Before They Were Famous: 13 Surprising First Roles

We were listening to Drake's "Started From The Bottom" the other day when we suddenly wondered, where did our favorite stars begin their careers? Sure, the Olsen Twins were famous before they could even walk, but where did Scarlett Johansson have her first cinematic fling? What happened before Jennifer Lawrence was modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch and tripping over fellow A-listers at the Oscars? They obviously didn't just beam themselves down from some talent spaceship and win the hearts of millions overnight (though, this might actually have happened with Emma Stone). So, we got to digging.
Some of these roles may surprise you, others might shock (hel-lo Sofía Vergara!), and others are just too cute to comprehend. One thing's for sure, these guys have come a long way, but are in no means going away. Oh, and we highly suggest playing our inspiration song while relishing in the nostalgia.
Zoë Saldana, Center Stage, 2000
Before she was an Avatar or kicking some space-age butt in Star Trek, Zoë was just an aspiring dancer trying to win over that spotlight. It's safe to say she's basking in it now.
Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
Jennifer Lawrence, Garden Party, 2008
Look at that hair! It's full of the secrets to Oscar-winning success, which apparently consist of playing a 15-year-old, chain-smoking runaway trying to make it big in L.A.
Anna Kendrick, Camp, 2003
Anna Kendrick sealed her destiny as Hollywood's fun, but not overbearing, theater girl in one of the more over-the-top comedies this generation has seen.
Channing Tatum, Coach Carter, 2005
Okay, so Tatum's first role was in CSI: Miami, but since we're going with the whole movie thing, we're going to talk about his Coach Carter debut as Jason Lyle, the rapper extraordinaire with a killer body. Seriously, though, watch the CSI clip. It's everything.
Emma Stone, Superbad, 2007
So, Stone's breakout movie role was in Superbad as the most popular girl in school (a good girl at heart with a bad-girl front). But we all know that she started out singing for The Partridge Family reboot. Click it, watch it, revel in it, become it.
Brit Marling, Political Disasters, 2009
Marling has been on a slow track to fame. Her first film was a short with her friend and co-director Zal Batmanglij that virtually doesn't exist anywhere. This is her second film, in which she makes a small cameo as herself gearing up for the Y2K apocalypse — could this have influenced her breakout film Another Earth? Perhaps. Luckily, that one is easier to track down.
Jessica Chastain, Blackbeard, 2006
This made-for-TV movie is like Pirates of The Caribbean without the Jerry Bruckheimer touch — but Chastain could have easily given Keira Knightley a run for her corset.
Robert Pattinson, Vanity Fair, 2004
His role as the Older Rawdy Crawley was unfortunately uncredited in the final cut (this scene never actually made the movie). It's a shame because he looks so darling and doe-eyed, and Reese Witherspoon doesn't even end up with him! Gah! Unrequited love, you slay us every time.
Kerry Washington, Our Song, 2000
Washington was 22 when she played the 15-year-old Lanisha Brown, living in Crown Heights struggling to better herself as her community loses its school. Just looking at her, you know she was destined for bigger things. Not long after, she starred in Save The Last Dance, where she gives one of the sassiest finger-snaps to ever hit the silver screen (go to 00:34 and bow down).
Sofía Vergara, Big Trouble, 2002
Before she was the bombshell, she was Nina: a young girl who has no problem beating Stanley Tucci with a crucifix if it means he stops licking her feet. Yes, this is a thing that happened, and yes, it's uncomfortable, but serious foreshadowing of her feisty career.
Eddie Redmayne, Like Minds, 2006
It comforts us to see that Redmayne hasn't aged one bit since this film. He's just too pretty for that.
Scarlett Johansson, North, 1994
Look at Scarlett Johnansson as a seven-year-old, playing the perfect daughter of a perfect family living in the perfect house that a young Elijah Wood happens to come live in. Just look at how adorable she is. Who knew she'd blossom into the screen siren she is today! Side note: Elijah Wood was a child named North way before Kimye even existed.
Rosario Dawson, Kids, 1995
If there was a breakout role to end all breakout roles, it would be starring in Kids. You're automatically an indie darling with street cred, and Rosario Dawson's rode that wave ever since.

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