherspoon route.

      • On the awards section for the movie on IMDB, it says she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. Not exactly a big deal but I’m surprised she got any kind of award nomination…her acting was competent at best!

        Now she is getting press because she’s in The Hangover 3…I wonder if she has a big part or if it will just be a cameo like she had in the first one.

        • I suspect we’re looking at a cameo here. She’s barely present in the merkating materials. I would love to see her career pick up a little. I realize she’s not a great actress. But she’s a pretty girl with decent comedic timing.

          • She’s doing more TV. Had a pilot a couple years ago that wasn’t pick up, and will have a reoccuring role on Californication (cable TV) this year. She is more suited for TV. Plus, it would give her a lot more exposure and money than she gets for the no-budget films she’s been doing for the last decade that no one has seen.

  4. I think her small role in “Arrested Development” was her best work. She was hilarious. She was also good in a recurring role on “Scrubs.”

    I thought I was the only person who thought “Bowfinger” is underrated. I love that movie. As for “Killing Me Softly,” I’ll admit this. The movie is as bad as you’d imagine, but I’ve seen it more than once. Well, after the first times I just skip to certain scenes on the DVD…

    • I agree she was great on AD and Scrubs. But then again, those shows were great. They took folks like Carl Weathers and Tara Reid and made them look good. So I don’t know how much credit to give Graham and how much to give the shows she was on.

      Bowfinger is an overlooked classic. I keep waiting for people to catch up.

      I’m going to have to track down Killing Me Softly. It has to be more entertaining than Committed.

  5. Danielle Charney

    Agree about her TV work and how great Bowfinger was- i loved it – also loved Bulworth, another underrated classic- it’s interesting to hear you saw Vaughn as a star in Swingers- I loved her and John Favreau- never been able to stand Vaughn- everything about him bothers me-
    I think she is perfect for Tim Burton—surprised he didn’t grab her- she is so quirky

    • Danielle Charney

      and she is perfect quirky for the Coen’s too-

    • I had a connection with Swingers. I had a college buddy who was a lot like Vaughn’s character. And I suppose I was a lot like Mikey. I had slowly come to an epiphany about my old college pal similar to the one Mikey has at the end of Swingers. Long story short, it wasn’t just hysterical. I could relate to it a little too well.

      I thought Favreau was very good in Swingers, btw. I just didn’t figure he had a Hollywood look. Swingers aside, I figured he would be a supporting actor. Which is basically how his acting career played out. I didn’t anticipate he would ever be so successful behind the camera.

      I remember Bulworth getting pretty mixed reviews when it came out. And I remember thinking that while it had its flaws, it was a lot better than the reviews indicated. I laughed a lot. I really need to rewatch it because I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters. Graham is definitely a trade-up from Estella Warren, but there was no saving that dreadful Planet of the Apes remake.

      Right around the time that Graham was hitting the peek of her career, Burton was in a bit of a slump. From 1996-2001 he made Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow and Planet of the Apes. I don’t know that any of those films would have been a big boost to Graham’s career. Although I think she would have done well in all of them.

      Swapping out Christina Ricci for Graham in Sleepy Hollow seems like a lateral move to me. Although it would have been fun to see Graham and Depp working together again. I would definitely take Graham over Estella Warren. But that wouldn’t have saved the dreadful PotA remake.

  6. You may have heard this before: Graham resembles another hot actress, Marley Shelton. Unlike Graham, though, she has never been in a major movie that was successful.

    • That’s for sure! They are dead ringers in a lot of ways. This illustrates a point about how there just aren’t enough parts out there for actresses in Hollywood. There are a lot of “Heather Grahams” out there and not enough parts for one of them. Much less the Marley Sheltons of the world.

  7. I just realized that Marley was in Scream 4 herself. Weird.

    • She was. And when I watched it, I asked myself “Who is that actress who looks like a young Heather Graham?”

      Scream 4 was really bad, btw. I so enjoyed the original. But each sequel chipped away at what made the first movie special. I didn’t think they could get much worse than Scream 3, and yet, they did.

      • Speaking of the “Scream” franchise, I wouldn’t mind seeing a “What the Hell Happened to…” on Neve Campbell:
        http://www.pajiba.com/career_assessments/neve-campbell-career-assessment-the-reluctant-scream-queen.php

        Subject: Neve Campbell, 37-year old Canadian actress

        Date of Assessment: April 13, 2011

        Positive Buzzwords: Scream queen, television

        Negative Buzzwords: Limited range, ambivalent

        The Case: Ah yes, I vaguely recall an actress named Neve Campbell, who was fortunate enough to strike upon a rather popular franchise and make some quick cash before the world discovered that she possessed the a mere three facial expressions and, well, that was it. In short, Neve Campbell was the Kristen Stewart of the 1990s, albeit with far less lucrative paydays and a chronic head tilt instead of a lip-biting affectation. Now, after fifteen years in Hollywood, Campbell doesn’t have a hell of a lot to show for her time in the so-called spotlight. Interestingly, she herself has declared that “I never wanted to be an actor,” and I can’t help but think that this is one hell of an obvious statement in retrospect, for Campbell has always seemed like appearing in front of the camera was just too much damn work. She never really seemed like she wanted to be working in the first place, so why should we even bother with an assessment?

        That’s a damn good question, but I’m not entirely sure that I have an answer. Let’s just do this, shall we?

        As a teenager, Campbell set her sights on a career as a professional ballet dancer, but a series of injuries forced her to pursue a “Plan B” of sorts. As such, Campbell rose to a modest level of fame with “Party of Five,” wherein she made the Julia Salinger Pensive Race for a total of 143 merciless episodes. However, she’s best known for the role of Sidney Prescott in the Scream trilogy (and soon to be fourth movie). A few other movies also registered on the audience radar, including The Company, The Craft, and Wild Things; but beyond that, very few people have seen the rest of Neve Campbell’s movies. After all, Churchill: The Hollywood Years, Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, and I Really Hate My Job aren’t exactly the types of films that spark cinematic interest on any sort of level.

        One can easily gather that Campbell, in the slightest of demonstrable ways, has grown slightly nervous about her own career’s steady downward trajectory. Accordingly, she’s shown a recent willingness to disrobe on film (2004’s When Will I Be Loved) whereas she previously adhered to a “no-nudity” clause (see 1998’s Wild Things, in which even Kevin Bacon got into the spirit by going full frontal). So sure, she made the conscious choice to go nude in movies for the sake of reviving her career; unfortunately, she continued to disregard the “acting” part of the job. And that’s the crux of the issue here, for Neve Campbell is no actress and never wanted to be one in the first place.

        Prognosis: At this point, Campbell’s own brand of apathetic desperation has actually reached new heights, for she has resigned herself to returning for the fourth Scream movie. It must be noted that while this sequel wouldn’t have happened without her participation, Campbell also wouldn’t even be on the radar without this sequel. Certainly, she received a nice pay day for returning to the franchise, which wouldn’t have a reason for existing beyond the Sidney Prescott character. She does have a few other movies (The Glass Man; Vivaldi) in various states of production, but the only real hope for career longevity would be for Campbell to land a supporting role in another network television program similar to “Party of Five.” In the grand scheme of things, will Scream 4 do anything to further Campbell’s career? Certainly not.

        They Didn’t Quite Make It Big, But Made Good Nevertheless: 15 Actors Who Barely Missed The A-List (StyleBlazer):
        Of no relation to Bruce, Neve Campbell rose to prominence in the mid-1990s thanks to a starring role on the prime time soap Party of Five. During her television tenure Campbell took starring roles in horror films like The Craft and the Scream series. Then came Wild Things, a Hot neo noir that paired her with Denise Richards, Kevin Bacon, and Matt Dillion to become a sleeper hit in theaters and a major hit on video. 54 cast her alongside Mike Myers and Ryan Phillipe, but would not be quite find the same success. Still, Campbell seemed poised to overtake Hollywood until the early 2000s, when, like Sarah Polley, she began opting for parts in low-budget independent films like Panic (opposite William H. Macey), When Will I Be Loved, and Robert Altman’s The Company. Unfortunately, her indie endeavors removed her from a chance at Hollywood’s A-list, though the actress enjoyed a brief revival in 2011 reprising her starring role in Scream 4. – See more at: h

      • Perhaps the problem with “Scream” (not just the first movie but the franchise as a whole) in retrospect, is that a lot of people took it seriously and didn’t get the joke. The first one aged okay because of the mostly spot-on parody nature of the movie, but the second and third movies (and a lot of other terrible “slasher” movies made around the same time) played it all straight and nearly killed the genre.

        More to the point the “Scream” movies, especially the first one (and the opening of the second one) are really “one time viewing” type flicks, where you had to be there on opening night. In other words, the first time was a fantastic experience but most of it comes down to tricking the spectator into a couple of particular emotional moments because of a few shock, Wes Craven showed green skills in doing that. However, because most of the movie(s) is so dependent of the jumps and tension of not knowing where you go that everything is deflated when you try watching it again.

        • I’m not sure I agree. I know I have watched the first Scream many times and still enjoy it. Obviously, it doesn’t pack the punch of that first viewing. But it’s still an entertaining movie. I actually saw Scream before it came out. It was one of those movies where I would occassionally drop into a theater to watch the audience watching it. It was fun because word of mouth slowly built the audience for it. So for several weeks, there were first time viewers who were screaming their heads off. If I could time it right, I stopped in to watch the Drew Barrymore scene. That scene really set the tone. The audience was exhausted by the time it was over.

          Part of the problem with the Scream franchise is that it just doesn’t lend itself to sequels. Williamson used up all his clever satire in the first script. The second one had a bit of meta commentary about sequels, but not enough to warrant a sequel. The material and execution got weaker and weaker with each subsequent film.

          The first film was an expert mix of comedy and genuine thrills. But the comedy got drained out of each subsequent film. Craven still does a good job leveraging the thrills, but since we have seen it all before diminishing returns are unavoidable just like any horror movie franchise. By the end, the Scream movies were basically what they originally set out to satire.

          As a tangent, I always thought Rose McGowan would have been bigger than she was. I have to wonder how much her weird behavior with Marilyn Manson limited her appeal.

          • It more than likely did limit her appeal as well as her cosmetic procedures in recent years (although her defenders say that it was out of necessity due to Rose being in a serious car wreck). Then again, I thought that Rose’s “Scream” co-star Drew Barrymore’s “weird behavior” w/ Tom Green around the time that the first “Charlie’s Angels” film was coming out, would seriously hurt her appeal (Drew even cameoed in Tom Green’s notorious “Freddie Got Fingered”). Rose did get a nice run on “Charmed” after Shannon Doherty was fired, but not much else.

        • Deader Than Disco: Film:
          http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/DeaderThanDisco/Film

          The Scream trilogy in the mid-late ’90s helped to revive both the teen horror film and the slasher movie by reconstructing the latter, spawning copycat films like I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, The Rage: Carrie 2, and Valentine. However, this short-lived boom was brought to a screeching halt on April 20, 1999 by the Columbine High School massacre, which made movies about teens in peril a lot more uncomfortable for both Moral Guardians and for their target audience. Most of the movies in the genre that came out after Columbine were already well into production by then, and most of them suffered from either heavy censorship, disappointing box office returns, or both. It didn’t help when, about one year later, the genre was mercilessly parodied by Scary Movie. While the horror genre in general survived, relatively few horror films (outside the odd remake) have been explicitly oriented towards teenagers, with adult protagonists becoming the norm in the genre to this day.

  8. Lost in Space really wasn’t as bad as everyone makes it out to be…I thought it was a fun movie.

    • I knew someone would come along to defend LiS. ;)

      You’re not wrong. If you turn your brain off, it can be a fun popcorn flick. It’s not that much worse than the averegae Hollywood sci fi movie.

      I think LiS got unfairly ganged up on because it was such a transparent attempt to start a franchise based on an old TV show. It’s success and sequels were taken for granted. So when it was so formulaic and, well, stupid, it became a target. I am admittedly being slightly unfair to it based on what it could have been with just a little more effort.

  9. How about a WTHH? on Heather’s ‘Boogie Nights’ co-star Burt Reynolds? He’s had as many ups & downs as Travolta.

    • Someone on the FB page also recommended Reynolds. I plan to get to him. But it will be a large undertaking. I doubt I’ll get to him this year.

      Pretty sure you’ll see him in 2013.

      • Burt Reynolds kind of (within the context of the WTHHT series) strikes me as a male Kim Basinger. Both were at their peak, sex symbol type actors whose careers took a serious hit due to financial issues (i.e. bankruptcy) and messy divorces (Burt was married to blonde bombshell on her own, Loni Anderson). Both Burt and Kim in the mid-late ’90s made pseudo comebacks to respectability (i.e. “Boogie Nights” and “LA Confidential respectively), that somehow turned out to be anti-climatic.

  10. i definitely think burt reynolds, kurt russell and nick nolte need write ups.

    • I have plans to do all three eventually. Of the three, I think Kurt Russell is likely to happen first. I’ve been watching a lot of John Carpenter movies recently.

  11. In the late 90s I had the impression she was popular because of all the big movies she was in at the time. Then she disappeared for like ten years doing all those straight-to-video movies (though I do remember seeing ads for her TV show that lasted 1 episode). Can’t say she was missed. She’s not a great actress, but she doesn’t have any charm either…nothing to set her apart.

    • Yeah, I had the perception that she was on her way up based on Swingers, Boogie Nights and Austin Powers. But in retrospect, she didn’t really have much to do with those movies’ success.

      • Exactly. Any pretty actress could have played those roles. She was easily replaceable. Though, to her credit, she was funny in Bowfinger.

        • That is the one thing I have to give her. She excelled at light comedy. That’s why I am surprised she never made it on a sitcom. But I guess there were dozens if not hundreds of other girls who could fill those roles.

    • Does that therefore, make Heather Graham the female, ’90s equivalent to Steve Guttenberg!?

      • I can’t equate the two as I have always had a major movie crush on Graham. You may be on to something, but I see the Gute as a regular guy who got extremely lucky and Graham as a super hottie who should have worked more.

  12. By the way, the James Woods quote about Susan Sarandon is hilarious and so true.

  13. Perhaps Heather Graham’s problem is that she had what could be regarded as four major studio flops in a row: “Say It Isn’t So”, “From Hell”, “The Guru” and “Killing Me Softly”. So that more than anything, killed a lot of momentum for her. You can also make the argument that Heather Graham was for the most part, always an actress who was really strong and likable in certain things and then terrible in others. I’ve read theories on her IMDb message board that she probably also didn’t have a huge female fanbase, which actresses need to keep getting studio work (since men can pretty fickle when it comes to starlets).

    • Yeah, I think all of those things contributed. I was always surprised she didn’t settle into sitcom work based on her guest spots on Scrubs and Arrested Development. It seemed like a good fit. But I guess the one show she attempted was a huge flop too.

    • Were The Guru and Killing Me Softly really major studio films? Guru had a limited release and KMS went straight to DVD.

      • I’m going to say no, they weren’t. I was a Graham fan when they were released and I had never heard of those movies until I wrote this article.

        And From Hell was a disappointment, but not a flop. But her box office track record was unquestionably bad.

        • 10 Great Film Ideas Utterly Wasted On Terrible Actors:
          http://whatculture.com/film/10-great-film-ideas-utterly-wasted-on-terrible-actors.php/8

          3. From Hell – Heather Graham

          Everyone loves a fresh interpretation of serial killer Jack the Ripper, who went on one of the world’s most famous unsolved murder sprees. It’s not Johnny Depp’s best work, but the premise is sound and for the most part the idea has real potential. He plays the drug-addicted inspector gamely enough, and Ian Holm turns in a panto performance that oddly works with the sinister Victorian atmosphere.

          The film falls apart, however, with Heather Graham’s performance as a Whitechapel prostitute in danger of becoming Jack’s next victim. This involves a misguided attempt at a Cockney (or possibly Irish) accent and acting skills that are not up to the level one would expect from an actress starring in a high-profile Hollywood film. She’s not even convincing as a redhead.

  14. The Decade’s Ten Biggest Flameouts — The Rae Dawn Chong Effect:
    http://www.pajiba.com/seriously_random_lists/the-decades-ten-biggest-flameouts.php

    Heather Graham

    Best Known For: Boogie Nights (1997)

    Last Significant Role: Minor part in The Hangover (2009)

    What Happened: She can’t act; Hollywood figured It out.

  15. ‘Emily’s Reasons Why Not’: Because Once Was Enough:
    http://splitsider.com/2013/03/emilys-reasons-why-not-because-once-was-enough/

    There must be a special type of indignity felt when you are canceled after one episode – only nineteen English language shows throughout the entire history of television have had that honor, after all. After being chosen among multitudes of other pilots, to be one of the select few to actually make it to air, to only be told that twenty two minutes was more than enough, thanks?

    Emily’s Reasons Why Not is the one show out of the lucky nineteen that is most likely remembered by the American public, mostly due to its decent proximity to the present, because that Heather Graham lady starred in it, and because ABC put a lot of publicity muscle behind the show that they so quickly threw to the curb. (Some sports fans may still recall legendary college football broadcaster Keith Jackson — 77 years old at the time and working his last game — struggling to read the promotional copy for Why Not five days before the series premiere/finale, in between plays of the 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas and USC, which was witnessed by 35.6 million people.) The network was counting on the show to anchor their Winter/Spring Monday night lineup, which on schedule would suddenly not be broadcasting Monday Night Football, due to the NFL’s insistence on not playing twelve months a year.

    ABC head of programming Steve McPherson wasn’t necessarily relying on the same audience to keep watching their channel on that evening, but because Why Not had a similar sounding pedigree to Sex and the City — Based on a book! Female protagonist! Female protagonist talking about dating dudes! — it might draw a healthy amount of eyeballs and buzz. Heather Graham was never more popular as as she was from acting in Boogie Nights in 1997, but she did guest star in nine episodes of Scrubs as Dr. Molly Clock during the show’s fourth season and had a memorable performance as a Saddam Hussein loving teacher on one episode of Arrested Development, proving that comedic television wasn’t beneath her or out of her element. They got Macy Gray to sing the theme song! Never mind that allegedly ABC bought the show from Sony without seeing the pilot…

    If you learn anything from Brilliantly Canceled, it is that you should always ask to see the pilot. Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was green-lit to produce six episodes without being asked to provide a single frame of film, premiered on January 9, 2006, and was officially canceled on January 10, 2006. “Only” 6.2 million people witnessed it that night, but thanks to YouTube, you can watch it right here, right now.

    Did the show deserve to be canceled after one episode? Considering all of the garbage television has presented us with, no. But it is obvious that if it went through the standard pilot season rigamarole the pilot would have been rewritten and reshot, possibly with a few cast changes, hopefully with joke punch-ups. The only reason it flickered in front of some people’s faces at all as it was is because it makes little financial sense to buy a show and not put it on the air.

  16. What happened to Heather Graham?:
    http://media.gunaxin.com/what-happened-to-sexy-hotheather-graham/1644

    So what did happen to Heather Graham? As in, why does it seem like she’s fallen off the face of the earth?

    I guess you could say this happens to a lot of actresses. She had good looks, but not so much on the acting talent side of things. And careers for actresses on the whole don’t have the longevity of their male counterparts. Let’s take a look at her career path.

    Her first credited acting appearance was in an episode of Growing Pains in 1987 (maybe she can hang out with Leo DiCaprio at the reunion?). She appeared in a variety of movies and TV shows along the way including the critically acclaimed Twins Peaks and in one of my favorite overlooked movies, Diggstown.

    But she really hit it big as Rollergirl in the 1997 hit Boogie Nights. A string of major studio movies followed: Scream 2, Lost in Space, and the major blockbuster Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me as Felicity Shagwell. But after that, the roles and movies tended to get smaller. Her much maligned turn as an Irish hooker in From Hell didn’t help the perception that she was just another pretty face. Soon her biggest work was on TV. A reoccuring role on Scrubs got a good reception from fans and critics, but her own TV show, Emily’s Reason Why Not, was quickly cancelled.

    Now she’s doing obscure movies. It’s still work, but have we written off Heather Graham too quickly? At least she’s not doing her own reality show like Denise Richards, another pretty face from the late 90s. I say we need more Heather Graham. Her fifteen minutes aren’t quite up.

  17. What the Hell Happened To Heather Graham:
    http://www.zimbio.com/Heather+Graham/articles/DFqHN06DLeg/Hell+Happened+Heather+Graham

    Heather Graham is a beautiful woman that can really act. Have you seen her in Boogie Nights? She’s amazing as Roller Girl and I don’t just mean her boobs. But I have to ask what happened to her? Did she try to hold on to cute to long? Did she try to play sexy and not smart? She was just in the Hangover and got good reviews but that doesn’t make up for not knowing when to grow up and move on from just sexy….She should learn from her screen co-star Julianne Moore, both beautiful but a well rounded actress who is aging very well….And Heather should have to apologize for this outfit…..

  18. Whatever Happened To… Heather Graham:
    http://fetchmemylolly.tumblr.com/post/25138246487

    The character of Annie Blackburn was Heather Graham’s first stand-out role, after playing support characters in I Love You To Death, Drugstore Cowboy and Shout. The character, even in today’s terms, is outstanding. Annie was presented with a complex and emotional backstory. In more simplistic terms, if Audrey was the femme fatal, Annie was the angel. Her clothes, hair and body language all conveyed a simple and understated grace, not frigidity. While there were religious and spiritual issues conveyed surrounding her sexuality, to me, it never seemed to veer off in the direction of, “I live in a convent and have a chastity belt, so no touchy-touchy”. Her and Coop did end up having some afternoon delight, and every fan-girl across the world who wanted to hold hands with Coop and share cherry pie with him cried into their pillows.

    The portrayal of Annie proved that Heather could act. This was reinforced again in her role as Rollergirl in Boogie Nights. Yeah, you saw her t*ts and yeah, she simulated sex scenes, but she perfected the “lost little girl” character; she desperately missed being part of a nuclear family and set out to create her own and cast those around her in those roles (The most obvious example being the bedroom scene with Julianne Moore, when both are coked off their t*ts, and Rollergirl says “I want you to be my Mom, Amber. I’ll ask you if you’re my Mom, and you say yes, okay?”). She still has misgivings about her decision to be in porn, and her desperate and degrading slide into the much more tackier world of videotape is shocking in its brutality of not only her act of violence and revenge, but also because she is brutalised and nearly raped, with the camera rolling and with Jack giving direction. Rollergirl (like the characters of Amber and Jack) was a brilliant and dynamic support character to Dirk’s main story, and Heather acted her t*ts off.

    Then there was this: LOST IN SPACE

    Heather plays a “doctor” (LMAO) who struts around in a skintight onesie that somehow managed to add several cup sizes to her chesticals. On a sidenote, Gary Oldman was essentially sober during the period of time in which this movie was made. He was NOT sober during the period of time in which JFK, Dracula and Leon were made. Just saying, is all.

    From there, it goes from the ridiculous (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) to WTF (Say It Isn’t So, with Chris Klein) to I Can’t Believe You Got Cast In This Movie (From Hell) to Are You F***ing Kidding, Did You Even READ The Script (Blessed, where she plays a woman who is impregnated with the sperm of Satan. I’M NOT JOKING) to I Need To Pay The Rent (the ABC television series, Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was cancelled directly after the first episode premiered) to I Don’t Really Know What This Movie Is About And It’s Kind Of Pretentious But It Has An Awesome Cast (Boogie Woogie) to I’m Not Even Acting Anymore (Stripper in The Hangover).

    Heather plays a “doctor” (LMAO) who struts around in a skintight onesie that somehow managed to add several cup sizes to her chesticals. On a sidenote, Gary Oldman was essentially sober during the period of time in which this movie was made. He was NOT sober during the period of time in which JFK, Dracula and Leon were made. Just saying, is all.

    From there, it goes from the ridiculous (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) to WTF (Say It Isn’t So, with Chris Klein) to I Can’t Believe You Got Cast In This Movie (From Hell) to Are You F***ing Kidding, Did You Even READ The Script (Blessed, where she plays a woman who is impregnated with the sperm of Satan. I’M NOT JOKING) to I Need To Pay The Rent (the ABC television series, Emily’s Reasons Why Not, which was cancelled directly after the first episode premiered) to I Don’t Really Know What This Movie Is About And It’s Kind Of Pretentious But It Has An Awesome Cast (Boogie Woogie) to I’m Not Even Acting Anymore (Stripper in The Hangover).

    What the f*** happened?!

    Yes, she dumbed it down completely when she did Austin Powers, but that movie grossed OVER 300 million squid. She would (or should?) of had some pulling power following that, some control over the next project to do, what scripts to read, etc. So she goes for a movie with one of the douchebags from American Pie, directed by a complete unknown?! How f***ing high was her agent? More to the point, what the f*** has she been on since 2000?

    Is this just another example of the Twin Peaks curse? Sheryl Lee was last seen as a strungout, hillybilly prostitute in Texas Killing Fields (which is actually a great movie, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t acting), Sherilyn Fenn appeared as a corpse in NCIS and Lara Flynn Boyle had sex with Jack Nicholson.

  19. Assessing Heather Graham: License to Strip:
    http://www.pajiba.com/career_assessments/heather-graham-career-assessment-license-to-strip.php

    Subject: Heather Graham, 41-year old American actress

    Date of Assessment: June 8, 2011

    Positive Buzzwords: Nudity, beauty, sleep

    Negative Buzzwords: Romcom, limited appeal and talent

    The Case: People like to talk about the so-called “downward trajectory” that Heather Graham’s career has supposedly taken. Still, she’s worked steadily since her first movie role in 1988’s License to Drive (the one where both Coreys stuffed her in a car trunk), which she followed up with an acclaimed turn in Drugstore Cowboy and an adorable character, Annie Blackburn, on the second season of “Twin Peaks.” Then, she toiled away in relative obscurity for nearly five years until she stunned audiences (or at least myself) as Jon Favreau’s dance partner in the last act of Swingers and appeared alongside Robert Downey Jr. in Two Girls and a Guy. Then, Heather became the very naked Rollergirl in Boogie Nights, which was a pretty overrated movie but highlighted not only her physical assets but also her ability to play a very damaged character and not just some bobblehead.

    Soon, she was suddenly everywhere at once with a cameo in Scream 2 and several mainstream (financial) hits like Lost in Space, Bowfinger, From Hell, The Guru, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me as the gorgeous Felicity Shagwell. Heather was never a great acting talent, but she had spunk and even convinced Fat Bastard that he was a great lay, which is no small feat. That should count for something, but I’m afraid that it merely qualified her as arm candy instead of as a box office draw in itself.

    Just as suddenly, Heather disappeared from the public consciousness. Nowadays, most of Heather Graham’s oeuvre (and I use that term mostly ironically) is utterly forgettable and not even worth mentioning here. Upon first consideration, I was inclined to give Heather some credit for not going down the romcom heroine path, which certainly must have been an option to her with those big blue eyes and all of that blonde hair (in manner of today’s closest example, Amanda Seyfried). Then I realized the error of my ways because Graham has attempted, at various points, to revive her career in a very inauspicious subgenre of romantic comedy; that is, Graham has subjected herself to repeated instances of the pregnancy-oriented romcom. One of them, Miss Conception, involved Graham affecting a posh English accent while receiving the horrible news that she’s only got one egg left and merely two weeks to find a stud so as not to waste the opportunity. The second one, Baby on Board, featured Graham as a spurned wife who hopes to drive her cheating husband (Jerry O’Connell) out of their home, War of the Roses style. And the third movie, Blessed wasn’t a romcom but attempted to go all Rosemary’s Baby by impregnating her with the seed of Satan himself. These are not only the very sort of roles for which Heather is not believable, but they’re also ridiculous takes on the female sex for which she should be ashamed to participate.

    All of this is really a shame, for Heather has provided (on rare occasions) a few glimpses of real emotion in some respectable indie flicks — Committed, Adrift in Manhattan, and Broken — but these films didn’t get the distribution required to prove to audiences that she’s worth watching. On the small screen, Heather’s had some moderate success as a supporting player in one episode of “Arrested Development” and a recurring stint of “Scrubs.” However, her very brief outing as a television leading lady (in “Emily’s Reasons Why Not”) lasted just one episode before it was yanked for poor ratings.

    Since then, Heather enjoyed a bit of unexpected success by playing the prostitute role in The Hangover movie, but has that caused anyone to watch any of her movies that followed, such as Boogie Woogie, Father of Invention, 5 Days of War, or The Flying Machine? Nope.

    Prognosis: So now Heather Graham turns to children’s movies as “Awesome Aunt Opal” in this weekend’s Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. Yes, the woman who loves to get naked onscreen is now starring in a kid’s movie. While she has six movies in various states of production and one in development, it’s doubtful that any of us will ever have the chance to see them, and once she loses her looks, Heather Graham will be gone forever. On a positive note, that’ll just give her a chance to sleep more.

  20. Heather did good in the overrated Hangover movie. and looks great, what age barrier !?

  21. This new Heather Graham film:
    http://officialfan.proboards.com/thread/476380/new-heather-graham-film

    Heather Graham is the most hit or miss actress ever. She was great in Twin Peaks and Arrested Development and has been in some decent movies, but, my God, does she star in a lot of garbage too.

  22. My 2 cents: Heather G is near the top of my “Whatever became of…” list of actresses. As fine as she was in “Boogie Nights” and “Drugstore Cowboy” she was lousy in the 2ND Austin Powers movie. What happened career-wise? HG grew past the age of 35; Hollywood now has Jessicas Alba and Biel to play the Really Cute 20-something Girl roles (and Megan Fox to play the Hot Gal That Can’t Act roles), and truth be told, she’s appeared in too many movies that either bombed (because they were crap) or nobody saw (because they were crap OR didn’t find an audience, weren’t well-distributed, etc.). Maybe HG can get another shot on TV — either that, or graduate to “mom” roles in direct-to-DVD and made-for-TV movies.

    Hollywood giveth and Hollywood taketh away.

    • I though HG was very good in Austin Powers. Granted the role basically required her to look good and stay out of Mike Myers way.

      I think TV is definitely the answer for her now. She has shown she can do it given the right people behind the scenes. But then, I suppose that’s true for a lot of actresses.

  23. Eillio Martin Imbasciati

    I always thought Heather Graham has a certain self-aware sweetness onscreen that I liked. I don’t know if she can carry a picture, but I feel she has enough of a screen presense to bring something to the table in good films.

    • I felt the same way in Graham’s hey day. I am not sure she has that quality any more unfortunately.

      • Maybe she’s become TOO self-aware? It’s been said that one’s greatest strength can be their biggest weakness. Even if she doesn’t act in crackerjack roles all the time, I do think Heather Graham is smart. But that’s the rub; maybe she ended up outsmarting herself.

        • I hate to play amateur psychologist. But I’m going to do it anyway. ;)

          Graham comes from a strict upbringing. She wasn’t allowed to appear in Heathers because her parents didn’t like the language in the script. Later in her career when she had control, Graham traded in on her sexuality quite a bit and became estranged from her strict parents. Eventually, I think she crossed a point where it was perceived that Graham had little more to offer than her looks. And as she approached middle age, the value of her looks wasn’t what it once was.

          Now don’t get me wrong. Graham is still stunningly beautiful. I get why she was cast in that Lifetime adaptation of Flowers in the Attic for example. But being an incredibly beautiful middle aged woman won’t get you lead roles in movies. Those go to incredibly beautiful 20 year olds for the most part.

          • Not to change the subject or redirect the discussion but I think the bottom paragraph about Heather Graham also holds true for somebody like Kim Basinger. For a 60 year old woman, Kim is still a very beautiful woman. The problem is that for better or worse, she’s also always been preceived as an actress who got as far as she did based primarily on her looks and overall sex appeal and not her actual acting talent. This is not to say that Kim is necessarily, an overall “bad actress”, it’s just that’s the way that it is. Hell, you can make the fair argument that her Oscar winning role in “LA Confidential” was in hindsight, one of those things in which you immediately say to yourself, “Well of course you’re going to ask Kim Basinger to play that type of role”.

          • I remember the 1987 version of “Flowers in the Attic” So Heather Graham is playing the Victoria Tennant role (who was once married to Steve Martin, and he acted alongside Graham in “Bowfinger”)? In retrospect, maybe that film should have been released on television as a minseries (I did like the book though).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,187 other followers

%d bloggers like this: