Usually, when an actor is famous, we know them most for their most recent or iconic roles. We remember Alan Rickman for the Harry Potter movies and Elijah Wood for Lord of the Rings. But what about their early roles? While it's not always the case, some first film roles of famous actors can actually be quite surprising. They may have had a small role in a big movie or started out their career with an award-winning performance. Whatever the case, these roles may shock some readers.
Read on for our list of surprising first film roles of 10 famous actors.
10 Alan Rickman - Die Hard (1988)
9 Zoe Saldana - Center Stage (2000)
8 Elijah Wood - Back to the Future Part II (1989)
These days, Elijah Wood is most known for his role as Frodo Baggins in the critically acclaimed Lord of the Rings trilogy. While he got most of his fame from his roles as an adult, he actually started his career at a much younger age. He began in television commercials and music videos when he was only seven years old. However, his first film role was actually in Back to the Future Part II. When Marty McFly goes into the future, he sees two kids playing an arcade game in the diner. One of those kids? Yep, that's Elijah Wood starting his long and storied film acting career.
7 Jake Gyllenhaal - City Slickers (1991)
6 Kevin Bacon - Animal House (1978)
5 Jennifer Aniston - Leprechaun (1993)
Despite growing up in a Hollywood family--her parents are both seasoned actors--Jennifer Aniston still had to get her start the hard way. While she worked on failed TV shows in the early 1990s, she had to get by working jobs as a waitress and telemarketer. Finally, she landed her first film role as Tory in the 1993 cheesy horror movie Leprechaun. Although the movie has a low Rotten Tomatoes rating of only 27%, it's worth a watch just to see Jennifer's original nose. All that hard work early on in her career paid off, and now she is considered one of the Hollywood elite.
4 Johnny Depp - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
3 Kate Winslet - Heavenly Creatures (1994)
Most actors have to take a slew of small roles before they ever land a big part in a film. That wasn't the case for Kate Winslet. Her first role was a big one. She was chosen out of over 175 girls for one of the lead roles in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures, a drama based on the true story of two murderous best friends. Not only was this Kate's first role, but it was also her costar Melanie Lynskey's first role as well. Audiences were so taken by Kate's acting skills that she earned a London Film Critics' Circle Award for 'British Actress of the Year' for this very first role.
2 Nicolas Cage - Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
If you're a student of film, especially a student of Hollywood families, then you'll know that Nicolas Cage's real last name is Coppola. That's right, he's Francis Ford Coppola's nephew. At the very beginning of his career, Nic used his real last name to get roles. That's how he ended up getting a very small part in his first movie: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). After that first role, he decided to drop Coppola and adopt Cage instead. In an interview, he said, "I needed to change my name just to liberate myself and find out I could do it without walking into a Hollywood casting office with the name Coppola." It seemed to have worked: He landed the lead role in Valley Girl in 1983--and the rest is history.
1 Halle Berry - Jungle Fever (1991)
When you consider what Halle Berry was doing before her very first film role, you may be surprised at the role she chose as her first. See, Halle was a decorated beauty pageant winner in the 1980s. She won the 1985 Miss Teen All American, 1986 Miss Ohio USA and was the very first African American pageant contestant in the Miss World competition in 1986. Yet, her very first film role in 1991's Jungle Fever was as a dirty junkie named Vivien--quite a stark contrast from her pageant days. The choice seems to have paid off, though. She's had near-constant movie roles ever since.