Katherine Heigl is a well known actress now, but earlier in her career she struggled to find the right films to get involved with. It was really television acting that helped her climb the ranks of popularity, from the sci-fi drama Roswell and then eventually the multiple Emmy award-winning show Grey's Anatomy. It was after gaining a lot of recognition for that show as Izzie Stevens that she got offered a big role in Judd Apatow's new film Knocked Up, and her career just took off from there. Although her newest movie has not been doing exceptionally well, Heigl is still in the spotlight. She is the subject of some controversy due to her outspoken comments about the work she does, including the most recent one involving her leaving the set of Grey's Anatomy to spend more time with her growing family. Let's take a look at Heigl's film career and see the ups and downs she's gone through.
This is the movie that put Heigl on the map as far as super stardom, and it just so happens she found herself in a popular niche at the time. Everyone wanted to see more of Judd Apatow, and Seth Rogen was gaining popularity as the every man comedian right around then. So Heigl hitched her ride to a film that was pretty much guaranteed to do well. She plays the uptight and career-focused Alison who accidentally gets pregnant after a one night stand with a childish immature guy. He's not really father material, or boyfriend material, but she decides to give him a shot and the film shows how things go when this odd couple attempts to co-exist. The movie was smart, funny, topical, and had great success in Hollywood, both with audiences and critics. There was a little controversy stirred up with Heigl apparently made comments about the film being sexist, but it didn't lower the popularity of the movie or the fact she was starting to be a blockbuster star.
Next up she had 27 Dresses, which was the test to see if Heigl could still get a big audience without the help of Rogen or Apatow. Clearly, she proved just that. The movie made over five times its original budget with her as the headliner. Heigl plays Jane, a woman who is literally the always a bridesmaid, never a bride sort. She's in love with her boss but her sister swoops him up right under her nose, and she has a strange love/hate relationship with wedding columnist Kevin (James Marsden). While this was not as critically acclaimed as her first big film, it did well in the box office and got lukewarm reviews. It's a cute film, not a game changer or particularly brilliant, but a solid romantic comedy.
Ahhh the controversial The Ugly Truth. This movie was a gigantic success in terms of money, but the critics despised it. Heigl plays the TV producer Abby who is career focused and not great at dating. Anyone sensing a trend here? Anyway she is serious about the news, but her station hires a ratings-grabber sexist man named Mike (Gerard Butler) to get attention. He agrees to help her catch a guy she likes in return for her supporting him on the show. Of course they fall in love blah blah blah, problems, then eventually they get together, everyone knows how it goes. Yes it's typical, but once again Heigl's a crowd pleaser and even if she isn't exactly stretching her wings, she is a success for the studio.
Did you know that one of Heigl's earlier movies was this Child's Play sequel? Probably not! She was still fairly young when this was filmed and the movie was a fair success for the campy horror series. She plays Jade the rebel who runs away with her boyfriend and the animated Chucky doll helps them do so, intending to take the human bodies over with his new doll girlfriend. Yes, this is exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. It's a silly movie with a silly premise, but it is worth a few random laughs, but it didn't exactly require Heigl to act or do anything in particular. Maybe scream a few times. All actors have to start out somewhere.
It took The Ringer seven years to be made because of how it handled the Special Olympics. It's produced by the Farrelly brothers, and they do enjoy pushing buttons. It's about a guy who pretends to be mentally handicapped to enter the Special Olympics and win money for his debt-ridden uncle and friend who lost his fingers. It's easy to see why this movie didn't do that well, right? Heigl plays the love interest who is a volunteer for the competition and seems to forgive him for his transgressions since he did it for selfless reasons. Okay. You know, enough said.
Heigl was only in this briefly, but it's one of the lowest rated movies she was ever in. It's about a killer who was rebuffed by girls in high school and then brutally beaten when one of them accused him of (wrongly) attacking her. So he comes back years later and kills all of them. She's the first one to die, but really she should be thankful that Grey's Anatomy was on the horizon, otherwise she'd be doing movies like this forever.