7 Silver Screen Debuts Of Critically-Acclaimed Actors

Everybody has to start somewhere, and these seven actors and actresses all started small on the silver screen before making it big with the blockbuster hits they star in today.

1. Bradley Cooper


Now a major motion picture star with titles like Silver Linings Playbook and The Hangover trilogy under his belt, Cooper was always destined for success. After a quick stop as a downtown smoker on a little show you might have heard of called Sex and the City, Cooper made his splash onto the silver screen in the cult classic Wet Hot American Summer, missing his grad school graduation to shoot the film.

2. Jennifer Lawrence


Despite her thrilling roles as My Super Sweet 16 party-thrower for MTV commercials and a mascot in an episode of Monk, technically Lawrence’s first movie role was Devil You Know, billed as released in 2012 but with principal photography happening in 2005, right after her famed big break during a family trip to New York City when she was just 14.

3. Brad Pitt


Most people remember Brad Pitt first as J.D. in 1991’s Thelma and Louise, a shirtless scene which launched a brilliant career. But actually it was after stints on 21 Jump Street, Dallas, and Growing Pains that a 1988 Yugoslavian-American film called The Dark Side of the Sun gave Pitt his first leading film billing.

4. Amy Adams


It took co-starring with Kirstie Alley in Drop Dead Gorgeous to get Amy Adams her first film role. But it would take spins in movies such as Catch Me If You Can and Junebug for Adams to break out and movies like Enchanted and Julie & Julia for the star to become a household name.

5. Ben Affleck


Although his big break came at 25 with the Academy Award-winning film Good Will Hunting starring budding star and friend Matt Damon along with involvement from film titans Robin Williams and Gus Van Sant, Affleck’s first film role came much earlier, at age 7 in fact, in a small independent movie called The Dark End of the Street, done by a friend of the family.

6. Jessica Chastain


One of the many now famous actors who stopped through Veronica Mars on their way to superstardom, Chastain’s now famous performances in The Help and Zero Dark Thirty all started off with her first film role as the titular character in 2008’s Jolene.

7. Hugh Jackman


One of today’s most famous song-and-dance men (and weirdly hated by Scrubs’ Dr. Cox), Jackman got his start, and met his wife, doing television and theater in his native Australia. But after reaching acclaim through stage work like Oklahoma came Jackman’s first film role in 1999’s Erskineville Kings, a movie which would earn him a best actor award from the Film Critics Circle of Australia.

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Jazmine Woodberry

Jazmine Woodberry is a communications professional working in nonprofit communications, journalism, and technical writing and editing. As a professional writer, she has had work published by Thomson Reuters, The New York Times Co., the Huffington Post, the Arizona Republic, the Chicago Tribune, Gourmet News to name a few. When not writing for work or for fun, she's easily found in a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant, on a night ride on her vintage Schwinn road bike, wearing scarves and boots during whatever season she pleases and indulging in all-day TV and movie marathons when she can squeeze it in her schedule.

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