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10 Actors Whose Careers Started In Shocking Ways

If you wanna make it in Hollywood, it’s all about who you know. There are always new contacts to be made and networking to be done. Occasionally, the planets align and someone has the good fortune to be born into showbiz. But the majority of people you see onscreen had to hustle pretty hard to get where they are, and make ends meet along the way.

But hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere, even the famous people. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Actors Whose Careers Started In Shocking Ways.

Chris Evans
Everybody loves Chris Evans. Wether it’s an occasional appearance in a rom-com, or reprising his role as Captain America, it seems like audiences are willing to follow the actor to the ends of the earth. But despite his popularity, many fans are surprised to discover one key element in his origin story: modelling. His work can be found in an unlikely place, too. On the cover of the 1999 re-issue of the board game Mystery Date. Originally released by Milton Bradley in 1965, the focus of the game is to have the perfect date with the perfect guy. Fans will recognize one of the game’s eligible bachelors, ‘Tyler’, as portrayed by the Star-Spangled Avenger.

Paul Rudd
Between guest appearances on Parks & Recreation, starring in Netflix’s revival of Wet Hot American Summer, and his recent turn as Marvel’s Ant Man, it seems like Paul Rudd is everywhere. He can make audiences bust a gut with laughter and cringe with awkwardness, all while making us fall in love with him. As it turns out, the actor has always been pretty versatile, both on and off the big screen. Before he made his Hollywood debut, Rudd had a handful of odd jobs, including one as a Bar-Mitzvah DJ. The actor would spin tunes for parties that were sometimes as elaborate as weddings, so it’s no surprise that he can work a crowd. And given how naturally lovable he is, we’re betting he was pretty good at it, too.

Channing Tatum
The revelation that Channing Tatum used to be an exotic dancer is will not surprise anyone who’s seen the Magic Mike movies. His skills on the stage sparked a lot of discussion about the actors’ beginnings in the entertainment business. But what a lot of people don’t know is that he also danced for Ricky Martin. The 2000 music video for Martin’s “She Bangs” features a lot of dancers, but only one of them would grow up to be Magic Mike. Past all the rump-shaking, and oddly-placed mer-people, is a young Tatum dancing his heart out. And while Ricky Martin has since faded into obscurity, this video proved to be a valuable stepping stone for the actor. And also as a cautionary tale about following strange women into the ocean.

Helen Mirren
Not only has Helen Mirren achieved Dame status, she’s also an actress who surprises audiences with the roles she picks. Wether it’s transforming herself to play the titular role in films like The Queen, or being a straight-up badass secret agent in RED, Mirren is a versatile artist. Having a song interest in acting all her life, she’s been working since the sixties. And one of her early films had her showing a lot of skin. Cast as Caesonia in 1979’s Caligula, Mirren worked alongside Malcolm McDowell and Peter O’Toole in telling the story of the Roman Caesar. And given that Caligula was a notoriously “passionate” ruler, we’ll let your imaginations do the rest. The actress has joked about her time on set, saying that given how naked everyone else was, it would be weird if she wasn’t. And that the whole thing was a great experience.

Robert Downey Jr.
Iron Man has gone from a niche-favorite to a household name thanks, in part, to the talents of Robert Downey Jr. His fast-talkin’ take on billionaire Tony Stark not only did wonders for the character, but also for the actor. Who has reprised his role seven times already. And with the rapidly expanding Marvel universe, there’s no end in sight. Raised by creative parents in New York, the actor has been honing his craft since childhood. But a move to L.A. with his dad reinforced his passion. Growing up with a drug-addicted father exposed the actor to the culture of narcotics. And had an influence on his own struggles with substance abuse. Struggles which, thankfully, Downey Jr. has since overcome.