We have long been taught that Hollywood is a “dream factory,” a place where any dreams come true. However, before the dreams begin to come true, you need to get to this “factory.”
And many work hard for this: they sign up for castings, spend the night at the doors of studios, study in acting schools and play in amateur theaters, only to get an invitation to the episodic role of coach, governess or corpse lying third out of the eight victims in a three-second scene from a film about the apocalypse.
However, there are also such lucky people in cinema who were hired, sometimes even against their will. They were hired and made stars with multi-million dollar royalties coming their way. We will remind you here of some of the most vivid examples of how the future idols of millions got their first major roles, just being in the right place at the right time, sometimes by looking at samples with their friends. And in this, too, there is a kind of cinema magic – talent will find its way to the viewer, no matter how the gifted resisted fate.
1. Marilyn Monroe
All her childhood and youth, she wandered in and out of foster families and orphanages, so Norma Jean Mortenson could hardly have imagined that she would someday become a sex symbol and one of the most recognizable people in the world – all her dreams rested on a meek quiet life, without constant relocations and social shifts. Fortune found the future Marilyn Monroe at one of the American aircraft factories where a military photographer visited, making a series of photographs designed to inspire the American military. The openness and plasticity of the girl stuck to the photographer so well that he offered to pose her in another photoshoot for a modest fee. A couple of published frames opened Marilyn Monroe’s, the future superstar, first door into the modeling business, and then to Hollywood.
2. Wilford Brimley
Americans call Wilford Brimley a real treasure. This actor has more than 70 works in his filmography, but the irony of fate is that he was never going to be an actor. Brimley worked as a blacksmith and a shepherd on a ranch, and with show business he was connected only by a short period of service in the state guard of Howard Hughes. However, the ability to stay in the saddle, the ability not to portray but to be a real cowboy, and his colorful appearance could not go unnoticed by Hughes-spinning cinematographers – Brimley was invited to play in a pair of westerns and he turned out to be a real gold nugget. Debuting in “True Grit,” Wilford Brimley then decorated with his presence such movies as “Cocoon,” “The Firm,” ” The Thing” and “Hard Target.”
3. Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson had his first acting experience in the Sydney theater, but the young man did not even dream of Hollywood. Nevertheless, along with his friend, Gibson went to the “Mad Max,” trials although he did not expect much – on the eve of the audition, Mel, never known for his restraint, was involved in a bar fight, and therefore looked like a badly mashed plum. George Miller glanced at the bruised applicant and noted in his notebook that Gibson might be useful for a third-rate role as one of the desert villains, but when the young actor returned a few weeks later to sign the contract, the director was stunned by the body shape and the unusual beauty of the guy. Considering that Gibson’s face would look better in the foreground, Miller suggested that Mel become Max Rockatansky, which made Gibson one of the biggest stars of his generation.
4. Johnny Depp
The history of the cinema debut of Johnny Depp, one of the most popular and highly paid Hollywood actors, is widely known. Young Johnny accompanied a friend to audition for Wes Craven’s “The Nightmare on Elm Street.” Yet, his friend failed, but the director noticed the loitering Depp and invited him to try for the role of Glen. As a result, Johnny got his first role, which is remembered not only by fans of horror, but also other viewers. And who was his unfortunate friend? You will laugh, but that day fortune turned from Jackie Earle Haley, the same one who, years later, in the remake of “Nightmare” played the main role. These are the bends of fate.
5. Jason Statham
Everyone knows that Jason Statham, before becoming an actor, was very successful in sports and even represented the UK diving national team in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. But an athletic career is usually short, and, in a few years, Jason made a living in London by selling fake jewelry in the streets. Here, he was noticed by Guy Ritchie’s team, who was looking for new faces for his action movie “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Perhaps Statham did not have any acting experience, but he was a bottomless storehouse of urban wisdom and cunning techniques of street hucksters – so he did not need to act, he just continued to live the same life. The film turned out to be bright and memorable, its composition was instantly famous and became unusually in demand, and Statham, from the jewellery seller, instantly turned into an action hero.
6. Pamela Anderson
Being a Vancouver fitness instructor, Pamela Anderson could hardly imagine what would come of her innocuous appearance to a football match on a 1985 regular summer day. A busty blonde packed in a tight T-shirt with the logo of the Labatt beer company on her chest, was only once caught by the camera of a local operator and instantly became the main star of the match – Anderson was broadcast on the stadium screen, each time provoking a standing ovation. The future TV star was even asked to enter the field after the game. Without thinking twice, the brewers offered the new star an advertising contract, and this led to otherphoto shoots – in 1989, Pamela was already posing for Playboy. Hollywood did not sit aside for a long time – after a couple of small TV roles, Anderson became the main attraction of the beaches of Malibu.
7. Matthew McConaughey
Born in Texas, Matthew McConaughey was to follow in the footsteps of his father, the owner of a gas station – the parents of the future star considered the small but strong business a much more promising future than playing in school theater. And actually Matthew himself was not particularly keen on show business, starring in a couple of commercials and not thinking about how to pursue an acting career. The breaking point in McConaughey’s career happened, as expected, in a good movie, after an encounter in a real Texan bar in Austin. At the bar, young Matthew met with the producer and casting director of Richard Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused.” It’s funny that Linklater first rejected McConaughey, considering him too beautiful for David’s role, but Matthew grew a vile mustache and thin long hair, which forced the director to change his mind.
8. Charlize Theron
South African beauty Charlize Theron moved from Johannesburg to the United States at the age of 18 and initially worked with a considerable degree of success in the modeling business, but the move from New York to Los Angeles and the resulting job loss painfully hit the girl – she could barely make ends meet for months and lived in a time-worn mansion. Having received a long-awaited $500 check from her mother, Theron went to the bank, but was faced with a misunderstanding – the clerk refused to cash a payment document issued outside of America. Charlize made a scene, because, without the cash, she risked spending the next night on the street. Theron’s passionate speech was noticed by John Hurt and Rene Russo’s impresario, who was standing in the same queue, and he left the girl his business card, and, some time later, he invited her to a casting call.
9. Evangeline Lilly
Canadian Evangeline Lilly was not just not intending to become an actress, she was never even interested in a modeling career. Before getting on the screen, Lilly managed to work as a flight attendant, a waitress and played the role of a hotline operator for single men for a one-time commercial shoot. Evangeline’s acting career began with a casual meeting – on the street of a small Canadian town, the girl was approached by an agent of the modeling agency named Ford and made her an offer to work with them. Lilly did not aspire to reach the podium or the covers of glossy magazines, but she was in desperate need of money to pay for her studies, and so, she agreed and even moved to Vancouver for it. Then followed the proposals for small roles in a few TV series and the breakthrough that was Lost.
10. Rosario Dawson
You will laugh, but Rosario Dawson did not even have to leave the house in order to make her first steps to fame. A photographer who was looking for scenery and actors for the Kids project directed by Larry Clarke took a photo of a fifteen-year-old Rosario sitting on the threshold of her house in New York. The man approached the teenage girl and offered her to do a movie, but the future actress did not hurry with the answer. Several times, the director and producers came to Dawson’s home and finally persuaded her to work on the set. A tough independent drama did not go unnoticed either by the critics or by Clarke’s colleagues – Rosario was drowning in job offers. In the following years, the actress starred in a number of blockbusters and independent drama projects.
11. Channing Tatum
It is unlikely that glory would pass such a handsome man as Channing Tatum by, but fate could well have developed in such a way that we would have known about this man not from films, but from sports chronicles. The point is that, while in school, the young Channing showed interest not in the humanities or natural science disciplines, but in sports. And he was so successful that he received a full sports scholarship at a college in West Virginia. Any other guy would gladly seize such an opportunity, but Tatum did not want to leave the Florida he loved, so he moved to Miami, where he managed to work as a builder, salesman and even a stripper, until he was noticed by a casting agent of a model company. After having appeared on many front pages of fashion magazines, Channing Tatum then starred in Ricky Martin’s music video for “She Bangs,” and then moved to cinema.
12. Natalie Portman
If you have never imagined the idea of a dinner with Natalie Portman before, then this story should kindle your appetite – the point is that the advertising agent of the Revlon cosmetic firm noticed Natalie when she was eating pizza in a common snack bar on Long Island. How does eating a dish familiar to everyone since childhood get you a deal in cosmetics advertising? We also cannot imagine this, but the fact remains: 11-year-old Natalie got a job right in the pizzeria. It should be noted that Portman did not show much interest in this kind of show business then, because she did not want to be just a model and a face on a cover, she dreamed of playing in cinema and she achieved this very soon.
13. Jennifer Lawrence
The career of Jennifer Lawrence is like a fairy tale – in her 26 years, this actress has already received an Oscar, in addition to three other nominations, three Golden Globes and dozens of other honors from all over the world. Lawrence has played the lead role in the YA adaptation of The Hunger Games and played an important role in the”X-Men” prequels, while not leaving aside the more prestigious drama productions. But it could have been that no one would ever have heard of Jennifer – her first steps toward popularity were an accident. At the age of 12, Lawrence came with her parents on a vacation to New York from her native Kentucky and was spotted by an agent in search of young talents. Shortly after this encounter, the girl received her first proposals for advertising shoots, and three years later, Jennifer debuted in the series Monk.