Stars Before They Were Famous: 20 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were In Your Favorite Old Movies

One of my favorite things about watching old movies from the ’90s and early 2000’s is spotting stars before they were famous. It’s so fun to see celebrities who are now solidly on the A-list, being offered leading roles, start off with such tiny, insignificant roles that we forgot they ever made an appearance in some of our favorite movies.

It’s also really fun to see how different these celebs used to look… or how they actually look exactly the same as they do now. Honestly, researching this post made me want to sit down and have a gigantic movie marathon, but, you know, work. Here are 20 celebrities you forgot were in your favorite older movies before they were famous. Enjoy!


Johnny Depp in Nightmare On Elm Street

Let’s start this off with a creepy, weird clip of Johnny Depp’s first movie role in Nightmare On Elm Street. HE’S SO FREAKING CUTE. Look at him! I can’t stand it.


Kristen Stewart in The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas

In one of Kristen’s first roles ever, it looks like just the back of her head appeared for about 2 seconds. Maybe there’s more that’s not on YouTube, I’m not sure. I always forget that Kristen was a child actress before she starred in Twilight.


Mischa Barton in The Sixth Sense

Honestly, Mischa Barton is so creepy in this movie that watching this clip was really difficult for me. This movie is actually terrifying no matter how dumb “I see dead people” sounds. Mischa is well-known for this role, but it’s still fun to remember how scary she was before The OC.


Alexander Skarsgård in Zoolander

I absolutely love that Alexander Skarsgård had this small role. For one thing, it is so, so different from his role as sexy dreamboat Eric Northman in True Blood and it’s great. For another thing, Zoolander is only of the best/stupidest movies ever made. This clip is perfect.


James Franco in Never Been Kissed

Never Been Kissed is one of my favorite ’90s movies, yet I somehow never picked up on the fact that one of my fave male celebrities ever was in it. How did this happen? James Franco had his first movie role ever in this film and he was obviously perfect as the douchey popular kid.


Jessica Alba in Never Been Kissed

Speaking of Never Been Kissed, remember Jessica Alba’s role in the movie? This was probably her second appearance in a movie ever, as the bitchy popular girl who was just mean. I’m so glad she ditched the blonde hair.


Bradley Cooper in Wet Hot American Summer

Bradley Cooper’s first movie role ever was in Wet Hot American Summer as a gay camp counselor. I actually never knew that this role happened until right now, but I love that Bradley played a gay character. It’s so different from his usual role as hot ladies man who’s kind of a jerk.


Nicolas Cage in Fast Times At Ridgemont High

Check it out – around the 1:23 mark, you can see Nicolas Cage in his first movie role ever. LOOK AT HOW YOUNG HE LOOKS. That’s kind of all.


Kerry Washington in Save The Last Dance

I also never realized that Kerry Washington had such a big role in Save The Last Dance. She looks so different here than she does today! I kind of had no idea she did anything before Scandal (oops). This scene is pretty powerful and proves that Kerry really is a great actress.


Scarlett Johansson in Home Alone 3

I never saw Home Alone 3 because it was completely unnecessary, but here’s the trailer featuring a very young Scarlett Johansson (at the 1:05 mark). She looks weirdly exactly the same as she does now.


January Jones in Anger Management

Before her role in Mad Men, January Jones played a lesbian porn star with anger issues in Anger Management. This is the most animated I have seen January Jones um… ever. Seriously.


Vince Vaughn in Rudy

Um, whoa. Look at Vince Vaughn being a young stud in one of his early film roles. Who knew? Side note, if you’ve never seen Rudy, I highly recommend it. One of my professors made us watch this during class one year and at first I was like, ugh, boring football movie… but it’s REALLY good.


Seth Rogen in Donnie Darko

After his role in Freaks and Geeks, Seth Rogen played a creepy, mean bully in Donnie Darko. I love Seth so this makes me sad 🙁


Ashley Benson in 13 Going On 30

How cute is a young Ashley Benson as one of the mean girls in this gem of a movie? I love it! Ashley actually had a bunch of random small roles on TV shows and movies before she landed her role on Pretty Little Liars.


Megan Fox in Holiday In The Sun

Megan Fox’s terrible acting in this terrible (but still amazing) Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movie is basically the reason I wrote this post. I used to be obsessed with this movie and Megan’s role. “Next time, take a number.” BAM. Best comeback ever, obviously.


Katherine Heigl in The Bride Of Chucky

Here is Katherine Heigl being annoying in this weird scary movie. I don’t really have much to say about this?


Ryan Gosling in Remember The Titans

If you know me, then you know this is obviously my favorite thing ever. Ryan Gosling had done a bunch of TV stuff before this, but it’s one of his first big movie roles. He’s perfect in it, obviously.


Sandra Oh in The Princess Diaries

You probably know Sandra Oh from Grey’s Anatomy, but before she was Dr. Yang, she was a neurotic, royalty-obsessed principal in The Princess Diaries. Obviously her best role.


Gwyneth Paltrow in Hook

Around the 1:03 mark, you’ll see Gwyneth as a young Wendy in the movie Hook. It was one of her first movie roles ever, but not surprisingly, she looks exactly the same.


Dakota Fanning in Sweet Home Alabama

Aw! Dakota Fanning played the child version of Reese Witherspoon in this adorable rom-com. I can’t deal with her cute Southern accent. I never knew she was in this one, either.


Which of these was the most surprising to you? Which of these movies is your favorite? What roles did I forget about? Tell me in the comments.


15 celebrities you didn’t know were on your favorite ’90s TV shows

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