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What 19 Famous Actors Looked Like At The Beginning Of Their Career?

It’s not easy to ascend to the peaks of the Hollywood Hills and become a well-known celebrity. You have to be either really good at acting or really good-looking! Actors and actresses usually set the curve for physical beauty and there are a lot of people who are in movies for eye candy instead of talent.

However, contrary to popular belief, actors who possess peculiar appearances and charisma tend to be the most memorable. Celebrity star leads are often very good looking and many actually just play a slight variation on themself in every movie, while unconventional-looking actors have to rely almost purely on their acting talents, which can make for memorable roles as well as long-term success.

Here are what the actors who have bright and unique appearances looked like at the beginning of their career — the time that the world began to fall in love with them.

#1 Mads Mikkelsen

Source: theofficialmads / Instagram

Did you know Mads Mikkelsen didn’t become an actor until he was in his 30s? He only became an actor to follow in the footsteps of his brother. Previously he was a dancer.
Can you imagine this Bond villain as a dancer? His dancing skills weren’t utilized on the big screen until recently in Another Round, the latest movie by Thomas Vinterberg.

#2 Marc Anthony

Source: RCF / MEGA / Mega Agency / East News

Fun fact, Marc Anthony has so far sold more than 12 million musical albums worldwide. That’s a lot for a tropical salsa artist. But apart from his illustrious music career, Marc has also starred in films such as Hackers, Bringing out the Dead, El Cantante, In the Time of the Butterflies, etc.

#3 Ciaran Hinds

Source: Aidan Monaghan / AMC / East News

Just like Mads Mikkelsen, before starting his career, Ciaran Hinds was a dancer. He was involved in Irish dancing as well as studying to become a lawyer. Luckily that didn’t happen, otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten one of the greatest supporting actors of all time.

#4 Benedict Cumberbatch

Source: Invision / Invision / East News

Ben here used to live in Tibet, teaching English to monks. He then tried to hone his acting chops by studying in not one, but TWO acting schools. First the Victoria University of Manchester, then the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

#5 Vincent Cassel

Source: AXELLE / BAUER-GRIFFIN / MEGA / Mega Agency / East News

Vincent got his big break with the movie La Haine when director Mathieu Kassovitz noticed his talents in another movie Métisse.

#6 Alan Rickman

Source: AFP / East News

Can you believe Rickman started on-screen acting at 42 years old? His first on-screen role was the action classic Die Hard. Before that, he was famous only to English Theatre fans.

#7 Woody Harrelson

Source: Invision/Invision / East News

Woody Harrelson appeared on TV screens in 1985, in the fourth season of the Cheers series. It’s thanks to this role that he got famous. However, Harrelson dreamed about a career on the big screen. From 1991-1994, he appeared in the movie Doc Hollywood, and then in the flicks, White Men Can’t Jump, Natural Born Killers, and Indecent Proposal.

#8 Jack Nicholson

Source: WENN.com / agefotostock / East News

Nicholson has had dreams of becoming an actor ever since he was young. After graduating from school, he moved to Los Angeles where his talent for being an illustrator was starting to be noticed. However, Nicholson slowly shifted from this to acting. After 4 years, he got the main role in The Cry Baby Killer.

#9 Joaquin Phoenix

Source: HFPA Photographer / Capital Pictures Russia / East News

Joaquin mainly played small TV roles back in the 80s. In 2000 he gained world fame with the movie The Gladiator. After this, he continued to shift between small indies and mid budget character films until Joker.

#10 Hugo Weaving

Source: Thomas Bohlen / Starface / East News

Hugo was born in Nigeria. But just one year after his birth, his family returned to Great Britain. But Hugo didn’t become interested in acting until his family moved again. This time, to Australia, where he enrolled in The National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sidney.

#11 Danny DeVito

Source: Grosby Group / East News

Fun fact, DeVito and Nicholson have known each other since childhood. Their families owned a barbershop in New Jersey. They’ve shared on-screen appearances in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, where DeVito played a mental patient.

#12 Quentin Tarantino

Source: Elizabeth Goodenough / Everett Collection / East News

Unlike some of the other names on this list, it seems that filmmaking has always been on Tarantino’s mind. At the age of 14, Quentin wrote one of his first scenarios Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit. At the age of 15, he worked as an usher at an adult movie theater in Torrance.

#13 Willem Dafoe

Source: JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP / East News

Dafoe gave up on his academic pursuits when he was young. He quit college and joined an experimental youth theater. His first notable screen role was in Platoon, after numerous other minor ones. The role got him an Oscar nod.

#14 Anthony Hopkins

Source: Sony Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection/East News

One of the best and most experienced actors currently in the business, Hopkins had his start in theatre. Dreaming of becoming a silver screen actor, he moved from London to Hollywood.

#15 Lawrence Fishburne

Source: History Channel / Courtesy Everett Collection / East News

Fishburne had his start fairly early. He played a 17-year-old soldier in Apocalypse Now when he was just 14. He lied about his age. Ironically the production took so long that by the time the film had been released he was already 17.

#16 Bryan Cranston


Bryan originally either wanted to be a cop or a priest. Weird, right? For some reason this turned into commercial acting, then minor roles, then Malcom in the Middle, then Breaking Bad!

#17 Steve Buscemi

Source: Invision / Invision / East News

Steve was involved in acting quite young. He started in student plays where he wrote and set them himself. Steve partnered up with the Coens in Miller’s Crossing, and the rest was history.

#18 Garou

Source: Jakub Kaminski / East News

Garou had always been a song and dance kinda guy, learning to play the guitar just from the age of 3. After forming a band called Untouchables, he was invited to play Quasimodo, which propelled him to fame, both in France and the entire world.

#19 Javier Bardem

Source: Andrews Archie / ABACA/Abaca / East News

Bardem debuted at the age of 21, having played a small role in The Ages of Lulu. Then he was offered the part in Jámon Jámon, playing a ham merchant and an underwear male model.