Everyone starts somewhere, and while some famous actors have the privilege to grow up in families based in the entertainment industry, most of the upper-echelon got to where they are through years of blood, sweat, tears, and less-than-great acting jobs. Whether it be a role in a commercial, a supporting role in a TV show, or a generic numbered role in a movie, many stars started with humble beginnings. And while a lot of stars would like to forget their first stars, that is no longer possible with the advent of IMDB! So what were your favorite stars first roles? Let’s take a look!
Angelina Jolie – Hackers (1995)
Beating out Hilary Swank, Liv Tyler, and Heather Graham for the role, Angelina played Kate, a high school hacker involved in an extortion plot.
Hugh Jackman – Paperback Hero (1999)
Hugh Jackman’s first feature was an Australian film about a tough dude who writes a romance novel that becomes TOO successful.
Natalie Portman – Leon: The Professional (1994)
Still one of Portman’s most iconic roles, her portrayal of Mathilda, a New York City 12-year-old who is taken in by a hitman after her family is tragically murdered, makes a Leon a movie that you NEED to see.
Keanu Reeves – Youngblood (1986)
While Reeves did appear in an ultra-low-budget movie called “One Step Away” in 1985, his first notable role was “Youngblood” with Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe. While his small part was nothing special (he played the team goalie in this hockey movie), he fit so great in the part because he was actually the goalie for his high school hockey team. He was even nicknamed “the wall.”
Julia Roberts – Satisfaction (1988)
From the big hair, to the clothing, this role definitely can’t get any more 80’s. Julia played the bass guitarist for a band called “The Mystery” in the 1988 movie “Satisfaction.” Also in this movie is Liam Neeson and Debbie Harry for “Blondie” fame.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Critters 3 (1991)
Dicaprio’s first role was in the as-bad-as-it-sounds direct-to-video horror movie “Critters 3.” While the movie was terrible, it actually led to a regular role on ABC’s “Growing Pains,” which most people think of as the launch pad for the rest of his career.
Nicole Kidman – Bush Christmas (1983)
Kidman’s first movie was an Australian film in the early 80s called “Bush Christmas.” The movie was about a poor family who is faced with losing their homestead if their horse doesn’t win a race. The story takes a turn when their racing horse is stolen, so Kidman’s character and her onscreen brothers must go on a hunt for the horse thieves.
Johnny Depp – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Like many on this list, Johnny got his start in a horror movie, albeit one of the most famous and prolific horror movies ever. Johnny Depp’s death scene in this movie is regarded as one of the most iconic in the genre: he is literally eaten by the bed he is laying on and then spit out in a bloody geyser. Talk about gruesome.
Matt Damon – Mystic Pizza (1988)
A rom-com based around Julia Robert character, Matt Damon plays “Steamer,” one of the family members who is not QUITE sure how to eat lobster. While the role is on the smaller side, it was the beginning of a long career for Matt.
Amy Adams – Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
While a small role, Amy Adams made her acting debut in this 1999 black comedy “Drop Dead Gorgeous.”
Scarlett Johansson – Manny & Lo (1996)
Playing the Manny in “Manny & Lo,” scar-jo’s character was one side of an orphaned sister team that keeps running away and getting themselves into trouble.
Daniel Radcliffe – David Copperfield (1999)
While most of you know Daniel from the Harry Potter series, that actually wasn’t his first acting role. That came as playing a young David Copperfield in a BBC Mini-Series called “David Copperfield”
Emma Watson – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
Another Harry Potter alum, Emma Watson’s first role was actually the first Harry Potter movie.
Kevin Bacon – Animal House (1978)
Before stealing the show with the smash-hit “Footloose,” Kevin Bacon’s first role was in the prolific comedy “Animal House.” He played the snobbish and perfectly named frat boy Chip Diller.
Mark Wahlberg – Renaissance Man (1994)
While most people know Mark Wahlberg for his fantastic acting record and work behind the camera, very few people forget that he was actually a musician before anything. Mark Wahlberg used to be Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and had the hit song “Good Vibrations.” Shortly after that song shoot the world, Wahlberg was cast to play one of Danny DeVito’s students in the 90s movie “Renaissance Man.”
Cameron Diaz – The Mask (1994)
While Jim Carrey largely stole the show in The Mask, Diaz definitely made some jaws drop as the seductive Tina Carlyle, the main villain’s girlfriend.
Nicholas Cage – Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Cage, who is actually related Frances Ford Coppola, was very serious about not wanting to ride off of his uncles coat-tails, so he changed his name from Nick Coppola to Nick Cage. His first role was VERY small, credited as “Brad’s Bud,” but he wanted to start small. But look at him now, 92 roles under his belt and a sea of fans who RAGE FOR CAGE.
Jennifer Lawrence – Monk (2007)
While most people think that Jennifer Lawrence’s first movie was 2010’s Winter’s Bone, she actually had been in 3 movies, 3 TV movies, and various small TV roles before that, with a guest-starring role on Monk in 2007 as a “mascot.”
Reese Witherspoon – The Man in the Moon (1991)
This role won little Reese a Young Artist Award, which was a coming-of-age tale set in 1957 Louisiana. The movie is based around the characters first love.