Every year, more and more young actors and actresses make their mark on Hollywood – but a rising star can always be pushed aside by an established Hollywood legend. Whether Oscar winning, Oscar nominated, or just a fan favourite, every actor needs to get their start somewhere – and even the greatest thespians only get to claim one first role. Some are funny, some are fascinating, but almost all of them are hard to believe.
Here is our list of 10 Famous Actors’ Debuts You’ve Never Seen.
The 1987 movie No Man’s Land took a thrilling look at the underworld of luxury car theft in California, but it’s just as well-known for featuring Brad Pitt in one of his very first appearances in front of a movie camera – even though audiences weren’t supposed to notice him. When the film’s stars – Charlie Sheen and D.B. Sweeney – attend a swanky party, the unmistakable star appears as a waiter in two shots – unmistakable, thanks to the incredible mullet that steals the scene
In the 1970s, no TV stars were more well-known than the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. But when the two were reunited for the TV movie The Return of the Six-Million-Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman, it was another actor who took the spotlight. Twenty years before Breaking Bad made him a household name, Bryan Cranston appeared as “Dr. Sheppard,” adding a high-profile credit to an early list of small TV roles including Airwolf, CHiPs and Hill Street Blues.
A role on the TV show Bosom Buddies was the first big break for Tom Hanks, but his first acting credit came in the slasher movie He Knows You’re Alone. Delivering a self-aware speech about society’s obsession with scary movies and rollercoasters. Since the movie was released not long after the original Halloween became a hit, even this brief insight into the horror movie genre was years ahead of its time.
He may be seen as one of the sexiest men alive, and an award winning actor and director, but George Clooney came from humble beginnings. His role in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is memorable enough, but Clooney’s first film to hit theatres was another B-movie: Return to Horror High. It wasn’t too hard to play an actor in a recreation of a high school killing spree, but the future superstar only received an off-screen death. They clearly didn’t know what they had…
Robert De Niro
Most movie fans would think that the Raging Bull‘s first film role would be one to remember. But in reality, it was never even meant to be seen. A single scene from the French film Three Rooms in Manhattan takes place in a crowded New York diner. Viewers are meant to watch the two stars, but it’s hard to miss the now famous face of De Niro in the background, playing a diner patron in an uncredited role.
These days, Al Pacino is known for playing eccentric figures, in too many award-winning roles to count. But three years before starring as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Pacino made a small, but just as memorable appearance in Me, Natalie. Playing a sleazy club patron who forces the movie’s star into a dance with purely Shakespearean words (“You got a nice body, you know dat?”). Who would have guessed his youngest role would have so much in common with his older ones…?
Before this Walking Dead Star became famous as ‘Officer Rick Grimes,’ he was busy making movies in his native England. Fans would have a hard time recognizing the grizzled actor as the fresh-faced twenty-two year old in Boston Kickout playing the troublemaking best friend of the movie’s hero. Boys will be boys, but crashing into a store’s window for fun isn’t something that his later, law-abiding hero would approve of.
The long blockbuster career of Tom Cruise isn’t filled with too many supporting roles, since he gained the spotlight the second he arrived in Hollywood. But his very first role isn’t one even his die-hard fans are likely to remember. In the tense teen romance Endless Love, Cruise appears as ‘Billy,’ the hero’s friend – and former attempted arsonist – who gives him some truly bad advice. Still, his short scene was all casting agents needed to make him a megastar.
With roles in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Inception, as a Batman villain and even Mad Max himself, Tom Hardy has taken Hollywood by storm. But audiences probably saw him in action long before they realized him as a star in the making. Hardy started his career by jumping into the deep end, playing the hard-of-hearing Twombly, a Delta Force soldier in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down. He turned in a strong performance, but mass audiences wouldn’t be able to put his face to a name for a few years – and a few dozens of pounds – later.
Today, there are just as many people who know Michael Fassbender as the X-Men villain Magneto as a serious, award winning dramatic actor. But the Irish-German actor got his start working with some of Hollywood’s biggest talents in the HBO series Band of Brothers. These days Fassbender’s face can sell movie tickets all by itself. But no war buff would have known at the time that ‘Sargent Pat Christenson’ would become even more well known than most of his castmates.
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