Before They Were Famous

Before They Were Famous
Before they were famous. Oh sure, they’re household names now. But everyone has to pay their dues. Check out the surprising first roles of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Ben Affleck: Before They Were Famous

Long before he was an Oscar winner for this film, a pre-teen Ben starred in the educational series “Voyage of the Mimi” in 1984.

Jennifer Aniston: Before They Were Famous

Before she was a favorite on this TV show or known for her high-profile romance with this A-list star, Jennifer starred in the critical bomb “Leprechaun”. That was two years before she became a household name.

Jennifer Lopez: Before They Were Famous

When she was just Jenny From the Block, before she was an international star, Jennifer made her debut with a small role in “My Little Girl”. She also was a Fly Girl on "In Living Color" with another familiar face.

Tom Cruise: Before They Were Famous

The high-profile star played a small role in 1981’s “Endless Love”, which starred this well-known actress, whom he famously criticized many years later.

Sylvester Stallone: Before They Were Famous

Sly’s first role won’t go down as a cinematic achievement. “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s” was re-released after the actor’s star rose dramatically with this film. Upon re-release, it was called “The Italian Stallion.”

Keira Knightley: Before They Were Famous

Blink and you’ll miss her, or you’ll think she’s Natalie Portman in her non-speaking role in this film. She was hired specifically for her resemblance to Portman. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2005 for this film.

Tom Hanks: Before They Were Famous

Even two-time Oscar winners for Best Actor had to start somewhere. Tom starred on this TV series at the same time the made-for-TV movie “Mazes & Monsters” was released.

Angelina Jolie: Before They Were Famous

Her first role was in a film with her father called “Lookin’ to Get Out” when she was 6 years old, and her first major role came in “Cyborg 2” at age 17.

Naomi Watts: Before They Were Famous

Known for her dramatic roles in acclaimed films like “21 Grams” and “Mulholland Drive,” it’s a surprise that one of her first roles was in this horror flick, based on a book by Stephen King.

Denzel Washington: Before They Were Famous

This Oscar winner started out humbly enough, in a 1977 TV movie called “Wilma”. Just nine years later, he won his first Academy Award for a role in this film.

John Travolta: Before They Were Famous

Before “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease,” Travolta’s movie debut came in the laughably bad “The Devil’s Rain.”. It’s nice to know there’s life after a film where most of the cast is melted by Satan.

Evangeline Lilly: Before They Were Famous

When she was cast as the female lead in this popular TV series, most wondered where she came from. We have the answer. She made her debut in this advertisement. Really.

Hilary Swank: Before They Were Famous

This Oscar winner got her start with a single line of dialogue in the original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” movie. She also put her role on this TV series far, far behind her. 

Brad Pitt: Before They Were Famous

A lot of people consider this film Brad’s big debut. But no, it was the 1989 film “Cutting Class.”. This low-budget slasher flick was the world’s first glimpse of the future Mr. Jolie.

Amy Adams: Before They Were Famous

Surely Hollywood’s most “enchanting” actress (did ya see what we did there? Did ya?), Amy Adams has been playing adorable kooks to great acclaim for a while now, from Sunshine Cleaning’s crime-scene cleaner to the utterly delightful heroine of cartoon/live-action treat Enchanted. You’ll see her soon in the new Muppets movie, but until then we can look back at her early days and marvel at the fact that she appeared in Charmed episode “Murphy’s Luck” (as a young woman cursed with bad luck), Buffy episode “Family” (as Tara’s grumpy cousin) and, most notably, as the Meteor Freak of the Week in an early episode of Smallville.

Andrew Garfield: Before They Were Famous

Okay, so that didn’t happen. But our future Spider-Man – aka Andrew Garfield – also showed his face in “Daleks In Manhattan”, so now we’re gleefully envisioning a universe in which it was the Doctor who accidentally triggered his spider-powers due to his sonic screwdriver leaking spidey particles or something. Just think of the possibilities: Spider-Man versus the Cybermen. Spider-Man versus Davros. The Doctor versus The Green Goblin… Oooh, did  your mouth just start watering? Ours did.

Carey Mulligan: Before They Were Famous

You all know about this one, of course, but we couldn’t not mention dear Ms Mulligan because we love her so much. “Blink”’s Sally Sparrow was one of the most likeable guest-stars ever to show up on the series, old or new, and if Mulligan hadn’t buggered off to Hollywood and found herself nominated for Oscars left, right and bloody centre, we’d like to think that there would have been a spin-off series.

Charlize Theron: Before They Were Famous

It took Charlize Theron a mere eight years to go from her movie debut to Oscar-winning actress, and you can bet your ass that while she was standing on the podium clutching a golden baldie for her moving performance in Monster she wasn’t giving a millisecond’s thought to Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest.

She doesn’t get much to do, to be honest: she listens to a sermon from a shouty preacher who doesn’t even realise that the book of the Bible he’s talking about is “Revelation”, not “Revelations” (bet that faux pas wasn’t in the original Stephen King story), and then she’s killed in a flurry of plant action. Don’t worry, love, you’ll be a serious actress one day.

Cory Monteith: Before They Were Famous

Attention fellow Glee-watchers! (We know you’re out there, stop pretending you don’t watch it just because it contains people singing ’n’ stuff.) Betcha didn’t know that the dorky Finn Hudson is a veritable sci-fi and fantasy veteran, did you?

He’s turned up in a ton of stuff – no singing involved, thankfully – including an intriguing notation on the IMDb as a “Frat Cowboy” in the Smallville episode “Thirst” (our minds, they boggle). Add to that roles in Stargate SG-1 (as the young Cameron in the show’s 200th episode), Stargate Atlantis, Flash Gordon and a starring role in Kyle XY and… well, could he be the new Mark Sheppard, turning up in every show under the sun?
Heath Ledger: Before They Were Famous
Created by American Gothic’s Shaun Cassidy, who should probably have known better, this Hercules and Xena wannabe saw Heath Ledger making the move from life in Home & Away’s Summer Bay to life in Ireland circa 400AD. Ledger played a young prince named Conor, destined to reunite his broken land after invasion by the nasty Romans (what did they ever do for them, eh? Apart from the roads, that is. And the sewage systems. And the… etc).

You’ll no doubt be shocked to hear that the show was pants, and on its original broadcast in 1997 it did so badly in the ratings that not all of its 13 episodes were even aired. However, before he knew it Ledger was starring in the film 10 Things I Hate About You and the rest of his career was history.
Hilary Swank: Before They Were Famous

Long before the Buffster teamed up with fellow losers Willow Rosenberg and Xander Harris – and, in fact, before she was even the Buffy we know and love – she had another Scooby Gang to hang around with. This one was all-female and contained a woman who has gone on to prove that while she may have been a bitchy hanger-on in 1992, she had a bright future ahead of her. Two Oscars later and Hilary Swank is, like, totally awesome!

Ryan Gosling: Before They Were Famous

Today’s he’s the darling of the indie film circuit, delivering frankly astonishing performances in films such as the recent critically acclaimed (and disturbing) Blue Valentine, Lars And The Real Girl and Half-Nelson: a role that saw him nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 2007. Alas, Gosling was beaten by Forest Whitaker’s turn as the crazed Idi Amin in Last King Of Scotland – drug-addled schoolteachers are always trounced by African dictators, or so we hear – but the actor seems to be determined only to take on roles that stretch him, so expect to see him nominated again some day.

This dedication to “serious” acting may have something to do with the fact that Gosling spent from 1998-9 in New Zealand in a pair of leather trousers pretending to be the son of Zeus – surely enough to drive any actor insane. Young Hercules was aimed at younger viewers of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and featured the (rather scrawny, if you ask us) Gosling as a youthful version of Kevin Sorbo’s Herc, do-gooding and saving lives while training in an academy.

Movie stars: Before They Were Famous

Michael Douglas, who is fighting cancer and is expected to recover, is said to have held an unusual position in his school years. 
Jamie Lee Curtis, who stars in a movie about high school frenemies, has said she was not the most popular girl in high school.
Sandra Bullock, an Academy Award winner and new mother, is said to have been a popular class clown in high school and dated a football player.

Politicians and judges: Before They Were Famous

First lady Michelle Obama was salutatorian of her class and attended school with a famous daughter.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg played this instrument and her mother reportedly died the day before her graduation. 
Sen. John McCain was known by an interesting high school nickname and went on to join the Navy.

TV stars: Before They Were Famous

Reality TV star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi battled an eating disorder and reportedly wasn’t nearly as wild as she is today. 
Clip show host and sitcom star Joel McHale quit his college rowing team then bluffed his way into another sport. 
Blair Underwood, star of a sci-fi drama, got some practice for his latest role back in high school.

Musicians: Before They Were Famous

Madonna, who grew up outside Detroit, was a straight-A student and earned a college scholarship. 
Country singer Darius Rucker, former front man for this band, was involved in his church and school choirs. 
Tom DeLonge, guitarist for this rock band, was expelled in high school but later returned and graduated.

TV Journalists: Before They Were Famous

Anderson Cooper, a CNN anchor known by this nickname, spent part of his senior year in Africa before heading off to Yale.  
Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather, who now works for another network, was a member of the Caballeros social club.

“Good Morning America” host and breast cancer survivor Robin Roberts was a popular multi-sport athlete in Mississippi.

Comedians: Before They Were Famous

Banjo-playing funnyman Steve Martin, who recently joined Twitter, spent his teen years doing something completely different. 
Comedian and satellite radio host Rosie O’Donnell was also voted class clown. 
“The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, who recently held a highly anticipated and well-attended rally, has been cracking people up since high school.

Source: msn sfx
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