7 Actors Who Got Famous After Only One D*** Scene

It can be a challenging business to appear in a single scene. These supporting parts sometimes have to compete with the main character's development. The one-scene-wonder is usually meant to do double duty by advancing the plot and providing some light amusement. Poor execution makes it hard to believe one is actually in the film.
However, these moments can become project highlights or historic adds if executed properly. These movie scenes, which made these performers unmistakable household names, were either humorous, seductive, or downright surprising, if not all three. Scroll down to see the list of the seven actors who became famous after only one scene.

1. Cameron Diaz - The Mask

Source: Paramount Pictures

She made her film debut in Jim Carrey's 1994 comedy The Mask, and her first scene left a lasting impression. Diaz, who plays gangster's moll Tina Carlyle, stunned spectators and Carrey's protagonist Stanley Ipkiss when she entered his bank in a damp red dress. The sequence is more about Diaz's beauty than her acting, but the rest of the film reveals she had more to contribute than her charms.
By the late '90s, Diaz was one of Hollywood's most bankable actresses and remained a box office draw until 2014. (as she formally confirmed in 2018). Despite Diaz's many high-profile and praised jobs over the next 20 years, this is the scene her admirers remember most.

2. Matthew McConaughey - Dazed & Confused

Source: New Line Cinema

Matthew McConaughey rose to fame as stoner David Wooderson in Dazed and Confused. The picture launched the careers of Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, and Renee Zellweger, but not McConaughey. He scoops up Pink (Jason London) and Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) and says, "All right, all right, all right." McConaughey became a sought-after actor with roles in Lone Star, A Time to Kill, Contact, and Amistad. Since then, the Dazed and Confused sequence has become McConaughey's hallmark. He even referenced it when receiving his Best Actor Oscar in 2014.

3. Brad Pitt - Thelma & Louise

Source: MGM

Brad Pitt's brief cameo as handsome vagabond J.D. in Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Thelma & Louise turned many heads. He's only in the film for seven minutes, yet he leaves moviegoers wondering who this extraordinarily attractive young man was. What scene made him a Hollywood heartthrob? When he removes his shirt and shows Thelma (Geena) his abs before their epic love encounter. Pitt looks just as good shirtless in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood nearly 30 years later. His role as a seductive hustler with ulterior motivations in Thelma & Louise made him an A-lister.

4. Terry Crews - White Chicks

Source: Columbia Pictures

White Chicks is a poor movie, but it helped the world love Terry Crews. White Chicks immortalized Crews in pop culture for the scene where he sings "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton. Crews' dynamic performance, singing loudly and shaking his head to the instruments, is the film's funniest scene and put him on audiences' radars. Crews was a regular supporting player in comedy and action films for years before landing Terry Jeffords on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Without his meme-worthy role in White Chicks, who knows?

5. Johnny Depp - A Nightmare On Elm Street

Source: Universal

By mistake, Johnny Depp got the role of Heather Langenkamp's (Nancy Thompson) boyfriend Glen in A Nightmare on Elm Street. He brought his buddy Jackie Earle Haley to the audition and won the job himself. Horror is replete with awkward early roles for A-list performers, but Depp's is fine. Glen is best known for his strange, violent death scene in Freddy's dream, as he is pulled into his bed and his blood shoots out like a geyser.
It's one of the genre's most memorable deaths and helped put Depp on Hollywood casting agencies' radars. After playing undercover detective Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street, his movie career took off. Depp's career could have gone differently if he hadn't attended Haley's audition.

6. Shannon Elizabeth - American Pie

Source: Sony Pictures

Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Natasha Lyonne, and Tara Reid's careers were launched by American Pie. Shannon Elizabeth made waves as Nadia, a Czech exchange student Jim (Biggs), lusts over. Her most famous scene is the movie's centerpiece when Nadia "studies" at Jim's house, and he sets up a webcam to broadcast the shenanigans. Nadia invites Jim to undress with her, but he has two premature climaxes, which everyone in school witnesses when the video goes viral.
Elizabeth confessed the sequence couldn't be filmed today, but it established her as a sex symbol of early 2000s Hollywood. After that, she appeared in Scary Movie, the second and fourth American Pie Movies, and both Jay and Silent Bob features. Elizabeth is retired and focuses on animal rescue and conservation, but many still call her Nadia.

7. Christopher Mintz-Plasse - Superbad

Source: Sony Pictures

Superbad is one of the most memorable comedies of the last 20 years, nicknamed Fogell. McLovin is an all-timer character (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). McLovin was immortalized at the moment where Fogell shows his bogus ID to buy wine as a 25-year-old Hawaiian organ donor named "McLovin." The silliness of Fogell's ID and how it clashed with his fresh-faced, dweeby demeanor made him a genre classic.
Mintz-Plasse has more than 50 film and TV credits since his Superbad debut, yet the typical person probably doesn't know his real name and calls him McLovin. The performance has cast a big shadow over everything he's done since. However, his recent role in Promising Young Woman reversed his "good guy" character. People would call him McLovin if he won an Oscar. Chris, sorry.
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