9 Actors Who've Threatened to Quit Acting

angelina-jolie-vanity-fair-cover-august-2010-bangs-cleavage-240sc062810.jpgAngelina Jolie's reported decision to quit acting has dominated headlines this week, but please forgive me for taking it with a grain of salt. The superstar is only the latest actor to claim that retirement is imminent, though if her forebears are any indication, that plan will surely be shredded soon. Here are nine actors who've famously threatened to leave Hollywood (and then, in most cases, didn't):

Angelina Jolie

"[My career is] not the most important thing in my life," Jolie tells Vanity Fair this month. "Acting helped me as I was growing up. It helped me learn about myself, helped me travel, helped me understand life, express myself, all those wonderful things. So I'm very, very grateful, it's a fun job. It's a luxury. Look, I'm at work today in the middle of Venice. But I don't think I'll do it much longer."

VERDICT: She's got at least a few more years to reverse that opinion, as Jolie's already attached to a Kay Scarpetta franchise, the Tim Burton-helmed Maleficent, and a new Cleopatra film, among others.

Joaquin Phoenix

"I want to take this opportunity... also to give you the exclusive and just talk a little bit about the fact that this will be my last performance as an actor," Phoenix told Extra in October 2008. "I'm not doing films anymore....I'm working on my music. I'm done. I've been through that."

VERDICT: Though Phoenix hasn't booked a film since, his decision to quit acting for music is commonly assumed to be a ruse for the upcoming, Casey Affleck-directed mockumentary on Phoenix's rap career. After that gets a small release, most expect Phoenix to come back into the fold.

Evangeline Lilly

"Acting is something I appreciate, and I think it's been an amazing experience," Lilly told E! in February, as Lost geared up for its final run of episodes. "But I'm not passionate about acting the way you probably should be to call yourself an actor...I want to have some quiet space. [I want to] drop off the radar a little bit and enjoy a little bit of normalcy again."

VERDICT: Lilly didn't even wait until the Lost finale had aired to immediately go back on her word -- she booked the female lead in the Hugh Jackman movie Real Steel last month.

Alec Baldwin

"I'm done in 2012," Baldwin told Playboy last June. "In March 2012 I'll wake up and say, 'What am I going to do now? Am I done?' I think I will be done. I may finish a play or something, but I'm retiring at the [30 Rock] wrap party."

VERDICT: It remains to be seen if Baldwin's 2012 proclamation will come true (or whether the Mayans' will, rendering his rather moot).

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  • NP says:

    Looking forward to _Rabbit Hole_, but mostly because of John Cameron Mitchell's involvement. I feel like Kidman won her Oscar for _The Hours_ and then made bad decision after bad decision.
    Viggo + Cronenberg... ah, it's like Leo + Scorsese, only better. Viggo can't say no to him.

  • Kyle Buchanan says:

    + Michael Fassbender! It gets even better.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Several of these people gave up acting years ago.

  • TurdBlossom says:

    And yet Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson continue to film rom-com after rom-com, essentially playing the same character over and over.

  • stolidog says:

    I was going to add that you forgot David Schwimmer, but then I realized this was a list of people that voluntarily gave up acting.

  • Sean says:

    I also remember Sir Anthony Hopkins and Liam Neeson years ago saying they won't make another movie

  • Rafaela says:

    This list is hilarious! Ditto for the comments :D
    And I agree, after winning her Oscar for the Hours, Nicole made so many bad choices she should have retired in 2004 or something, so she would be remembered as a good actress... I just hope she doesn't ruins John Cameton Mitchell's new film.

  • JoeChief says:

    She's not gonna quit. No one in hollywood ever truly quits acting. Keira Knightley said that back in 08 and she's got a few projects already lined up. Gweneth Paltrow said she was done after Apple was born. And she's been in both Iron Man Movies. Angelia Jolie even said it a while back. And now she has 7 projects lined up for her.
    She won't quit or retire anytime soon. No one in hollywood ever really quits. She might take some time off but quit? I doubt it. This is just another publicity stunt for people to watch her movie.

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