These days, all people need to do to gain worldwide exposure is to turn on a camera and post a video to YouTube. The website has become a juggernaut in the entertainment industry, giving everyone from casual fans to professionals a voice to be heard. Many people have even turned making YouTube videos into a living and consistently produce content for their subscribers to enjoy. Some users have become recognizable celebrities and have worked their way up in the world, appearing in movies. Whether it’s straight to VOD indies or major blockbusters, Hollywood is calling. Here are 10 famous YouTube stars who have acted in popular movies.
22 Jump Street & Grown Ups 2
YouTube has become a hotbed for comedy sketches, and one of the most popular faces in this realm is Jimmy Tatro. Creator of the channel LifeAccordingToJimmy, Tatro writes, produces, and directs various skits along with a friend. So far, his videos have accumulated 300 million views, and he has 2.5 million subscribers since he launched the channel in 2010. Tatro has parlayed his success into securing roles in some major comedy productions. He had a cameo in 2012’s Grown Ups 2 and played a more substantial role as Rooster in Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 22 Jump Street. He has more movies on the horizon, so his second career could be getting started.
This year’s Nerve is heavily based in YouTube and Perioscope culture, detailing an Internet game where watchers watch players complete increasingly incredulous tasks. So it only makes sense that the producers would be keen on getting a YouTube talent to appear in the film. Casey Neistat had a role as a player/watcher in the movie, marking the next step in his rise to fame. His channel has more than 4 million subscribers as of August 2016 and a number of his videos have gone viral and received acclaim. He recently won GQ’s New Media Star Man of the Year award, another indication that he is here to stay.
Everyone from Oscar winners to rock stars wants in on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the filmmakers are searching far and wide for people to appear in their movies. Being one of the more comedic MCU films to date, Ant-Man wanted to get people with a sense of humor. Enter Anna Akana, a YouTuber whose channel has over 1 million subscribers and more than 100 million video views. One of her specialties is comedy, which came into play in her Ant-Man cameo. She briefly appeared as one of the people lip syncing to one of Luis’ long stories he tells in the film, one of the more entertaining sequences in the movie.
Star Wars: Episode 8
Newcomer Kelly Marie Tran’s filmography is brief, and she’s spent most of her time as an actress appearing in web videos. These include roles in several College Humor original videos, a channel that has more than 11 million subscribers. Tran is making the jump to the major leagues in a daunting way: taking on a supporting role in Rian Johnson’s hotly anticipated Star Wars Episode 8. Lucasfilm is keeping the details about her character under wraps for now, but very soon all eyes will be on Tran to see what she can bring to the table. It’ll be a challenge, but she should be up for it.
Pitch Perfect 2
YouTube can be a great tool for artists looking to gain a wider audience, and many musicians have taken advantage of the service. Chances are, you’ve heard of Flula Borg, aka DJ Flula. He’s regularly active on YouTube, gaining 780,000 subscribers and 86 million total views since he started. Flula is known for a vlogs and an AutoTunes series, where he records cover songs in his car. He’s also recorded an EP and an LP, displaying his many musical talents. Hollywood took notice and when it came time to cast Pitch Perfect 2, Flula found himself as one of the members of “Das Sound Machine,” a rival group of the Bellas.