46 Surprising Celebrity Acting Roles From Waaayyyyy Before They Were Famous

·9 min read

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which actors they were surprised to learn were in ~that~ TV show or movie before they became famous. Here are the wild results.

1.Ashley Tisdale was a student in Donnie Darko:

Ashley as a student in "Donnie Darko" and Sharpay in "HSM 3"

Suggested by hopestyles

What you know her from: The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the High School Musical series, and Merry Happy Whatever

Pandora Cinema/ Disney Channel

2.Scarlett Johansson was Alex's older sister in Home Alone 3:

ScarJo in "Home Alone 3" and as Black Widow in the newest movie trailer

Suggested by Shubham Deo Pujan, Facebook

What you know her from: Jojo Rabbit, the Avengers series, Lost in Translation, and Marriage Story

Hughes Entertainment / Marvel

3.Octavia Spencer was the check-in lady at the wrestling arena in Spider-Man:

Octavia in "Spider-Man" and accepting her Oscar

Suggested by siverth

What you know her from: Hidden Figures, Fruitvale Station, The Help, and The Shape of Water

Sony / ABC

4.Leonardo DiCaprio was an extra as one of Darlene's classmates in Roseanne:

Leo as a child on "Roseanne" vs. him accepting his Oscar

Suggested by jordans431

What you know him from: Titanic, The Revenant, The Great Gatsby, and Inception

ABC

5.Zachary Quinto played a TV commercial director in an episode of Lizzie McGuire:

Zachary Quinto on "Lizzie McGuire" vs. being interviewed in 2020

Suggested by brieannad

Where you know him from: Heroes, the Star Trek series, American Horror Story, and The Boys in the Band

Disney Channel / NBC

6.Ryan Gosling was in an episode of both Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? in the '90s:

Ryan Gosling in "Goosebumps" in the '90s from him in "La La Land" as an adult

Suggested by wtfxalicia

What you know him from: La La Land, Half Nelson, The Notebook, Drive, and Blue Valentine

Fox Kids / Summit Entertainment

7.Aubrey Plaza had one line as an NBC page on 30 Rock:

Aubrey as a Page in "30 Rock" and as Harper in "Happiest Season"

Suggested by notetonotehourtohour

What you know her from: Parks and Rec, Happiest Season, Ingrid Goes West, and The To Do List

NBC / Hulu

8.Kaley Cuoco played Elisa in the Disney Channel movie Alley Cats Strike:

Kaley in a red bowling outfit and then her in a flight attendant uniform

Suggested by spenceralthouse

What you know her from: 8 Simple Rules, The Flight Attendant, and The Big Bang Theory

Disney Channel / HBO Max

9.Kevin McHale was a student at PCA in two episodes of Zoey 101:

Kevin as a kid on "Zoey 101" vs. a selfie of him in 2021 on Instagram

Suggested by goodgurl

Where you know him from: Glee, The Office, and The X Factor: Celebrity

Nickelodeon / @kevinmchale / instagram.com

10.Ben Affleck played an uncredited basketball player in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie:

Ben in a red basketball uniform on court in "Buffy" and him in Colbert's late-night show

Suggested by sineadf4

What you know him from: Gone Girl, Argo, Good Will Hunting, and The Town

20th Century Fox

11.Jennifer Lawrence's first acting role was as a school mascot in one episode of Monk:

Jennifer Lawrence in a bear costume on "Monk" vs. her being interviewed as an adult

Suggested by alixlund

Where you know her from: Joy, the Hunger Games series, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle

USA Network / CBS

12.James Marsden was in two episodes of The Nanny:

James Marsden on a date at the movies in "The Nanny" and on Colbert's talk show

Suggested by rachelc43

What you know him from: 30 Rock, the X-Men series, Westworld, and Hairspray

CBS

13.Jon Huertas was Brad, a witch hunter, in Sabrina the Teenage Witch:

Brad in the cafeteria "Sabrina" and Old Miguel in "This Is Us"

Suggested by sarahwainschel

What you know him from: This Is Us and Castle

The WB / NBC

14.Adam Scott was Griff Hawkins, the new kid/bully, in a few episodes of Boy Meets World:

Adam Scott as Griff in "BMW" and Ben on "Parks and Rec"

Suggested by fredzesty

What you know him from: Parks and Rec, Big Little Lies, and Party Down

ABC / NBC

15.Dianna Agron played a girl who could fit her whole fist in her mouth on Drake & Josh:

Dianna Agron at the movie theater and in "Glee"

Suggested by dawnraenicolec

What you know her from: Glee, I Am Number Four, and The Family

Nickelodeon / Fox

16.Amy Adams was on a single episode of Charmed in one of her very first acting credits:

Amy Adams on "Charmed" and on The "Tonight Show"

Suggested by nerinarciso

What you know her from: Enchanted, Sharp Objects, Arrival, and Doubt

The WB / NBC

17.John Cho played a parking valet in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas:

John Cho as a valet in the "Flintstones" movie vs. him being interviewed on a talk show in 2018

Suggested by seansean3769

What you know him from: Searching, the Star Trek series, Harold and Kumar, and Selfie

Universal Pictures / ABC

18.Rachel McAdams played Riley's sister in a single episode of Disney Channel's The Famous Jett Jackson:

Rachel with poofy hair in 2001 and her in "Game Night"

Suggested by laurengarafano

What you know her from: Game Night, Mean Girls, Red Eye, The Notebook, and Spotlight

Disney Channel / Warner Bros. Pictures

19.Kevin Hart played a cameraman in Along Came Polly:

Kevin Hart as an extra in "Along Came Polly" vs. him on the "Tonight Show" in 2018

Suggested by acole3077

What you know him from: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Ride Along, Central Intelligence, and Get Hard

Universal Pictures / NBC

20.Jessica Alba was a school bully in The Secret World of Alex Mack:

Jessica Alba on a Nickelodeon show in the early '90s vs. her on the Tonight Show in 2019

Suggested by dougfancy101

What you know her from: Never Been Kissed, the Fantastic Four series, and Sin City

Nickelodeon / NBC

21.Sara Ramírez was the cashier in You've Got Mail:

Sara as a cashier in "You've Got Mail" vs. Sara in an interview in 2008

Suggested by adityaaswaminathan

What you know them from: Grey's Anatomy, Sofia the First, and Madam Secretary

Warner Bros. Pictures / People / youtube.com

22.Elijah Wood is credited as "video game boy" in Back to the Future Part II:

Elijah Wood as a kid in "Back to the Future Part II" vs. him being interviewed by Conan O'Brien in 2020

Suggested by cinnamonrolls

What you know him from: Wilfred, the Lord of the Rings series, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

Amblin Entertainment / Warner Bros. Pictures

23.Simon Helberg was a nerd in A Cinderella Story:

Simon at the Halloween party in "A Cinderella Story" vs. him in the final episode of "The Big Bang Theory"

Suggested by amberb4c

What you know him from: The Big Bang Theory, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Warner Bros. Pictures / CBS

24.Julie Bowen played Virginia in Happy Gilmore:

Julie Bowen in "Happy Gilmore" vs. as Claire in the final season of "Modern Family"

Suggested by annf42805

What you know her from: Modern Family, Horrible Bosses, Boston Legal, and Hubie Halloween

Happy Madison Productions / ABC

25.Don Cheadle was in a single episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

Don Cheadle in "Fresh Prince" with his arm around Hilary vs. him at Tony Stark's funeral in "Avengers: Endgame"

Suggested by hasenaa

What you know him from: Hotel Rwanda, the Avengers series, House of Lies, and Crash

NBC / Marvel

26.Hugh Laurie was actually in Spice World:

Hugh Laurie with a mustache in "Spice World" vs. him as the Vice President in "Veep"

Suggested by innaa4e7

What you know him from: House, Veep, and Stuart Little

Columbia Pictures / HBO

27.Laurence Fishburne played a soldier in Apocalypse Now, even though he was only 14 and lied about his age to get the part:

Laurence Fishburne in "Apocalypse Now" holding a machine gun vs. him being interviewed in 2018

Suggested by Kathy Balis, Facebook

What you know him from: Black-ish, the Matrix series, What's Love Got to Do With It, and 21

United Artists / Columbia Pictures

28.Taran Killam was Frankie Muniz's bully in Big Fat Liar:

Taran Killam in "Big Fat Liar" vs. him being interviewed by Conan O'Brien in 2017

Suggested by chrisa443

What you know him from: Saturday Night Live, 12 Years a Slave, and Stuck in the Suburbs

Universal Pictures / TBS

29.Michael Cera was in Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's iconic movie called Switching Goals:

Michael Cera as a kid vs. as an adult in "Molly's Game"

Suggested by annakopsky

What you know him from: Molly's Game, Superbad, Juno, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Dualstar / STXfilms

30.Maggie Wheeler was the camp counselor in The Parent Trap:

Maggie as the camp counselor in "The Parent Trap" and as Janice in "Friends"

Suggested by annee4b1c

What you know her from: Friends, Archer, and Everybody Loves Raymond

Disney / NBC

31.Eric Stonestreet played a hotel receptionist in 10 seconds of Almost Famous:

Eric Stonestreet as a hotel clerk in "Almost Famous" vs. him in the final episode of "Modern Family"

Suggested by spenceralthouse

What you know him from: Modern Family, American Horror Story, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

DreamWorks Pictures / ABC

32.Johnny Galecki was Rusty in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation:

Johnny as a kid in "Christmas Vacation" vs. in the last season of "The Big Bang Theory"

Suggested by lino2939

What you know him from: The Big Bang Theory, Roseanne, and The Conners

John Hughes Entertainment / CBS

33.Steve Carell played a security guard in the iconic movie Sleepover:

Steve Carell as the mall cob vs. him being interviewed by Stephen Colbert

Suggested by emilyk4723

What you know him from: The Office, Foxcatcher, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Big Short

MGM / CBS

34.Adam Sandler got his start as Smitty on The Cosby Show:

Sandler in his early 20s on "The Cosby Show" vs. him as an adult on "The Tonight Show"

Suggested by jessiep4a1

What you know him from: Click, Saturday Night Live, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, and Uncut Gems

NBC

35.Katherine Heigl was in Disney's TV movie Wish Upon a Star:

Katherine Heigl as a teen vs. her as an adult being interviewed

Suggested by sac9488

What you know her from: Grey's Anatomy, 27 Dresses, Knocked Up, and Life as We Know It

Disney / youtube.com

36.Noel Fisher played the bully in Max Keeble's Big Move:

Noel Fisher as a kid vs. him as an adult in "Shameless"

Suggested by casbag

What you know him from: Shameless, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

Walt Disney Pictures / Showtime

37.Kristen Stewart was an extra in Disney Channel's The Thirteenth Year:

Kristen Stewart as a kid vs. as an adult in an interview

Suggested by abbyv40

What you know her from: Happiest Season, the Twilight series, Still Alice, and Into the Wild

Disney Channel / Sony Pictures Releasing

38.Joe Manganiello was Peter Parker's bully in the original Spider-Man:

Joe in a fight with Peter Parker vs. stripping at a gas station in "Magic Mike XXL"

Suggested by amandat4

What you know him from: True Blood, the Magic Mike series, One Tree Hill, and How I Met Your Mother

Sony Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures

39.Abigail Breslin was the little girl at the parade in The Princess Diaries 2:

Abigail as a kind in "Princess Diaries 2" vs as a sorority sister in "Scream Queens"

Suggested by Kirsty L. Powell, Facebook

What you know her from: Little Miss Sunshine, Scream Queens, New Year's Eve, and My Sister's Keeper

Walt Disney Pictures / Fox

40.Mike O'Malley was the host of Nickelodeon's Global Guts:

Mike hosting "Guts" on Nick in the '90s vs. him as Kurt's dad on "Glee"

Suggested by spenceralthouse

What you know him from: Glee, The Good Place, and Yes, Dear

Nickelodeon / Fox

41.Nikki Cox played Eric Matthews' girlfriend in a single episode of Boy Meets World:

Nikki as a teen on "Boy Meets World" vs. as an adult in a casino on "Las Vegas"

Suggested by tessafahey

Where you know her from: Las Vegas, Baywatch, General Hospital, and Unhappily Ever After

ABC / NBC

42.Selena Gomez played a kid for two years on Barney & Friends:

Selena Gomez on "Barney" as a kid vs. her own cooking show in 2021

Suggested by dkman

Where you know her from: Wizards of Waverly Place, The Fundamentals of Caring, Spring Breakers, and The Dead Don't Die

PBS / HBO Max

43.Emmy Rossum played Claire in the Disney Channel movie Genius:

Emmy in "Genius" in the late '90s vs. her as an adult in a talk show

Suggested by spenceralthouse

Where you know her from: Shameless, The Phantom of the Opera, Poseidon, and The Day After Tomorrow

Disney Channel / CBS

44.Zac Efron was on the short-lived WB series called Summerland:

Zac Efron as a young teen vs. him being interviewed in 2019

Suggested by jbmasta

Where you know him from: The Greatest Showman, the High School Musical series, Hairspray, Baywatch, and 17 Again

The WB / ABC

45.Angela Bassett was a flight attendant in about two seconds of Kindergarten Cop:

Angela Bassett as a flight attendant and a cop on TV

Suggested by Allyson Guy, Facebook

What you know her from: What's Love Got to Do With It, 9-1-1, Black Panther, and the Mission: Impossible series

Universal Pictures / Fox

46.And Ryan Reynolds was the love interest in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie:

Ryan Reynold with Sabrina vs. him as an adult being interviewed

Suggested by j4aca54

What you know him from: Green Lantern, the Deadpool series, The Proposal, and Buried

Showtime / NBC

Did we miss your favorite early role of a famous person? Tell us about it in the comments below!