The Fast Rise And Staggering Fall Of Jonathan Majors

Just four years after his breakthrough in an indie film, he seemed poised for A-list success. However, a criminal conviction quickly put his leading-man status in jeopardy.

Creating a new movie star isn’t easy nowadays, and that’s why Hollywood was really excited about Jonathan Majors. At 34, he’s smart, charming, and has the strong physique of an action hero. He went from doing well in indie films to being in big blockbuster movies. This was supposed to be the year that made him a top-tier star, helped by the big releases of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Creed III,” along with his role in the Oscar-worthy drama “Magazine Dreams.”

However, things took a drastic turn for Jonathan Majors. In March, he was accused of assaulting his then-girlfriend, Grace Jabbari. On Monday, he was found guilty of reckless assault and harassment. The sentencing is set for February 6th. It’s worth noting that he was cleared of two additional charges related to acting with intent.

Right after the court decision, Marvel Studios declared they wouldn’t be working with Jonathan Majors anymore. He was supposed to play the supervillain Kang and appear in several upcoming big-budget “Avengers” movies. This confirms that Hollywood doesn’t want to associate with him anymore. “Magazine Dreams,” a movie where Majors played a muscle-bound character, was also taken off the release schedule by Searchlight Pictures. Even though the film was expected to be considered for an Oscar after a strong showing at the Sundance Film Festival in January, it seems Majors’ situation has changed his standing in the industry.

Not many actors had their path to superstardom laid out as clearly as Jonathan Majors. His rise and fall happened remarkably fast. Majors made a big splash shortly after finishing drama school at Yale. His breakthrough came in “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (2019), where he played a sensitive playwright dealing with the challenges of creating art in a city undergoing gentrification. The Times critic Manohla Dargis called him a “mournful heartbreaker” in her review, and that praise quickly put him on the radar of casting directors. Majors became a fresh face in the acting scene, known for his unique and captivating performances, with the potential for leading roles in his future.

The following year, Jonathan Majors took on more high-profile projects. He starred in the HBO supernatural drama “Lovecraft Country,” which not only earned him acclaim but also an Emmy nomination. He also joined the ensemble cast of Spike Lee’s film “Da 5 Bloods.” In October 2020, Marvel Studios cast him as Kang, a multiversal threat, setting him up to create chaos in “Ant-Man” and the Disney+ series “Loki” before facing off against every superhero in two major films, “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” (scheduled for 2026) and “Avengers: Secret Wars” (set for 2027).

With such a strong endorsement, Jonathan Majors seemed destined for a secure future. It appeared he would be at the forefront of Hollywood’s major comic-book blockbusters for several years, all while solidifying his reputation as a serious actor in movies like the western “The Harder They Fall” (2021) and the war drama “Devotion” (2022). While he hadn’t become a household name yet, Majors had gained so much momentum that his involvement alone could greenlight a movie. He got attached to significant projects such as “48 Hours in Vegas,” a Lionsgate comedy centered around basketball player Dennis Rodman, and Amazon’s “Da Understudy,” where he was set to collaborate again with his “Da 5 Bloods” director, Spike Lee.

Other actors were excited to see Jonathan Majors join the A-list. In March, when I talked to Michael B. Jordan, the director and star of “Creed III,” he mentioned that Majors’s rise to the top was “only a matter of time.” During that interview, Majors arrived a bit late, playing Kanye West’s “Real Friends” on a portable speaker. He confidently predicted that “Creed III” would be just the beginning of many collaborations with Jordan, aiming for a partnership akin to De Niro and Pacino.

Unfortunately, those aspirations are now shattered. While Majors might still find roles in independent films, as some actors with complicated histories have done, the big studios that were once eager to work with him are now likely to seek talent elsewhere.

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