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15 Actors Who Almost Quit Their Careers Before Becoming Famous

From 2-time Grammy Award-winning actor Bradley Cooper to Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson, some actors we know and love initially struggled a lot to be where they are today. They were rejected several times and their confidence was shaken, but when they came close to giving up, their determination paid off.

Bright Side collected inspiring stories of such actors and would like to share them with our readers.

1. Henry Cavill

Before Superman and The Witcher came along, Henry Cavill was ready to let acting go and join the armed forces instead. He got rejected for roles so many times that he started believing the industry wasn’t meant for him.

2. Gal Gadot

Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot reveals that she had so many camera tests and rejections before her big break that she told her husband she couldn’t take it anymore. When she was finally called in for a lead role, she was actually shocked.

3. Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper started off as a struggling actor and had plenty of small parts. After years of playing minor roles, he landed a great part in Alias but gradually, his role was cut shorter and shorter. While battling depression, he also ended tearing his calf muscle while playing basketball and had to put off working for an entire year. He admitted that he wanted to quit acting for good around that time.

4. Kristen Stewart

Before she gained worldwide fame as Twilight’s Bella Swan, Kristen Stewart almost gave up on acting. She used to drive around LA with her mom from audition to audition, only to be rejected. She thought she’d give the last audition on her list a shot and then call it off. Thankfully, she was selected for that role.

5. Emma Watson

Emma Watson landed a part in Harry Potter when she was just 9 years old. She had a hard time dealing with attention and wearing too much makeup. She felt as if she was wrong for the job and decided she would quit the industry once the movie series was over. However, Watson later realized the power of her platform and used it to voice important issues like women’s empowerment.

6. Mark Ruffalo

According to Mark Ruffalo, he auditioned for over 600 roles but wasn’t successful. The rejection took a toll on him and he contemplated giving up on his dreams. His mother, however, kept pushing him to achieve his happiness and it all eventually worked out.

7. Claire Danes

Claire Danes struggled to find a role for 2 years in a row and decided to switch her career to interior designing instead. She is now a recipient of 3 Emmy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, and 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and even has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

8. Robert Pattinson

Just like Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson struggled to find work before landing Twilight. According to him, his audition for the vampire drama went horribly wrong and he called his parents and said, “I’m done, I can’t torture myself anymore.” To his surprise, he got a call from the movie the next day.

9. Brie Larson

This Academy Award-winning actress started acting at the age of 9. Failing to land big roles, she played smaller parts and even recorded a pop album but could only sell 4,000 copies. She thought Hollywood wasn’t for her and she applied to different colleges to study marine biology instead. At that time, she was called in for the show, United States of Tara, which eventually skyrocketed her career.

10. Scarlett Johansson

When talking about the early years of her career, Scarlett Johansson revealed that she was tired of being exploited in the industry. She felt stuck and thought about getting a new job and quitting acting.

11. Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen has admitted that she wanted to quit the showbiz life for good because of her sisters’ fame and the way it was affecting them. According to her, the media was abusive to them and would follow the twins everywhere, almost causing accidents a few times.

12. Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown caught the acting bug early at age 8 and despite never attending acting classes, she set out to make a career in Hollywood. She landed a couple of small roles in big shows like Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy but after a point, she felt as though she couldn’t do it anymore. She admits that everything changed when she got to play Eleven in Stranger Things.

13. Chris Hemsworth

Following his role in Star Trek (2009), Chris Hemsworth struggled to find work. Things only got harder and he thought about quitting it all and going back to Australia.

14. David Harbour

David Harbour lost all hope when his show State of Affairs was canceled. He revealed in an interview that at that moment, he said to himself, “I’m done. Hollywood is done with David Harbour. They’re finished.” He got a part in Stranger Things shortly after.

15. Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy faced multiple rejections and couldn’t even land herself an audition at a certain point. She was working 2 other jobs to make ends meet and she decided that if her acting career didn’t become stable by the time she turned 30, she would leave it. A week before her thirtieth birthday, she got a part on Gilmore Girls.

Which story did you find to be the most interesting? Have you ever been rejected in your life? How did you deal with it?