In the history of cinema, it is almost impossible to find an actress or actor whose career did not include minor roles or participation in obscure films. Even the great English actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who very carefully chose the films in which he starred so that every third of his films brought him an Oscar nomination, still played several lesser roles in his youth.

What can we say about those Hollywood stars who have long and stubbornly walked to the top, filming along the way in sometimes completely disgusting, low-budget and simply uninteresting films and TV shows? An acting career is like a cardiogram, it has its ups and downs, and sometimes the latter are no less than the former. Even for the worldwide recognized movie stars.

The online database IMDb has collected a selection of little-known roles of star actresses and actors whose names are ringing all over the world today. Bored Panda has already made a list of the most interesting and unusual appearances of stars in lesser roles, so here is the second part of our collection for you!

Feel free to scroll to the very end, promise not to be surprised when you see familiar faces in completely unexpected images, and perhaps this post will be an occasion for you to revisit something from the good old ages of cinema, when our world was still very young, and the greatest movie stars were extremely small.

More info: IMDb

#1

Natalie Portman And Jean Reno In Léon: The Professional (1994)

Natalie Portman And Jean Reno In Léon: The Professional (1994)

Columbia Pictures Report

DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Really good movie. Also, don't forget Gary Oldman was in it also.

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#2

Christian Bale In Empire Of The Sun (1987)

Christian Bale In Empire Of The Sun (1987)

Warner Bros. Report

Lamarianjc
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Beautiful amazing movie! Watched this countless times as a child

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#3

Leslie Nielsen In Forbidden Planet (1956)

Leslie Nielsen In Forbidden Planet (1956)

Warner Bros. Report

Vix Spiderthrust
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yep. He was what used to be called a "legitimate" actor - i.e. non-variety - before Airplane.

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#4

Jake Gyllenhaal In City Slickers (1991)

Jake Gyllenhaal In City Slickers (1991)

Columbia Pictures Report

#5

Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Harry Basil, And Glenn Withrow In Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Harry Basil, And Glenn Withrow In Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

TriStar Pictures Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
3 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Great Coppola movie (Nic was cast in it because, well, his actual last name is Coppola) - he was great in it. Fun little movie. “What's the point of being a teenager if you can't dress weird?”

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In fact, various actors' paths to fame turn out to be completely different in length - and almost never does star status come after the very first role. Even John Travolta had nine small roles before his breakthrough in Saturday Night Fever, and Leonardo DiCaprio, before appearing as Johnny Depp's younger brother in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, which brought him an Oscar nomination at the age of seventeen, starred in TV shows and lesser-known films for as many as five years.

#6

Kevin Bacon In National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

Kevin Bacon In National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

Universal Studios Report

#7

Hilary Swank In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

Hilary Swank In Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)

20th Century Studios Report

Brandon Collinsworth
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ben Affleck is also in the movie uncredited in a blink-and-you-will-miss-it role as a basketball player.

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#8

Jeremy Renner In National Lampoon's Senior Trip (1995)

Jeremy Renner In National Lampoon's Senior Trip (1995)

New Line Cinema Report

#9

Willem Dafoe In Streets Of Fire (1984)

Willem Dafoe In Streets Of Fire (1984)

Universal Studios Report

Fred L.
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And a mere two years later we got Platoon.

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#10

Cary Elwes And Robin Wright In The Princess Bride (1987)

Cary Elwes And Robin Wright In The Princess Bride (1987)

20th Century Fox Report

There are a lot of reasons why screen stars take such a long road to fame, and they are all different. Morgan Freeman, for example, became an actor relatively late, at the age of almost forty, and only in his early fifties did he become a legitimate star, having received his first Oscar nomination.

But Nicolas Cage, whose family status seemed to promise a quick rise to fame, deliberately changed his last name to distance himself from his famous uncle, movie director Francis Ford Coppola. But now Cage, if he wants, can rightfully sing after Frank Sinatra "I did it my way!"

#11

Reese Witherspoon In The Man In The Moon (1991)

Reese Witherspoon In The Man In The Moon (1991)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Report

#12

Meryl Streep In The Deer Hunter (1978)

Meryl Streep In The Deer Hunter (1978)

Universal Studios Report

Sans Serif
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Very early Meryl Streep yet garnered her first Academy Award.

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#13

Sarah Jessica Parker And Amy Linker In Square Pegs (1982)

Sarah Jessica Parker And Amy Linker In Square Pegs (1982)

CBS Report

Amy Watkins
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Loved this show when I was a kid!!! "Square pegs, square pegs. Square square pegs!"

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#14

Nicolas Cage In Valley Girl (1983)

Nicolas Cage In Valley Girl (1983)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Report

#15

Ben Affleck And Pam Potillo In Abc Afterschool Specials (1986)

Ben Affleck And Pam Potillo In Abc Afterschool Specials (1986)

American Broadcasting Company (ABC) Report

On the other hand, if a person becomes a movie star as a child, this may subsequently not be reflected in the best way for a career. Suffice it to recall, for example, Macaulay Culkin, Mickey Rooney or Shirley Temple, who in adulthood could not even come close to the glory they had in their childhood.

True, Temple subsequently made an impressive political career, but now we are talking about cinema! Perhaps only Christian Bale, who became rather famous in his childhood, managed to make tremendous progress and become a real screen superstar. This is probably the exception that only proves the rule...

#16

Daryl Hannah In Blade Runner (1982)

Daryl Hannah In Blade Runner (1982)

Warner Bros. Report

#17

Jodie Foster In Taxi Driver (1976)

Jodie Foster In Taxi Driver (1976)

Columbia Pictures Report

Sans Serif
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This masterpiece was all Robert De Niro. Jodie did gain fresh notoriety but had done dozens of projects before this - beginning in 1969.

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#18

Ewan Mcgregor In Shallow Grave (1994)

Ewan Mcgregor In Shallow Grave (1994)

Rank Organisation Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I LOVE Shallow Grave. Director Danny Boyle's first film.

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#19

Matthew Mcconaughey And Rory Cochrane In Dazed And Confused (1993)

Matthew Mcconaughey And Rory Cochrane In Dazed And Confused (1993)

Gramercy Pictures Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dude it's the movie he coined his catch phrase in. "Alright alright alright".

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#20

Nancy Allen And John Lithgow In Blow Out (1981)

Nancy Allen And John Lithgow In Blow Out (1981)

Filmways Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Allen was DePalma's girlfriend, so she always got a role - Carrie, Dressed to Kill and Home Movies, I believe.

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In general, according to the authors of The Actors Place, just becoming an actor will take at least two years, and only then, depending on how talented you are and how lucky you are, you will have from several to dozens of little-known roles. And maybe, after many years, you will also fall into our new similar selection!

#21

Jerry O'Connell And Ryan Reynolds In Buying The Cow (2002)

Jerry O'Connell And Ryan Reynolds In Buying The Cow (2002)

Destination Films Report

Amy Watkins
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But .... but ... Jerry O'Connell has been "famous" since the 80s. Ever hear of this little movie called Stand By Me (1986)???

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#22

Ron Howard In The Andy Griffith Show (1960)

Ron Howard In The Andy Griffith Show (1960)

CBS Television Distribution Report

#23

Edward Norton In Primal Fear (1996)

Edward Norton In Primal Fear (1996)

Paramount Pictures Report

DennyS (denzoren)
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

What a career start by Norton. This was great.

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#24

David Hasselhoff And Caroline Munro In Starcrash (1978)

David Hasselhoff And Caroline Munro In Starcrash (1978)

New World Pictures Report

#25

Steve Guttenberg And Krysten Ritter In Veronica Mars (2004)

Steve Guttenberg And Krysten Ritter In Veronica Mars (2004)

Warner Bros. Television Distribution Hulu Report

#26

Anthony Hopkins In Magic (1978)

Anthony Hopkins In Magic (1978)

20th Century Studios Report

Kate
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sorry. Try Anthony Hopkins in The Lion In Winter (1968).

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#27

Charlize Theron In 2 Days In The Valley (1996)

Charlize Theron In 2 Days In The Valley (1996)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Report

Dani Fogel
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That woman is freakishly s*xy. I'm a straight woman, but would NOT kick her outa my bed

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See Also on Bored Panda
#28

Neve Campbell In Party Of Five (1994)

Neve Campbell In Party Of Five (1994)

Sony Pictures Television Report

#29

Emma Stone And Jonah Hill In Superbad (2007)

Emma Stone And Jonah Hill In Superbad (2007)

Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group Report

#30

Carol Kane In When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Carol Kane In When A Stranger Calls (1979)

Columbia Pictures Report

Jods
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ghost of Christmas Present in Scrooged.

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#31

Dakota Fanning In Friends (1994)

Dakota Fanning In Friends (1994)

Warner Bros. Television Distribution Report

Amy Watkins
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dakota Fanning was well known before she was in Friends. She had starring roles in several movies before this appearance.

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#32

Matthew Modine In Private School (1983)

Matthew Modine In Private School (1983)

Universal Studios Report

Kookamunga
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Was a mediocre 80s teen sex flick. Starred Phoebe Cates, too. Great soundtrack, lots of boobs if I remember correctly.

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#33

Rob Brown, Antwon Tanner, And Channing Tatum In Coach Carter (2005)

Rob Brown, Antwon Tanner, And Channing Tatum In Coach Carter (2005)

Paramount Pictures Report

Asi Bassey
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought they were gonna say Samuel L. Jackson.

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#34

Jeffrey Wright In Basquiat (1996)

Jeffrey Wright In Basquiat (1996)

Miramax Films Report

Jean-Daniel Mohier
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Great movie with an amazing cast. David Bowie as Andy Warhol! And it was Jeffrey Wright's first movie. :-)

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#35

Monica Bellucci In Dracula (1992)

Monica Bellucci In Dracula (1992)

Columbia Pictures Report

ojjunior
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Please watch Malena. Thank me later.

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#36

Jared Leto In My So-Called Life (1994)

Jared Leto In My So-Called Life (1994)

The Bedford Falls Company Report

AffenpinscherMom
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This series came out when I was in high school. It was so good and everyone had a crush on him

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#37

Hugh Grant In Maurice (1987)

Hugh Grant In Maurice (1987)

Cinecom Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#38

Mickey Rourke In Rumble Fish (1983)

Mickey Rourke In Rumble Fish (1983)

Universal Studios Report

Sans Serif
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

An often overlooked Coppola classic! Dennis Hopper, Matt Dillon and Diane Lane too!

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#39

Michelle Williams In Species (1995)

Michelle Williams In Species (1995)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Report

#40

Adam Sandler In Airheads (1994)

Adam Sandler In Airheads (1994)

20th Century Studios Report

Ray Ceeya (RayCeeYa)
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

AND BRENDAN FRASER! Jeeze guys! Sandler was already a regular on SNL but Fraser. Nobody know who he was.

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#41

Jessica Chastain In Jolene (2008)

Jessica Chastain In Jolene (2008)

Entertainment One Report

#42

Mel Gibson In Mad Max (1979)

Mel Gibson In Mad Max (1979)

Roadshow Films Report

Nathaniel
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The title of this thread is "45 Acting Roles That You May Not Know Now-Famous Actors Had Because They Weren’t Known Then" Mad Max launched Mel Gibson's career, and not counting the more recent remake/reboot, Mel Gibson is synonymous with the Mad Max role.

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#43

Angelina Jolie In Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow (1993)

Angelina Jolie In Cyborg 2: Glass Shadow (1993)

Trimark Pictures Report

#44

Evan Rachel Wood In S1m0ne (2002)

Evan Rachel Wood In S1m0ne (2002)

New Line Cinema Report

Beth Bartel
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ever hear of a little project called 13? She co-starred and produced it at 13!!

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#45

Tyler Hoechlin In Road To Perdition (2002)

Tyler Hoechlin In Road To Perdition (2002)

DreamWorks Report

Natural Born Tourist
Community Member
3 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I am missing Brad Pitt in True Romance (also Gary Oldman, same movie)