We are so used to watching famous actors that it’s hard to imagine them as anything other than the talented performers we see today. However, Hollywood’s royalty have forgotten early movie roles that demonstrate just how far they’ve come over the years.
Some A-listers started their careers when they were still in school, a few even hit the big screen as preschoolers, others started a little later in life, but the one thing they all have in common is this; they’re all completely unrecognizable in their earliest roles.
Here’s the shocking transformations 16 of Hollywood’s biggest stars have made since they first hit our screens.
1. Johnny Depp (54) – A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984
2. Kristen Stewart (27) – Panic Room, 2002
3. Nicolas Cage (53) – Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1982
4. Drew Barrymore (42), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982
A little-known fact about Drew Barrymore’s breakout role in E.T. was that her inventive personality that landed her the part. She reportedly began lying during the audition, telling director Steven Spielberg that she wasn’t an actress but a drummer in a punk rock band!
It’s hard to believe looking at the picture below that Critters 3 was filmed just six years before DiCaprio’s unforgettable role in Titanic (1997). He was just 16 filming the low-budget movie. Prior to this role, DiCaprio appeared in various TV shows and commercials.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio (42) – Critters 3, 1991
6. Cameron Diaz (45) – The Mask, 1994
7. Elijah Wood (36) – Back to the Future Part II, 1986
8. Jaden Smith (19) – The Karate Kid, 2010
Son of Will Smith, Jaden was focused on his career from an early age and claimed to have stopped watching TV entirely at the age of 10. Whilst The Karate Kid was his first starring role, he’d achieved critical acclaim acting alongside his father in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006).
Like many other famous actors, Winslet’s career began on TV in 1991 on the British children’s TV show Dark Season. Whist her role in Heavenly Creatures was well received, it was not until she played Marianne Dashwood in the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility that she hit the big time.
9. Kate Winslet (41) – Heavenly Creatures, 1994
10. Christian Bale (43) – Mio in the Land of Faraway, 1987
11. Natalie Portman (36) – Léon: The Professional, 1994
12. Jennifer Aniston (48) – Leprechaun, 1993
Is it just me, or has Jennifer Aniston barely aged a day?! Aniston was determined to make it as an actress and after years of struggling, working various jobs just to make end’s meat, she finally got her breakthrough role in Leprechaun, but didn’t hit the big time until she appeared in Friends.
After achieving success on the TV series My So-Called Life (1994), Leto landed his first film role at the age of 25 in How to Make an American Quilt. His role in the movie helped it be nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
13. Jared Leto (45) – How to Make an American Quilt, 1995
14. Jack Gleeson (25) – Batman Begins, 2005
15. Zooey Deschanel (37) – Almost Famous, 2000
16. Angelina Jolie (42) – Lookin’ to Get Out, 1982
The road to becoming Hollywood royalty is a long one. Whilst it’s easy to assume that stars like Johnny Depp have always been famous, that’s definitely not the case. Prior to his role in A Nightmare on Elm Street, he was working as a telemarketer selling pens!
So keep your eye on the big screen – you never know which breakout stars are going to have careers that stand the test of time.