After being memorably attacked on-screen by a pack of carnivorous, pint-sized dinos in Jurassic Park II: The Lost World, Camilla Belle seemed bound for big things in Hollywood. She was beautiful, talented, and on the radar of some of the industry’s most important directors — and this should’ve been her moment! But instead of getting a permanent place on the A-list, Belle all but disappeared. Why isn’t she getting roles anymore? We’ve got a few theories. Not a household name Although Camilla Belle has enjoyed enough screen roles to earn her some name recognition, she’s never sought out the spotlight like some of her thirstier peers. In a 2016 interview, she revealed that she never, ever dates her co-stars, saying, “It’s so easy – you can be in a really romantic place and maybe your co-star happens to be good looking and you have chemistry and you’re staying at the same hotel and go out to dinner. I avoid it. I do my work and leave.”
Maybe her distaste for having her private life make headlines comes from her experience in 2009. When she dated Joe Jonas right after his breakup with Taylor Swift, the pop starlet made no secret about her disdain for the actress. In Swift’s breakup anthem “Better than Revenge,” she included the lyrics, “She’s an actress, she’s better known for the things that she does on the mattress.” Belle has only ever responded obliquely to Swift’s nastiness, but the experience of being smeared in song may well have given her second thoughts about pursuing the spotlight for its own sake. That might be a wise choice for her sanity and all, but it does make it that much easier for the public to forget about her. Upstaged Starring opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in The Ballad of Jack and Rose was quite a learning experience for Belle, who explained how working alongside the decorated method actor informed her own performance.
She said, “By watching him and his preparation, I kind of got into that world as well, trying to be the character instead of just acting like her.” But in addition to honing her craft, Belle seems to have picked up a habit of taking a backseat to her colleagues, which has led to her being eclipsed and under-appreciated in many of her projects since. With the exception of When a Stranger Calls — a movie she anchored totally by herself — she almost never gets top billing or prominent placement on posters, despite having a perfect Hollywood look. Tanking out Back in 2008, Camilla Belle was on a clear trajectory toward stardom. She’d won accolades for her performance in The Ballad of Jack and Rose, and she’d been tapped to star in Roland Emmerich’s epic, prehistoric disaster flick 10,000 BC, a role which seemed to have the potential to catapult her from the category of “working actress” to “super celeb.” The only problem? 10,000 BC failed to earn back its budget at the U.S. box office, and critics savaged the movie. “Noooo!” After 10,000 BC, Belle needed to pivot — and Push, a sci-fi thriller, could’ve opened doors for her. But while the movie made decent money at the box office, it didn’t earn positive attention from critics who felt it was more style than substance — and its frenetic pace didn’t leave much opportunity for any of its stars to stand out. Since then, Belle has appeared in at least one feature film per year — but they’ve all been kind of inaccessible to audiences. Indie darling Pretty much all Belle’s post-Push projects have flown under the radar, showing in other countries or on the festival circuit but never getting a wide U.S. release.
Even as Belle turns in quality performances opposite talented actors in movies like The American Side, she’s not getting the kind of public attention that might generate opportunities for more and bigger roles down the line. In fact, she’s worked almost exclusively on smaller projects for the past seven years. The choice to go all indie, all the time, is likely leaving her out of the pool of celebs who get offered parts rather than having to audition for them — and out of the studio system that often facilitates the casting of huge Hollywood projects. “You don’t know me.” A turnaround? Belle might be down, but she’s definitely not out. She’s still one good role away from recapturing her place in the public’s interest. Her indie cred could easily lend itself to one of the many prestige small screen dramas captivating at-home audiences right about now.
And even if she sticks to those low-key film projects she seems to love, there’s still a chance that one of them could wind up hitting the mainstream and reminding everyone what they’ve been missing from Belle all this time. Her project The Mad Whale, in which she plays an asylum inmate opposite James Franco, sounds particularly intriguing — so don’t count her out just yet.