What the Hell Happened to Katherine Heigl?
Katherine Heigl first came onto the scene with the cult TV series Roswell. She would go on to greater TV success with Grey’s Anatomy, which would win her an Emmy Award. From there, Heigl capitalized on that success with success in a trilogy of romantic comedies. In recent years, though, she became known as a cautionary tale about the dangers of biting the hand that feeds you. As a result, her most recent appearance was a commercial for NyQuil.
What the hell happened?
Future vampire slayer, Eliza Dushku starred in her film debut. She played a young girl who idolized a neighboring teen played by Juliette Lewis. The two girls become friends when Lewis’ character begins dating a hoodlum played by C. Thomas Howell. Heigl played one of Dushku’s friends.
Reviews leaned towards positive. But the modest movie didn’t make an impact with audiences.
In 1993, Heigl appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s Depression-era drama King of the Hill.
Jesse Bradford starred as a boy struggling to survive on his own in a St. Louis apartment. His mother has been committed to a sanitarium and his father is a traveling salesman. Heigl played a pretty blonde girl who asks the down-on-his luck boy if he would like to dance. Karen Allen, Spalding Grey, Elizabeth McGovern and Adrien Brody also appear in supporting roles.
At the time, Soderbergh wasn’t yet one of America’s most cherished directors. He had turned heads with his directorial debut, Sex, Lies and Videotape. But his follow-up film, Kafka, had a lot of people thinking Soderbergh was a one-hit wonder. King of the Hill represented a come-back for Soderbergh. It didn’t have the same impact as Sex, Lies and Videotape. But it was nominated for the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 1994, Heigl landed her first leading role in the cringe-inducing comedy, My Father the Hero.
Gérard Depardieu starred as a single dad who takes his daughter to the Bahamas on vacation. Heigl played the daughter who tries to impress a boy with a series of bizarre stories. Depardieu is so desperate to make his daughter happy that he plays along with her lies even when she claims that he is her lover. Wait! What? Who would be impressed by that?
My Father the Hero was an American remake of the French farce, Mon père, ce héros which also starred Depardieu. In the 90’s Disney had a strange fascination with remaking French farces. I’m chalking that up to the success of Three Men and a Baby. They also had an inexplicable devotion to the notion that Depardieu could somehow be made into an American movie star. I don’t know what they thought Americans would find more appealing; the broken English, the big nose or the middle-aged paunch.
Reviews were dreadful and the movie flopped at the box office. It opened at #4 behind Philapelphia which was in its seventh week of release and Mrs. Doubtfire which had been in theaters for 11 weeks.
On the upside, Heigl was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance by a Youth Actress Starring in a Motion Picture. Unfortunately, she lost to Anna Chlumsky for My Girl 2.
Heigl has expressed one lingering regret about having starred in the Disney comedy about a teenage girl who lies about bedding her overweight French papa. It’s this:
Heigl had claimed to be “mortified” about the white thong swimsuit. She has said that if she knew then what she knows now, she would have refused to wear it. Heigl beat out a young Alicia Silverstone for the part. But after seeing the movie, Silverstone said she was glad she wasn’t cast:
On My Father, The Hero, I didn’t get it because I was a little bit heavy compared with the girl who did get it, but that was a blessing because the girl runs around in a bathing suit throughout the whole thing. It was the worst movie I’ve ever seen. And the girl was really bad.
Posted on April 12, 2014, in What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged 27 Dresses, Bride of Chucky, Grey's Anatomy, Judd Apatow, Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up, roswell, the ugly truth. Bookmark the permalink. 208 Comments.