14 Actors Who Took the World by Storm With Their Movie or TV Show Debuts
While for some it takes years of hard work and sacrifice to become a star, some lucky actors get tons of praise and even win awards after their movie debut. These stories prove, once again, that talent and hard work are not always the key to success without a little luck on your side. We’ve collected a list of actors who were born with the word “star” hanging above their heads.
1. Cameron Diaz in The Mask
Diaz was a model before trying out 12 times for the role of Tina in The Mask. Her persistence and talent helped her beat other bombshells like Anna Nicole Smith, Vanessa L. Williams, and Kristy Swanson for the role. Diaz rose to fame quickly and became a real public favorite known all over the world in just 3 years.
2. Chris Hemsworth in Star Trek
The Thor actor appeared in a short beginning scene in the 2009 sci-fi film, Star Trek, the reboot of the classic ’60s television series. For his work, Hemsworth received a Boston Society of Film Critics Award in the category of Best Ensemble Cast.
3. Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween
Jamie Lee Curtis became the new scream queen after her debut in John Carpenter’s 1978 horror film, Halloween. The film had a huge success and was considered the highest-grossing independent film of its time, earning accolades as a classic horror film.
4. Kate Winslet as Juliet Hulme in Heavenly Creatures
Kate Winslet’s debut film with Melanie Lynskey was a dark drama based on a true crime story. It was her mature acting in this film that earned her recognition from directors as well as her first awards.
5. Selena Gomez in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
6. Tom Hanks in He Knows You’re Alone
Before Tom Hanks was taking home Oscars, he starred in a horror movie about a bride who was being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. Hanks got a supporting role that was originally written to be killed. But the filmmakers liked him so much, they omitted his death scene. While the film was a disappointment, Hanks was able to immediately follow it with a lead role on a hit TV sitcom.
7. Viola Davis in The Substance of Fire
Viola Davis made her film debut in the drama, The Substance of Fire, which stars Tony Goldwyn and Sarah Jessica Parker.
8. Dwayne Johnson in The Mummy Returns
Dwayne Johnson made his film debut as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. The picture shattered a 2-year record for the highest-grossing film in a single day in cinema history. The success of the film led to Johnson’s first leading role in the spin-off, The Scorpion King. He was paid $5.55 million for the role, and Guinness World Records dubbed him the highest-paid actor in their first leading role.
9. Gal Gadot in Fast & Furious
10. Leonardo DiCaprio in Critters 3
Leonardo DiCaprio made his film debut in Critters 3, playing a young boy who fights against evil critters taking over his apartment complex. This role brought him into the industry, and within just 2 years, he got a role in the drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, where he played a mentally challenged boy. This role earned him nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.
11. Reese Witherspoon in The Man in the Moon
Reese Witherspoon made her first big-screen debut in The Man in the Moon, which helped her land an agent and launch a successful career. She responded to an open casting call for a bit part, but her audition won her the lead role of Dani Trant, a 14-year-old country girl who falls in love for the first time with her 17-year-old neighbor.
12. Halle Berry in Jungle Fever
Halle Berry’s first role was in a Spike Lee film, in which she plays a troubled woman named Vivian. As the actress later confessed, she is very glad that her first role was exactly as it was. “I took on roles early on that really didn’t rely on my physical self at all and that was a good way to sort of get some credibility within my industry,” admitted Berry.
13. Megan Fox in Holiday in the Sun
The Transformers star got her start in a Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film, where she played a snobby rich girl who shared a resort with the twins.
14. Chris Pine in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Chris Pine made his feature film debut in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. The role of Lord Devereaux brought him success among audiences, making the hearts of a million viewers purr.