In Hollywood, everybody is used to seeing the big names; Brad Pitt, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt. However, it’s easy for us to forget that these talented actors and actresses just didn’t happen to fall in Hollywood one day. The amount of money that they make is the light at the end of a very long tunnel for most celebrities.
Most of today’s Hollywood talent has a very reputable A-list, which is why we’re able to get the great movies that we do today. Over the course of time, it’s interesting to see how the catalog of celebrities changes. At one time Angelina Jolie was one of the most coveted actresses to work with, and now it’s Jennifer Lawrence. Back in the day, Brad Pitt was the Hollywood hotshot, but now it’s arguable that men like Liam Hemsworth and Chris Pratt have taken his spot.
No matter what caliber of status and talent celebrities have, it’s important to remember they’ve all started somewhere. Most celebrities had to start small and climb their way up the very long, sordid ladder. Here are 15 major celebrities who have taken extremely small roles you never even knew about.
15. Jennifer Lawrence on Monk
Today, Jennifer Lawrence is a household name. While her career started long before The Hunger Games series, that’s where she truly got her big break. All of the movies in that series broke box office records, taking Lawrence to a new level of popularity and status. Since The Hunger Games, Lawrence has been named as the top paid female actress several times as well as being in tons of other box office hits. To name just a few of her other notable film appearances, there’s Silver Linings Playbook, Joy and American Hustle. Her first ever movie was a small movie titled Company Town. We’re all used to seeing Lawrence play the main roles, but during her appearance on the television show Monk, she was just a high school mascot during a passing scene. It’s safe to say she’s definitely come a long way since then.
14. Megan Fox in Bad Boys 2
Recently, Megan Fox has been on the down low. A few years back, she was arguably one of the most attractive actresses in Hollywood and was well-known because of her stints in big name Michael Bay movies. On top of that, she also got married to Brian Austin Green who is a whopping 13 years older than her. However, whatever they’re doing must work because Fox is no longer in the tabloids and is living her life happily with her husband and their three children. If Fox wanted to get back into the Hollywood game, it probably wouldn’t be hard for her to land some decent roles. When she was first starting, her roles definitely were not notable at all. Fox has been in quite a number of Michael Bay movies, and she even came out with a scandal against him because of his sexist and degrading behavior towards her during the Transformers movies. Outside of that series, she’s also starred in Jennifer’s Body, This is 40, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In Bad Boys 2, Fox landed a very small role – and low and behold, it was a Michael Bay film. During her very short time in this film, she’s pictured in a club, dancing in a bikini.
13. Ben Stiller on Miami Vice
Ben Stiller just recently started doing movies that are a little bit more serious, but he’s known for being the funny guy in most occasions. One of his most notable performances is Zoolander in which Stiller plays the role of a questionably gay male model who is trying to find himself. Outside of his Zoolander fame, more of Stiller’s great pictures include Dodgeball, Something About Mary and Meet the Fockers. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty seemed to show that Stiller actually can have a serious side and play something other than a goof. During his very early years as an actor, Stiller landed a part on Miami Vice as Fast Eddie Fletcher. In season 4, episode 2, Stiller is a small time conman on the popular television show. This television appearance was only his third recorded on-screen role. Like the saying goes – you have to start somewhere, which is exactly what Stiller did.
12. Alexis Bledel in Rushmore
To date, Alexis Bledel isn’t the biggest celebrity but she’s definitely one that a lot of people know of – especially if they’re fans of the hit television show Gilmore Girls. Bledel is definitely a smaller-scale celebrity, with just a few big movies under her belt. As gorgeous as she is, it doesn’t seem that Hollywood loves her shy, awkward style of acting. Some of her biggest on-screen appearances include The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Sin City and Tuck Everlasting. Fans of Gilmore Girls might argue that she deserves more screen time because of how perfectly she fit the role of Rory, but it seems that the starlet has taken a break from acting since her last film, which was Jenny’s Wedding, where she plays as Katherine Heigl‘s future wife. One of Bledel’s very small roles was in the movie Rushmore, where she actually played an uncredited extra. She had no lines, and no real purpose – she was one of the students in a classroom scene (seated front row on the right).
11. Jack Black on The Golden Girls Spin-Off
Even though the television show The Golden Girls is many years old, it’s somewhat of a cult classic that spans the ages. Seeing how it’s 2016, not many people in this generation have seen the show pilot to finale, but most people at least have heard about it or have seen old clips from its prime days. After The Golden Girls was over, there was a spin-off of the show with the same cast titled The Golden Palace. In this new era of The Golden Girls, the three old women purchase a hotel in Miami and the show depicts their adventures. During one of their episodes, Jack Black plays a taxi driver who finds the purse of one of the old women in his backseat. He brings the purse back to the rightful owners and has several lines in the episode. You can tell that the episode is old because Black looks very youthful with a shaved head and slim body, but his voice is exactly the same.
10. Steve Carell in Curly Sue
Nowadays it’s hard to imagine Steve Carell ever playing a small role, but he sure did in his early acting career. In 1991, the movie Curly Sue hit theaters and this is when Carrel landed his first ever movie role. In the movie, he is an awkward waiter who receives about ten seconds of screen time, but you definitely know that it’s him. He looks much younger, but he still sports the same thick brows that he does today. Since 1991, a lot has changed for Carrel. He’s been in many blockbusters, like the Anchorman series, Bruce Almighty, and as the voice of Gru in the Despicable Me series. Outside of those big name films, Carrel has also been in a ton of smaller scale movies, as well as a few others that were alongside revered actors and actresses. Along with being in movies, Carrel first landed the major role of Michael Scott in The Office, which went off the air in 2013.
9. Ryan Gosling on Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a Canadian television show for kids, but even American children can recount the nightmares that were produced because of this show. Are You Afraid of the Dark? is basically a bunch of kids meeting in the woods which is already scary, and then telling ghost stories around a campfire. Much like Ghostbusters, it’s enough to make pre-teens very scared. In one of the episodes, a very young, very adorable Ryan Gosling makes an appearance. While that role is entirely much smaller than anything he’s landed today, it’s still one worth watching because it’s hard to imagine him being that young and already kickstarting his career. In 2016, Gosling is known for several things. Not only has he been with Eva Mendes since 2011, he’s also the star of the “Hey girl,” memes, which show attractive pictures of Gosling with inspiring messages. Gosling has been in several popular movies, with The Ideas of March and The Notebook being two of the most beloved.
8. Ben Affleck on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
While Ben Affleck may not be one of Hollywood’s best actors, he’s definitely one of the most popular. Even if you don’t enjoy his movies, it’s undeniable that most people know who he is. Some might argue that he’s only famous for being married to the gorgeous Jennifer Garner, or being best buds with Matt Damon, but it’s a toss-up. Outside of his personal life, Affleck has been in a ton of movies. Since the early 90s he has been in films left and right. Most people know Affleck from Armageddon, Daredevil and Suicide Squad. For Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, Affleck can be seen in an episode where he portrays a character playing basketball. Nowadays, Affleck probably wouldn’t consider the idea of being an extra in a television show at all.
7. Eva Longoria on 90210
Eva Longoria is another one of those celebrities that when you see her, you definitely know her, but she’s not always recognizable right away by name. As an actress, Longoria seems to favor the television screen more than the big screen (or she’s just not able to land anything big). Her acting style is definitely convincing and she does a good job of every role that she’s in, so it’s hard to say why she isn’t more popular than she is. Longoria is known for her time on the hit television series Desperate Housewives, but she’s also been seen in The Young and Restless, Brooklyn Nine Nine, General Hospital, and several small screen movies that never made it big. One of her earliest roles was on the classic television show 90210, where she was credited as “Flight Attendant #3.” Longoria has also spent her time as a cookbook author outside of her acting life.
6. Angelina Jolie in a Meat Loaf Music Video
Without a doubt, Angelina Jolie is one of the biggest stars Hollywood has ever seen. Not only is she gorgeous with or without a glam squad, she also is a multi-faceted person. She’s famous for being in tons of movies and television shows, being a humans right activist, for adopting many children out of the goodness of her heart, and for being married to Brad Pitt. Recently, the family has been in negative light because Jolie and Pitt divorcing, but it’s still not enough to discredit Jolie of her own fame. Jolie has held so many major roles in several films that it’s hard to remember them all. Just in the last decade, she’s been in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Maleficent, Salt and Lara Croft. Outside of these major roles, Jolie has also been in several small roles that even she herself probably forgets. One of the roles that she may forget (or may want to forget) is the girl in the band Meat Loaf’s music video for the song “Rock N’ Roll Dreams Come Through.”
5. Lucy Liu on 90210
In the early 2000s, Lucy Liu was killing the film business – she was in a ton of big name movies from 2000-2010. Nowadays, she hasn’t really been in much, but the amount of money she made in the last decade probably made it so that she doesn’t have to worry about working too hard. Liu is most famous for being in Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill and Code Name: The Cleaner. On top of being in a lot of big name movies, Liu is also known for being one of the most gorgeous Asian actresses Hollywood has seen. One of Liu’s earliest roles was as a waitress in 90210. She had quite a few lines in the thirty second scene and it’s astounding to see how young she looks – at the time, she was only 23. Liu is also a producer, artist and singer, so it may be that she’s left her acting career behind to pursue other avenues of expression.
4. Aaron Paul on The Price Is Right
During the Breaking Bad days, one of America’s favorite sweet-at-heart bad boys was Jesse Pinkman. Jesse Pinkman was played by Aaron Paul, alongside Bryan Cranston as Walter White. Breaking Bad was one of the most thrilling television shows when it was still on the air – the finale brought in a whopping 10.3 million viewers over to AMC. Outside of Breaking Bad, Paul has been in quite a few movies. To name a few of his most popular, there was Need For Speed, Triple 9 and Central Intelligence.
Before all the glitz and the glamour of popular television shows and blockbuster movies, Paul was actually a contestant on The Price Is Right (not exactly an acting gig, but an LA TV appearance nonetheless). Paul showed up to the taping of the show with a friend and ended up getting called down to the “contestant’s row,” where he excitedly screamed about how much he loved Bob Barker, the show’s host. Paul ended up making it to the Showcase Showdown, but overestimated his prize package by only $132. After this, Paul described himself as being depressed for “many, many months” during an interview with Jay Leno.
3. Matthew McConaughey in Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation
At age 47, Matthew McConaughey is still a Hollywood heartthrob for women of all ages. No matter what movie he comes out with, it’s guaranteed to make a profit simply because he is in it. He’s famous for being in numerous movies over the years, as well as being in plenty of serious car commercials. Some of his most famous movies include The Wedding Planner, Failure To Launch and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. In the early 90s, McConaughey landed a part in a movie called Texas Chainsaw Massacre The Next Generation. Alongside him, actress Renee Zellweger also landed a part in the movie. The movie was supposed to be released in 1994, but the film turned out being so bad that the release was delayed until 1997, timing which may have saved Zellweger and McConaughey’s acting careers.
2. Quentin Tarantino on Golden Girls
Quentin Tarantino might not be a name that a lot of people can match a face to, but he still is incredibly famous. Tarantino is known for being a Hollywood film screenwriter, director, producer and very rarely, an actor. Tarantino’s movies usually have a lot of violence and gore along with a lot of satire, and he also tends to choose lesser-known actors and actresses to give them a chance at Hollywood. A few Tarantino movies that most people know are Kill Bill, Sin City, Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. In 2016, Tarantino has no problem building projects and even finding roles for himself if he wanted, but back when he was getting started, he had to start from the bottom. On an episode of Golden Girls that aired on November 9th, 1988, there are Elvis impersonators that come to the wedding of Sophia – and one Elvis impersonator just happens to be Tarantino. George Clooney, who starred alongside Tarantino in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), appeared on Golden Girls in 1987.
1. Keanu Reeves in Youngblood
While Keanu Reeves hasn’t been relevant for quite some time, the way that he got his way into Hollywood is quite interesting. Back in the late eighties, Reeves was an aspiring hockey player and wanted to make it big playing the sport. However, he decided to take a small role in the sport drama Youngblood, as a hockey player to live out the dream a little further. In the end, Reeves ended up finding out that he enjoyed acting more than he enjoyed playing hockey – from there, his career took off. Chances are, being an actor paid off more than being a hockey player would have. Reeves is most famous for his work in Constantine, John Wick and most famously, The Matrix. After The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded hit theaters four years later. Without a doubt, this film franchise was the biggest in Reeves’ career. The Matrix Reloaded alone brought in $742 million to the box office.