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Before They Were Stars
Not every actor hits the ground running. Even Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio had to start out in commercials and minor roles before landing their big breaks. You might have seen the following stars in your favorite TV shows or on the silver screen in major blockbusters, but chances are you didn't recognize them in their small, fade-to-the-background parts on first viewing. Check them out, ahead.
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Jennifer Lawrence, Monk
J. Law is unmistakable after her performance in the blockbuster franchise The Hunger Games, but she was a passing face in the crowd when she appeared on a 2006 episode of Monk, starring Tony Shalhoub. Conan O'Brien asked Lawrence about the role as the mascot for a basketball game, which she said was "tied to the most humiliating thing in my entire life." As she explained, she told all her friends she had this amazing part, but was embarrassed when she realized what she was actually doing for the show.
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Rose Byrne, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Even diehard Star Wars fans might not instantly recognize the name Dorme. She was a member of Queen Amidala's royal entourage and only appeared in Episode II -- Attack of the Clones. But you certainly know the actress who played her. Before she fought a fraternity in Neighbors, before she faced Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids and Melissa McCarthy in Spy, Rose Byrne had what she joked with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show was her "finest hour."
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Amy Schumer, 30 Rock
Many well-known stars have been featured on NBC's 30 Rock, including Aaron Sorkin, Oprah, James Franco, and Steve Martin. If you remain alert during the season 3 episode "Mamma Mia," you'll also notice the future queen of comedy, Amy Schumer. The Trainwreck star was the makeup artist who prepared Liz Lemon for her "Dealbreakers" Time Out New York cover shoot. "Ugh, I'm gonna get some tape," was her line.
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Sylvester Stallone, Bananas
Would you be able to recognize Rocky Balboa if he socked you in the face? Well, now you probably could, but in 1971 when Sylvester Stallone came in as a mugger for Woody Allen's Bananas, perhaps not. During this year's Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Stallone spoke about his audition for the film as a struggling actor. According to him, Allen initially thought Stallone wasn't intimidating enough, but Stallone's friend Johnny convinced him to go back and audition again. What ensued was B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
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Renee Zellweger, Dazed and Confused
Nestled within the sea of actors in Dazed and Confused — including Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, and Ben Affleck — was Renee Zellweger. The actress, who auditioned for a larger role, popped up as an extra funneling beer near a pickup truck. "Renee didn't quite get the bigger part, but it said a lot about her that she just sort of hung out and was there," director Richard Linklater told USA Today. "At some point, she was kind of a cast member. It was a technicality that she doesn't have a line."
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Megan Fox, Bad Boys 2
When Megan Fox was a 15-year-old high school sophomore, she appeared as a sultry extra in Michael Bay's Bad Boys II, dancing in six-inch heels, a stars-and-stripes bikini, and red cowboy hat. As she told Jimmy Kimmel on his talk show back in 2009, Bay approved the look, but she wasn't allowed to sit at a bar or hold an alcoholic drink because of her age. The solution seemed simple: place her underneath a waterfall. "So that’s sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works," she said.
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Aubrey Plaza, 30 Rock
Like Amy Schumer, Parks and Recreation's Aubrey Plaza made a brief appearance on 30 Rock. She was the NBC page leading a tour group when Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) rushed to get Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) his meds. Plaza told the Tonight Show audience during the Jay Leno era that she was actually employed in the page program at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. "I gave tours, but I wasn't a very good page," she said. "I was kind of like a dark witch page." She later joked about the experience on The Today Show about making up facts to her tour groups. "I like to lie," she said. "I get paid to lie, and it makes me happy."
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Kristen Stewart, The Thirteenth Year
Anyone who grew up on '90s Disney Channel original movies knows The Thirteenth Year, about a teenage boy who discovers he's a merman. Years later, the film reached a new degree of fame when folks realized it was the first on-screen role for Kristen Stewart, who appeared as a background extra.
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Steve Carell, Curly Sue
Steve Carell's first on-screen role came in Curly Sue as the waiter Tesio. "That was my first movie. I worked for three days. I had no lines," the actor told Collider in an interview. "What did it teach me about working with kids? Nothing because I was petrified to even be there, and I was just happy to be in a movie being shot in Chicago, and I saw the child actor from about 100 yards, and that's as close to the action as I got."
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Jason Segel, Can't Hardly Wait
Jason Segel made a career for himself as a comedic actor, and his first gig was that of "Watermelon Guy" in the '90s rom-com Can't Hardly Wait with Jennifer Love Hewitt. When her character, Amanda, looks for Preston, she encounter's a guy slurping up his signature fruit. Why does he have watermelon? According to an interview with Vulture, actor Seth Green said scenes were cut that revealed he'd been freezing a watermelon filled with vodka all senior year. When he finally brings it out, it shatters as everyone goes for it.
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Julianne Hough, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Blink and she'll apparate, but actress-dancer Julianne Hough was indeed in the first Harry Potter movie. As an 11-year-old, she can be seen celebrating Gryffindor's victory over Slytherin during the Quidditch match. "I’m still such a big fan. I always go and watch the midnight showing," the Grease Live! star told Parade in 2011. She added, "I might get in trouble for this, but I actually stole the Gryffindor scarf that I had as a memento. I was like, ‘I have to keep this scarf!"
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Lea Seydoux, Inglourious Basterds
Movie lovers now know the name Lea Seydoux, thanks to her Bond Girl role in Sam Mendes' Spectre, but she previously played a part for another big-name director, Quentin Tarantino. In the beginning scene of Inglourious Basterds, Seydoux appears as Charlotte LaPadite, one of the daughters of the man suspected of hiding a Jewish family from the Nazis. This scene set the film's revenge plot into motion, but also helped the French actress break through to American audiences.