The Pre-Fame Game

Hello readers! My apologies for my absence. I've had a bad case of bronchitis coupled with bloggers block to keep me from posting anything substantial. But now I'm back. And later this week I'll probably have a post dedicated to being sick since it seems I'm not the only one to have fallen ill lately! But today I bring you a random post that I've been thinking about for awhile but was sidetracked by Sundance, Valentines and Oscars. Sometime back in January (maybe I had just seen Anchorman 2 or Paul Rudd hosting SNL or something;) my mind thought back to Clueless and how crazy it was that Paul Rudd would not only become the biggest star to emerge out of that vastly popular film that was poised to make Alicia Silverstone THE star....but he also would have a pretty long lasting and ongoing career. It made me think of other stars who played side roles (not that Josh in Clueless was a side role, being the romantic lead...) emerged to become bigger than the leads. Not everyone on this list did become bigger than their co-stars, but it's always fun to go back and watch a movie to see someone who is a big star now, who wasn't famous then. So this post is a mix of that. A list of famous actors in small roles before they hit it big. I know I'm leaving off some great ones like Scarlett Johansson in North and Keira Knightley in The Phantom Menace...I just decided as much as I love catching celebs in kid roles, that might be better suited for a sequel post of its own. Let me know if I missed any else!

PAUL RUDD - CLUELESS, ROMEO + JULIET - We'll start with the one that inspired the post. For a long long time Paul Rudd was just "Josh from Clueless," now he's either a generic leading man (hey I still love the guy...) or in an Apatow-esque comedy. Whatever the case, he seems to make it work for him and he's everywhere. One of my favorite "oh yeah he was in that..." moments would have to be playing Paris, the would-be suitor to Juliet in Baz Lurhmann's Romeo + Juliet (I know the title is technically William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, but come on this one is Baz's. haha) I definitely wouldn't say Rudd eclipsed DiCaprio (Danes probably...) but it's fun to see him and think "he's been around forever." That and the man never ages...

AMY ADAMS - CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, SMALLVILLE, THE OFFICE - I first saw Amy Adams in Catch Me If You Can. Did I REMEMBER that was where I first saw her? Oh no. She hasn't eclipsed Leo (really who could?) but she's definitely one of the biggest actresses right now and it's fun to go back and see her playing a role unlike anything we see her in now. What's even MORE fun is seeing her on Smallville playing a "freak of the week" in the show's first season. Who could guess that eventually SHE would be playing Lois Lane (even though I still think that one was a miscast..) Also, it's noteworthy to mention she did a brief stint as one of Jim Halpert's girlfriends on The Office.

JENNIFER GARNER - PEARL HARBOR - Remember when Jennifer Garner played the nerdy uptight nurse that hardly anyone would give a second glance at? Funny she ends up married to the lead in real life. She has not reached the fame of her husband, but perhaps she's at least equaled or topped Kate Beckinsale (what do you think readers?) Oh and she definitely has Josh Hartnett beat...so at least she has that.

BRADLEY COOPER - ALIAS, WEDDING CRASHERS - From Jennifer Garner we go to Bradley Cooper who played her friend zoned friend on Alias and the jerk in Wedding Crashers. I don't think I took notice of him until He's Just Not That Into You...but he'd been around a LOT longer than that. Now thanks to Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle now he's one to watch. Oh and then of course there was The Hangover which also helped make him famous...but whether or not the sequels helped his image who really knows. Now is he BIGGER than his co-stars in Alias and Wedding Crashers? I'll let you debate that one.

EMMA STONE - THE HOUSE BUNNY, GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST  - Emma Stone definitely would be the biggest star to come out of The House Bunny passing Anna Faris with ease. Not sure I can say the same for Ghosts of Girlfriends Past now that it features an Oscar winner.... but that one is definitely more fun to go back in retrospect and say "hey that's Emma Stone!" On second thought....I'm really not sure I'd ever go back and watch that movie again. People may have remembered her from Superbad, but she definitely was far from being labeled an "it girl."

VINCE VAUGHN - THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK - I actually just went back and re-watched this earlier this month and completely forgot about a young Vince Vaughn having somewhat of a major role in the silly sequel to Jurassic Park. Vince Vaughn vs. Jeff Goldblum (national treasure?) vs. Julianne Moore? I would guess that probably most people would know Vince Vaughn of the 3.

CAREY MULLIGAN - PRIDE & PREJUDICE - It's so weird going back and watching this now knowing that Carey Mulligan plays Kitty Bennet. She almost looks (and acts) like an entirely different person than who she has become now. Sure the role doesn't require her to be the elegant and beautiful actress she is now (in fact it does call for the opposite..) but still it's almost shocking to think they're the same person. Do I think she's more famous than Keira? Nah. But she's probably the second most famous person in the movie and there's a pretty big cast!

RYAN GOSLING - REMEMBER THE TITANS, BREAKER HIGH, YOUNG HERCULES - This is another one where I can't believe this is the same person I saw acting back in the mid to late 90's. Ryan Gosling has been around for a LONG time...and I must say it took me a long time to board the Ryan Gosling train. People started gushing about him in The Notebook, but I was still unconvinced having remembered the gawky kid from before. Somewhere along the way he bulked up and became a solid and dependable actor. Tell that to my younger self who used to watch Breaker High: Whaaaaaat?

JOHN & JOAN CUSACK - 16 CANDLES - John Cusack is undisputedly the biggest and most long lasting talent to come out of 16 Candles....and who knew? He simply played one of the nerd's sidekicks! Not even cool enough (...or lame enough?) to be THE nerd. His sister Joan also makes an appearance, and though we haven't seen much of her lately it's fun to go back and see them both in side roles in this movie!

RYAN REYNOLDS - DICK, 2 GUYS A GIRL AND A PIZZA PLACE - The OTHER Ryan who has ALSO been around forever. Most people didn't take notice of him until either Definitely Maybe or The Proposal but really he'd been doing minor roles since the early 90's! Like Gosling, he too bulked up to become a leading man that gals everywhere could drool over. But every once in awhile it's fun to go back and watch something like Dick and see his silly pre-fame interactions with Kirsten Dunst (who on the flip side has ALWAYS been famous. Isn't it funny how it goes?) Also remember that 90's show 2 Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place? Oh yeah he was one of the leads.


Sarah said...

Now you HAVE to do a kid edition--current stars and the kid roles that started them on their way. :) Ryan Reynolds was silly in Dick. Ha ha! Fun list, as always.

Joey said...

See, I think it's weird to see that some of these are already on the downhill side of their career. What has Kiera Knightly, Vince Vaughn, Emma Stone, and even Ryan Reynolds been in lately. Are they now has beens?

I've been watching Chopped celebrities and when they introduce an actor and all of his big name movies were from the 80's you gotta think.

They all have a shelf life, except Meryl Streep.

Emily said...

Keira Knightley was in Jack Ryan in January and I'm sure has other stuff lined up. Vince Vaughn was JUST in The Internship AND Delivery Man (both duds...but still the guy is getting work.) Emma Stone has Spider-man coming up and Ryan Reynolds had that widely talked about Sundance movie. Hardly has-beens. Silly mother.

Joey said...

Not the big news they once were, either! :)

Emily said...

Haha well some of them maybe but not all.