Ask any celebrity and they’ll tell you that the road to fame can be a bumpy one. Some may say they achieved A-list status the good old fashioned way: a ton of auditions, (and a ton of rejections), small parts in low budget films and some degrading commercials. For years they pound the Hollywood pavement, looking for their big break. Then there are those other big name celebs who seem to have had it a little easier. Some become Oscar winners with their debut role, others seem to become huge stars overnight without doing anything really notable. Why do some celebrities have to work so much harder to make it big while for others, fame seems to be handed to them?
Here are 10 big name celebs who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere to somehow achieve the sort of fame and fortune other stars spend years trying to accomplish.
10. Amber Heard
Though she may have appeared in a more than a dozen films, 28-year-old Amber Heard was hardly a household name. That is, until she was cast as Johnny Depp‘s love interest in 2011s The Rum Diary. And don’t let their 22-year age difference fool you into thinking they may just be a flash in the pan: the couple announced their engagement on Christmas Eve 2013. Now, Heard is one half of the most talked about Hollywood couples in 2014 and her schedule reflects her new popularity – she is currently filming two movies with Hollywood heavyweights including James Franco and will star once more alongside fiancé Depp in London Fields set to be released later this year.
9. Robert Pattinson
When it was announced that Stephenie Meyer‘s immensely popular young adult romance novel was being adapted into a film, the question on everyone’s mind was: who will play the lead vamp? And when millions of tweens and teens rushed to the theatre in 2008 that question was answered. But who was this pale, strange looking Brit playing the role of beloved vampire, Edward Cullen in Twilight? Robert Pattinson (or R-Patz as he’s known to his legions of fans) was just 21-years-old when he was cast in the role of the moody and romantic love interest of Bella Swan played by Kristen Stewart. Up until then, Pattinson was relatively unknown – his most notable role to date had been playing Cedric Diggory, a minor character in 2005s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Thanks to Twilight, Pattinson is now a HUGE star, so popular in fact that rumours are flying that the 28-year-old will take on the iconic role of Indiana Jones a character first popularized by Harrison Ford.
8. Elizabeth Olsen
What do most people know about Elizabeth Olsen? Other than the fact that she’s the younger sister of the richest twins in America – Mary Kate and Ashley (a.k.a. Michelle Tanner), not a heck of a lot. Yet for some reason, twenty-five-year-old Elizabeth is considered an A-list actress with barely any acting credits to her name other than some minor roles in films no one has really ever heard of. Despite this fact, it looks like Olsen will make an even bigger splash this year – she’s already graced the big screen as Wanda Maximoff in the colossal hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier and won over audiences as Elle Brody in the Godzilla remake. In 2015, she will star alongside Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson as the Scarlet Witch in the highly anticipated Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron.
7. Jonah Hill
At just 30-years-old, Jonah Hill is a two-time Academy Award nominee – the first for his role as Peter Brand in 2011s Moneyball and the second in the Martin Scorsese directed, The Wolf of Wall Street. So how did Jonah Hill become so famous so fast? Turns out in Jonah’s case, it’s all about who you know. Hill attended the exclusive Crossroads private school in California and there befriended Dustin Hoffman‘s son Jake. While on the Howard Stern radio show, the actor recalled how the eldest Hoffman was so impressed with his prank calls that he helped him nab a role (and his big break) in his 2004 film, I Heart Huckabees. From then on, Hill was an in-demand actor, and has starred in a slew of blockbusters including Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Django Unchained and This is the End.
6. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence is America’s latest sweetheart, taking over past Hollywood darlings such as Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts, and although she’s a staple on the acting scene, just where did she come from? The 23-year-old was virtually unknown when she was cast as the poverty-stricken heroine in 2011s Winter’s Bone. For her performance, she became the second-youngest actress to be nominated for the Academy Award and although she didn’t win (the honour went to Natalie Portman for Black Swan), her star status was cemented. Now Lawrence is one of the biggest names in the world thanks to extraordinary international box office success (The Hunger Games, X-Men), an insane amount of likeability, oh, an Oscar for 2012s Silver Linings Playbook. And it looks like those big budget films will continue keep her busy. Aside from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 which she is currently filming, it was recently announced that she will reprise her role as Raven/Mystique in X-Men: Apocalypse set to hit screens in 2016.
5. Dave Franco
Yes, Dave Franco is a big star. Girls think he’s dreamy, guys think he’s cool. His films include…does anyone really know? What we do know about Hollywood’s newest ‘it’ boy is that he’s James Franco‘s younger brother and though he’s appeared in a bunch of tv shows, the California native flew under the radar until he was cast in 2012s hit comedy, 21 Jump Street. And if you’re a social media junkie (like most are), he’s everywhere – tumblr, Instagram and a staple on the gossip sites thanks to celeb friends including Johan Hill and Seth Rogen and a celebrity girlfriend – Community actress Alison Brie. Franco is in 22 Jump Street and will star alongside his big bro in the William Faulkner adaptation, The Sound and the Fury set to be released later this year.
4. Andrew Garfield
Ask anyone who Andrew Garfield is and they will probably answer, “Spider-Man.” But just how did Garfield land the coveted role of the masked superhero? Your guess is as good as ours. Before donning the Spidey suit, Garfield’s most notable role was playing one of the Facebook co-founders in 2010s The Social Network. What followed was Andrew being cast as the famous Webslinger in not one but three big budget films solidifying his status as an A-list celebrity. His high-profile relationship with costar and It girl, Emma Stone doesn’t hurt either. Along with playing Peter Parker, Garfield is sure to shine in his starring role in hitmaker Martin Scorsese‘s upcoming drama, Silence.
3. Lupita Nyong’o
If you look up the saying ‘breakthrough star’ you’d probably see a picture of Nigerian actress Lupita Nyong’o. Talk about an overnight success. After starring in 2013s Twelve Years a Slave alongside gigantic stars including Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, Nyong’o went on to earn multiple acting noms including a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress – and this was her debut role! She was soon a staple on the most coveted lists – best dressed, most beautiful, most popular and recently made headlines when it was announced that the 31-year-old had been cast in the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII set to open in December of 2015.
2. Bradley Cooper
In just a few short years, Bradley Cooper has accomplished what most actors try their whole life to achieve. Though he’s been ‘on the scene’ for eons (his first credited acting role was playing ‘Jake’ in an episode of Sex and the City), his breakthrough role was playing Phil in 2009s hit comedy, The Hangover. From there on out, everything Bradley Cooper seemed to touch (or in his case star in) turned to gold. From 2010s The A Team to 2012s Silver Linings Playbook and 2013s American Hustle (he received Oscar nominations for both performances), the 39-year-old is living the life: he’s a huge celeb, he’s dating a British model and has a bunch of what appears to be hit movies on the horizon including the upcoming drama, Serena with regular costar, Jennifer Lawrence and what should be a gigantic hit, Guardians of the Galaxy a film about a group of extraterrestrial misfits.
1. Emma Stone
She’s one of the biggest and most recognized movie stars on the planet right now and she’s only 25-years-old. From her debut in Superbad, Emma Stone has had a string of super successes including Easy A, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Help and playing Gwen Stacey in two Spider-Man instalments. And unlike some of her contemporaries, although Stone has yet to be nominated for any ‘serious’ awards (unless you count an MTV nom for ‘Best Kiss’) her luck looks like it’s about to change. Emma is set to star in some upcoming films that are sure to show off her acting chops including the lead in Woody Allen’s latest rom-com, Magic in the Moonlight slated to hit screens this July and alongside Naomi Watts and Edward Norton in acclaimed director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest endeavour, Birdman.
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