10 Celebrities in Their Early Roles vs Today

year ago

Many actors begin their careers with minor roles or cameo appearances. The celebrities on this list are either award-winning artists or household names today, but a quick look at their early projects reminds us of how hard they’ve worked to earn their current success.

1. Pedro Pascal

© Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Mutant Enemy and co-producers, Vianney Le Caer / Invision / East News

At 48 years old, Pascal has been dubbed the “Internet Daddy,” with fans swooning over him. And while he may be a viral sensation today, The Mandalorian star has actually been appearing on our screens since 1999. One of his early roles was a short stint on the cult favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

2. Aubrey Plaza

Album Online / East News, VALERIE MACON / AFP / East News

The Parks and Recreation alum started as an intern at NBC and an improv performer. Today, she is an actress (known for her deadpan style) and a producer. Her recent role in The White Lotus won her a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe nomination.

3. Colin Farrell

EAST NEWS, Vianney Le Caer / Invision / East News

The Irish actor first displayed his talent in the BBC-produced series, Ballykissangel, back in 1998. He got his first lead movie role 2 years later in the film, Tigerland (pictured above). He has received recognition from various award-giving bodies, including the Golden Globes. But this year marks another milestone in his career, as he was nominated in the Best Actor category for the first time at the Oscars.

4. Jamie Lee Curtis

Album Online / East News, VALERIE MACON / AFP / East News

The actress, who has been labeled as the “Scream Queen” for her roles in the horror and slasher genres, now boasts multiple awards under her belt. She began her career in the late ’70s, on a sitcom called Operation Petticoat. Her latest movie, Everything Everywhere All at Once, literally put her everywhere on our social media feeds thanks to her award-winning performance.

5. Anne Hathaway

PHOTOlink / Everett Collection / East News, Marechal Aurore / ABACA / Abaca / East News

Most of us remember Hathaway’s breakout role in The Princess Diaries in 2001. After more than 2 decades in the industry, the princess has transformed into a Hollywood queen. She has taken on more roles that showcased her dramatic prowess, like Fantine in Les Miserables, which earned her an Oscar trophy for Best Supporting Actress.

6. Ryan Gosling

© The Believer / Fuller Films and co-producer, NBC / Ferrari Press / East News

The Canadian actor was among the many child stars propelled into stardom by Disney Channel’s Micky Mouse Club. He landed his first film role in 2001 (The Believer), and his career skyrocketed from there. He shared that he accepted his latest project, the movie, Barbie, after he saw a shirtless Ken doll in his backyard and took that as a sign. He is also a father to 2 beautiful daughters he shares with his partner, Eva Mendes.

7. Michelle Yeoh

© Yes, Madam! / D & B Films Co. Ltd., Jordan Strauss / Invision / East News

Yeoh made history by being the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and being the first Asian to be nominated in the Best Actress category at the Academy Awards, which she went on to win. She also recently won an award at the Golden Globes. Some people call her victories “long overdue,” especially since she has exhibited great talent since 1985.

8. Penn Badgley

The actor is mainly known today for his roles as Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl and Joe Goldberg in Netflix’s You. But before he took on the cute-guy-hiding-a-dark-secret type of character, Badgley was a child star with cameo appearances on sitcoms like Will & Grace and What I Like About You. Recently, he made headlines for admitting that he refused to participate in intimate scenes out of respect for his wife.

9. Viola Davis

Davis has indeed come a long way since her humble beginnings. Her father was a horse trainer, and her mother was a maid. She began her passion for the arts and acting in high school. One of Davis’s early roles was in the medical drama, City of Angels (pictured above), which aired in 2000. Fast forward to over 2 decades later, and Davis is now one of the few performers who belong to the elite category of the EGOTs, which means she has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

10. Brendan Fraser

Album Online / East News, Jordan Strauss / Invision / East News

The actor, known for his lead roles in George of the Jungle and The Mummy, broke his big showbiz in 1992 with the comedy, Encino Man (photo above). But he took a break from Hollywood after his stunt performances took a toll on his health, leading to several injuries and surgeries. In 2022, fans celebrated the actor’s comeback with the film, The Whale, which also helped Fraser land his first Oscar nomination and win in the Best Actor category.

Preview photo credit Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Mutant Enemy and co-producers, Vianney Le Caer / Invision / East News


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