With superhero frenzy taking up everyone’s minds in the last decade or so, people forget that the actors we’ve seen in these movies had many films they were in before being cast in their most popular roles. As most of the Avengers cast is over 35, there are several movies these actors were in you probably are too young to know about.
It’s always worth checking these unknown films about though, as they showcase the real talent these actors have. It’ll also broaden your horizons in film-viewing, and you’ll see there’s a whole world of stories that’s separate from the superhero genre. Here are 10 films starring the Avengers cast you probably didn’t know about.
10 Robert Downey Jr - Two Girls And A Guy (1997)
Robert’s always been a suave and cool guy, and this film gave us an extreme example of the type of characters he usually plays. The film is shot in real-time, with the length of the movie being about the same as it is onscreen.
It's also a very simple premise; two girls are furious with a guy who has been involved with them at the same time. There’s nothing in the movie other than three people talking and arguing, although it is a pretty funny offering. The only drawback is that it’s raunchier than it should’ve been.
9 Scarlett Johansson - We Bought A Zoo (2011)
Now that they’re more popular for their iconic characters, you can consider this as Jason Bourne romancing Black Widow. Jokes aside, We Bought a Zoo is a family film that shows a widower purchasing a zoo on a whim, with Scarlett’s character playing a zookeeper.
She has a supporting role here, but steals every scene she’s in. The movie also has a pretty heartfelt message about being with family when they need you the most, and it’s a great watch in its own right. Since it was released at a time when franchise films were really picking up steam, We Bought a Zoo gets lost in the mix.
8 Paul Rudd - I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)
Even Michelle Pfieffer was in the latest Avengers film, but since she wasn’t an actual Avenger, we’ll be considering this as Paul Rudd’s pick. I Could Never Be Your Woman is a romantic comedy with a predictable premise where a 40-year-old woman falls in love with a 29-year-old man.
First of all, you’ll laugh at the insinuation Paul is supposed to be in his 20s (the actor was pushing 40 at the time in real life), and then laugh harder at a young Saoirse Ronan playing Pfieffer’s daughter, amid other antics she’s up to. It’s a nice watch where the rom-com tropes are hammed enough to make it a partial parody.
7 Karen Gillan - Oculus (2013)
At a time when only Doctor Who fans knew who Karen Gillan was, the actress was featured in this horror movie that was surprisingly not that bad. It gets really ridiculous by the climax, but Oculus manages to hold your interest for almost all its runtime.
The premise involves a couple siblings who are out to get revenge on a mirror they’re convinced took the lives of their parents. The scares are definitely there, along with some introspection, although the ending was a bit too over-the-top. A year after this film, Guardians of the Galaxy made Karen a worldwide star.
6 Chris Hemsworth - The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
While the film was being made, Chris was only a 26-year-old up and comer, making him one of the casualties in this horror movie. The Cabin in the Woods has since wracked up a cult status, and Chris’ A-List position these days has garnered it a little more praise.
As far as his role is considered, though, Chris doesn’t do much other than be a muscle head; his character dies in one of the most ridiculous ways imaginable, too. Its supposed to be a horror movie, but the presence of several jokes makes it one you can’t help but find yourself laugh.
5 Bradley Cooper - The Place Beyond The Pines (2012)
This is a pretty great film that never got the audience it deserved. Featuring a very talented cast, The Place Beyond the Pines was one of the first films released since Bradley Cooper tasted mainstream success after The Hangover.
It’s a rather harrowing story, too, with the supposedly main character of a criminal meeting his death halfway through at the hands of Bradley Cooper’s character, and the rest of the movie unfurling the consequences of these actions. As the premise was so heavy-handed, not many people remember this movie having been released, but you’ll be doing yourself a favor by checking it out.
4 Elizabeth Olsen - Liberal Arts (2012)
Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother romances Scarlet Witch from the MCU in this comedy-drama that is surprisingly effective. It has a rather raunchy premise of a 35-year-old man being in a relationship with a 19-year-old girl, but there’s nothing provocative about the message behind it.
It’s a telling story about issues with age and maturity, with Elizabeth putting on a highly commendable performance of a modern teenager who just can’t wait to grow up. The Avengers films don’t showcase the actress’s acting ability as much, making Liberal Arts one that you should check out to affirm Elizabeth’s talent.
3 Jeremy Renner - The Immigrant (2013)
We agree with what you’re thinking: that really does look like some kind of grease on Jeremy’s face that he hasn’t wiped off; but it actually is supposed to be a mustache to go with the period setting. Not many people are aware of this relatively recent film even hitting screens, also featuring Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix.
The Immigrant is a thriller romance, where two men become infatuated with an immigrant woman, and the resulting conflict that has bloody consequences. It’s not really all that great, but it is interesting to see this intriguing trio of actors share scenes together.
2 Mark Ruffalo - Just Like Heaven (2005)
Women from the current generation like to call Mark Ruffalo a Chocolate hero, owing to his delicate disposition, and you’ll be glad to know he was a romance actor in his younger days. One of the many romance movies he made was Just Like Heaven.
The plot follows a woman in a coma, whose spirit can only be seen by Mark Ruffalo’s character. It all ties up well in the end as you’d expect from a film from this genre, and girls will be swooning at Mark’s charm for sure. It tends to get lost among the dozens of romance films both Reese Witherspoon and Ruffalo have made in their careers, though.
1 Chris Evans - Before We Go (2014)
It’s a real shame this movie didn’t get the proper recognition it deserves, as Before We Go is a touching romance film that generally defies all the tropes from the genre. To top it off, the movie was the work of Chris himself, who directed the feature.
In a similar take on the Before Sunrise films, this one sees two strangers strike up a friendship late at night in the city, and the number of revelations they figure out about each other along the way. You’ll no doubt be entertained by Chris’ boyish charm in this sedate and thoughtful film, and the hope is he comes out with a similar movie in the coming years.