Jeff Labrecque
June 12, 2009 AT 07:40 PM EDT

Remember when Mickey Rourke accepted his Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor and he went out of his way to pimp his pal Eric Roberts? (“Eric is probably the best actor I ever worked with…He deserves a second chance.”) Well, at least Starz was listening. As Ausiello reported yesterday, Julia’s big bro has landed a regular spot on the second season of Crash, playing a billionaire intent on bringing a professional football team to Los Angeles. 

Roberts is an Academy Award-nominated actor (for 1985’s Runaway Train), but his resume since then is a study in mediocrity. His small role as a crime boss in last year’s Dark Knight was a step up, but it doesn’t completely erase his reputation as a straight-to-DVD staple. When I think of Eric Roberts, I stumble over his ham-and cheese portrayal of a Cuban-American crime boss in 1994’s The Specialist, opposite Sharon Stone and Sylvester Stallone. That he’s the worst thing in that atrocious film is actually an achievement.

So maybe this is a smart move for the actor. Crash isn’t a hit, but the show will give Roberts space to develop a character beyond the cliched hood he’s typically handed. His smirks and mumblings will wear thin after the first episode, so he’s going to have to dig deeper. If he does, maybe there’s hope for Eric Roberts after all. And if there’s hope for Eric Roberts, can Andrew Stevens be far behind?

Does Eric Roberts even register on your radar, PopWatchers? Does his involvement make you more likely to tune in to Crash this September? And what other actors, besides the immortal Andrew Stevens, deserve a shot at Hollywood redemption?

addCredit(“Chris Hatcher/PR Photos”)

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