How Stars Like Cameron and Keanu Got Their Start in the Fizz Biz

By Clarissa Cruz
Updated February 16, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s not exactly summer stock, but scores of celebs have honed their skills in that bastion of sugary consumerism, the Coke ad. While some performances are certainly of the sip-and-you’ll-miss-it ilk, they offer glimpses of future success. Here’s a roundup of some bubbly beginnings.

Clarissa Cruz

— Keanu Reeves, ”First Race,” 1983 Synopsis: Crumpled with disappointment after losing a bike race, Reeves perks up when his sympathetic TV dad brings him a drink. Sample dialogue: Asked who his coach is, Reeves answers, ”My dad.” Early signs of greatness: The soon-to-be box office star infuses the words ”a Coke” with pitch-perfect Bill & Ted-esque dude-ism. Grade: B+

— Matt LeBlanc, ”Bus Stop,” 1990 Synopsis: Awaiting a bus on a desert road, a sweaty LeBlanc spots a billboard-size bottle of Coke — and guzzles it down. Sample dialogue: None, though his snug jeans speak volumes. Early signs of greatness: As the icy bottle drips on his shoulder, the future Joey unveils the perplexed expression that’s come to signal many a Friends punchline. Grade: B

— Sharon Stone, ”Changes on a Train,” 1990 Synopsis: In a spot for Coke subsidiary Diet Sprite, Stone’s train leaves while she’s getting a soda — forcing her to climb back on the moving machine, Indiana Jones-style. Sample dialogue: ”I changed my mind,” she barks at a suitor. Early signs of greatness: Though Stone’s locomotive heroics show action-star potential (see Total Recall), it’s her mussed-up, cleavage-baring persona that displays her true Instincts. Grade: A

— Jenna Elfman, ”Make Me Laugh,” 1991 Synopsis: Elfman and a slew of badly dressed early-’90s refugees bounce to the ”I like the Sprite in you” jingle. Sample dialogue: None, given her split seconds of screen time. Early signs of greatness: The multitalented Dharma & Greg star manages to simultaneously wink and stick out her tongue. Grade: B-

— Cameron Diaz, ”Beacon,” 1992 Synopsis: A scantily clad Diaz is drawn to a lighthouse-dwelling hunk proffering cold cola. Sample dialogue: ”I see I’m not the only one,” she murmurs, as a crowd flocks to the tower. Early signs of greatness: Dippity-Do hairdo foreshadows her seminal There’s Something About Mary moment. Grade: A-