Ryan Phillippe Explains Why He Can't Make The Movies He Used To Anymore

In the last five years, Ryan Phillippe's acting work has mostly been for the small screen. One could say his transition across mediums started in 2012 with his recurring role on FX's Damages, but since 2015 he's primarily been leading shows like Secrets And Lies, Shooter, and Big Sky. It's been a deviation from the era of his career that saw him star in films like Cruel Intentions, Gosford Park, and Igby Goes Down, but he has a pretty solid explanation for why that is: those kinds of movies aren't being made much anymore.

Currently promoting the aforementioned series Big Sky, which is currently airing its first season on ABC, Ryan Phillippe was recently interviewed by The Independent and during the conversation opened up about his current preference for television over film. Basically, the movies that he enjoys making are those that are bigger than microbudget titles and smaller than blockbusters, but the opportunities to make those kinds of projects aren't exactly plentiful. Said Phillippe,

The types of movies I made early in my career are virtually gone. I tended to exist in that $25m to $45m budget range. The way the film industry has [shifted], there’s just not as many movies being made outside of the tent-poles or the big action movies and Marvel and all of that... (Television) seems to be where the most interesting and layered stories are these days. It was certainly not that way when I began my career.

To bolster Ryan Phillippe's point, mid-budget movies obviously do still exist to some degree, but there are far fewer of them being produced within the studio system these days compared to 25 years ago – and that means that competition for roles in those projects is fierce. Given the ways that people take in entertainment these days, the major focus is on either big blockbusters that have the potential to earn a billion dollars worldwide, or films that can be made for under $10 million and potentially become breakout hits.

Television, particularly thanks to the rise of streaming services, has become a wholly different arena. The stories that were once made as those $25-$45 million movies are now being expanded and further explored as shows. It's certainly a volatile world, as, for example, very few Netflix series make it past a few seasons, but there is an extreme hunger for content from audiences, and it creates a lot of opportunities for actors like Ryan Phillippe.

Of course, Phillippe hasn't totally disappeared from features, and he currently has two upcoming titles that have completed production. One is the fantasy comedy Lady of The Manor, directed by Christian Long and Justin Long; and the other is Matthew Gentile's thriller American Murderer, which will tell the true story of con artist Jason Derek Brown, who is presently on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List (Phillippe plays Special Agent Lance Leising). Neither movie currently has a release date, but those looking to watch the actor do his thing can catch new episodes of Big Sky on ABC.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.