New Line Cinema
A-List actors might make it look effortless, but truth be told - acting is hard work. It requires tons of dedication and a wide range of skills, including the ability to become a completely different character, memorize all of your lines, and perform the most intimate scenes in front of an audience of people (talk about awkward...). With these kinds of qualifications, you'd think that everyone had to go through a rigorous acting program before they could even set foot in an audition room. But actually, some of the most popular actors haven't taken a single acting course.
While some were lucky enough to get discovered, others went out and landed auditions so they could earn a few extra bucks. And lucky for them, they eventually got to turn those small acting gigs into successful careers. See which stars got offered roles with no previous experience:
When Rosario was 15, she was spotted by two film directors (Larry Clark and Harmony Korine) while hanging out on her front porch. They told her that she would be perfect for a role in the movie they were working on (and it turned out to be the controversial film called Kids). When Rosario auditioned for it, she got the part as Ruby. That one project gave her a platform to build on, as she continued to land more roles and grow in popularity - without taking a single acting class.
Evangeline was discovered by a Ford Modeling Agency agent while she was walking down the street in Kelowna, British Columbia. She took his business card but initially turned down the chance to model. However, after realizing that she needed some extra money for her school tuition, she contacted the agency. They were able to get her several roles in commercials and TV shows, including Smallville and Kingdom Hospital. Guess how many acting courses she took? ...Yep, that's right, zero.
In 1989, Pamela went to a British Columbia Lions football game in Vancouver. When her image appeared on the Jumbotron, the crowd went wild and even got her to come down to the football field. At the time, she was wearing a Labatt's Beer T-shirt, and once the brewing company found out about it, they offered her a commercial contract. She became known as the "Blue Zone girl" and quickly started to land even more commercials. But her career truly took off when she started to work for Playboy (FYI, within that same year, she appeared as their cover girl in the October 1989 issue).
Jim actually started out as a stand-up comic who did impressions. Despite his financial struggles, he went to several open mics and landed some paid shows, which grew his popularity. But then, he shifted his attention to acting and started to audition for roles, including NBC's Saturday Night Live. He didn't get cast in SNL, but in 1983, he eventually made his film debut in the comedy The Sex and Violence Family Hour. From then on, he continued to land more roles and even got to join the cast of In Living Color - without going to acting school. It sounds like those stand-up gigs really paid off.
Meg originally planned to become a journalist. She moved to New York and attended NYU to get her journalism degree. But since she needed to earn some extra bucks to pay for school, she acted in TV commercials and landed a role in the soap opera As the World Turns without acting classes or any form of coaching. She started to like acting so much that she dropped out of school (just a semester before her graduation) and joined the Screen Actors Guild.
In California, Cameron was approached by a famous photographer named Jedd Dunas. He asked her about her modeling agency and when he learned that she didn't have one, he offered his business card and encouraged her to reach out when she got an agent. Soon after, she joined a modeling agency and by the time she turned 21, she auditioned for a big role in the film, The Mask. Despite having no training or previous acting experience, she landed the lead role as Tina, opposite Jim Carrey. From that point on, she acted in a couple of independent films and then starred in the film that got her tons of recognition, There's Something About Mary.
If it hadn't been for Nicolas Cage, Johnny probably wouldn't have become an actor. It was Nicolas who advised him to turn to acting while he was struggling as a musician, so he introduced him to his agent and before long, Johnny auditioned for a part in A Nightmare on Elm Street. He ended up landing a lead role as Glen, even though he'd been focusing on music and never went to acting school. This jumpstarted his career, as he continued to land several roles and skyrocket to stardom.
When he was just 15 years old, he was already working as a stand-up comedian. When he turned 19, he got offered a contract to join the cast of Saturday Night Live, and soon after, he made his official film debut as Reggie Hammond in the movie 48 Hrs. Although he continued to pursue his acting career, he still stuck with his comedy. In fact, he released a stand-up special that became so popular, it got a theatrical release and grossed over $50 million!.
Drew made her acting debut in a dog food commercial when she was only 11 months old. But it's no surprise, considering the fact that she was born into a family filled with talented actors. She had the opportunity to hone her acting skills through multiple projects and eventually landed her first credited role as Leslie in the TV Movie Bogie. She made her film debut in Altered States and then played Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, one of the most popular movies from the 1980s. That part made her one of the most famous child stars in Hollywood and helped her land countless other roles.
When he was little, Joaquin and his siblings would perform on the streets together to help provide for their family. They'd sing and play instruments, as well as participate in talent contests. During the process, they were all discovered by Iris Burton, who happened to be one of Hollywood's top children's agents. He got them acting gigs for commercials, and along with his brother River, Joaquin landed his very first role in the show Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. At the time he also appeared as a guest in the show Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia. From then on, Joaquin's acting career took off.
Christian and his family used to move around a lot, and apparently, that played a major role in his decision to become an actor. When he was just 16, he dropped out of school to do acting full time. His first acting roles were in commercials (including a Pac-Man cereal ad where he played a child rock star) and in 1984, he appeared in a comedy play called The Nerd. Two years later, he landed a role in the NBC mini-series Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna and it jumpstarted his acting career. He clearly had a natural talent, because he never went to acting school.
It always helps to have the right connections when it comes to your career – and how Russell Crowe got his start is all the proof we need. His mother’s godfather was the producer of an Australian TV series called Spyforce. And so when Russell was just six, he got hired on the spot to play a small role in one episode of the show. He also got to appear in The Young Doctors.
Though he had no professional training, Russell dropped out of school at 16 to pursue an acting career. He actually intended to apply to the National Institute of Dramatic Art, but after their head of technical support advised him against it, Russell decided to skip that step. He went on to land multiple roles.
Charlize was training to be a professional dancer, but when she injured her knee, her dancing career came to an end. After living in New York, she moved to Los Angeles to get some work in the film industry. She was also struggling financially, so her mom sent her a $500 check, and when the Hollywood Boulevard bank refused to cash it, she made a scene. Little did she know a talent agent (John Crosby) was right behind her, watching the whole thing.
John gave her his business card and got her in contact with several casting agents. And just like that, she started to land multiple acting gigs!
Channing was well on his way to becoming a skilled athlete, especially after he'd earned a full athletic college scholarship to Glenville State College in Virginia. However, he dropped out and started working odd jobs. It wasn't until he moved to Miami when he was spotted by a talent scout. He started to model for companies like Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Gap. But then he started to land a few small acting gigs, including his first appearance as a dancer in Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" music video. He moved on to TV commercials and eventually made his official acting debut as Bob in the show CSI: Miami.
When she was just four, Sarah was spotted by an agent while she was in a restaurant in New York. Within just two weeks, she got to audition for the TV film An Invasion of Privacy. And when she got there, she read her own lines and those of her costar. The directors were so impressed that they cast her to play the role. And after this, she went on to play minor roles in TV shows and films, including Over the Brooklyn Bridge and Funny Farm. But it was her role in the soap opera, All My Children, that earned her a pretty big fan base and launched her career.
Tom initially wanted to be a Catholic priest. But then he dropped out of high school and moved to New York because he developed an interest in acting. He headed straight for the audition rooms and landed quite a few roles, getting his first one as Billy (a lead role!) in Endless Love within just six months. And in the same year, he also managed to snag a small role in the film Taps (they were so impressed that they decided to give him some more lines). As he continued to get more small roles, Tom gained more and more attention, eventually working his way up to become one of the most famous actors in Hollywood.
When she was just 14 and vacationing in New York with her family, Jennifer was spotted by a talent agent. The family temporarily moved to the Big Apple so that Jennifer could read for roles, and though her first cold reading had gone well, her mom wasn’t so sure about letting her daughter pursue an acting career. Still, the CESD Talent Agency convinced Jennifer's parents to let her sign with them and audition for roles in Los Angeles. She did her first small part as a mascot in the show Monk and continued to land quite a few roles. She even developed a passion for it and decided to continue with acting full time.
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