What's up with the fact that so few active members of the LDS church are successful actors?
The list of less active or former members is pretty extensive: Amy Adams (star of Enchanted and the new Muppets movie, among others), Aaron Eckhart (an RM, and important roles in quite a few movies including Two Face in the last Batman movie), Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy plus a bunch of mediocre movies), Mireille Enos (star of The Killing, a fantastic AMC TV show), and Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and star of The Dollhouse).
There's not a single active LDS actor who can compare with any of the above actors. And I believe the experience of Kirby Heyborne (The Singles Ward, the R.M., The Best Two Years, Saints and Soldiers) is one reason why.
As a struggling actor, Heyborne takes the jobs he can get. He can't afford to be picky. So when Miller Lite offered him a chance to make some money (so he could support his family) by playing a small role in a beer commercial, Heyborne accepted. The reaction in much of the LDS community? Outrage. Even BYU refused to allow Heyborne, a temple recommend holder who, besides being an actor, is also a musician, the chance to play music at BYU because of the commercial.
Meanwhile, I know Mormons who work for casinos (especially in Las Vegas). I know of Mormons who sell alcohol and tobacco (the owners of a chain of grocery stores in small town Idaho, for example). And, most interesting, just a few miles north of Shelley, where I'm currently living, is a Budweiser plant. Shelley is about 15 minutes south of Idaho Falls, and the Budweiser plant is right in between Idaho Falls and Shelley. And Shelley is 82% LDS (I think the actual numbers are probably even higher). So how does this Budweiser plant operate? Who runs it? Who grows the barley that is processed into beer at the plant? That's right. Mormons. Who cares? No one. Mormons are creating the raw ingredients, processing them into beer, and then selling the beer, and yet no one blinks an eye. And yet Heyborne is attacked pretty ferociously for being in a commercial. Like the farmers and factory workers, he's just trying to make a living and support his family. Unlike them, he gets attacked for it.
Back to the subject at hand: why are so many LDS actors inactive? No doubt some of it has to do with the nature of the film industry. But I think the larger problem is this--we as Mormons are too judgmental, too quick to attack LDS actors for acting in what we view as questionable roles. Maybe if we took a different approach we could hold on to actors with LDS backgrounds.