The road to fame can be a long one. Sometimes it seems to happen overnight, but that’s rarely ever the case. Every actor has to start somewhere.
It’s easy to get jealous of popular actors. With all the fame and riches, their life seems great. But as a successful person in any industry will tell you, it takes years of grinding away and putting in the hours. Acting is no different.
Many of the actors that we hold in high prestige have been working their whole lives to get where they are today. Here are just four of my favorite examples.
Johnny Depp movies could be a topic in the game Categories. Probably most known now for his role as Jack Sparrow, Deep has been everything from a cop to a gangster. He’s been Willy Wonka, Sweeny Todd, Tonto and the Mad Hatter. His filmography is huge! Not just that, but his characters are some of the most extreme weirdos we’ve ever seen on screen.
His hair and makeup is always so different it’s hard to pin down his age. Take his early career, when you think of Johnny Depp’s start you probably think of Edward Scissorhands or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. But what’s surprising is that he’s actually three years younger as Edward than as Gilbert.
But for those who know, that wasn’t the actual beginning of his acting career. And neither was his role on the original TV drama ‘21 Jump Street’ 1987-90. His first role was a small part on the horror classic and cult favorite Nightmare on Elm Street – a pretty big get retrospectively. Warning, if you haven’t seen it, his death is the most haunting scene of the film.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s career is one many fans have followed for decades. He’s been the leading man in numerous popular films and nominated for 6 Academy Awards for acting. The first was in 1993, but he didn’t win until 2016. And many of his most popular films didn’t even earn him nominations including Inception, The Departed, or the film that largely put him on the map, Titanic.
This Oscars/Leo fans discourse has an entire culture surrounding it. Regardless, he’s a heavy hitter, maybe the heaviest. A go-to guy for Martin Scorsese and now Quentin Tarantino; Leo has starred in movies for Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan and countless other prominent directors. With a resume like that, you have to start young.
When we think of young Leo we often think of the teen heartthrob from Titanic, Basketball Diaries and Romeo + Juliet. But as many know before that he was the mentally disabled brother of the aforementioned Gilbert Grape. That’s when he earned that first Oscar nom. But I still remember the first time I saw Leo. Before any of this he had a 23 episode arc on ABC’s ‘Growing Pains.’ He was Luke Brower, homeless teen taken in by the Seaver Family.
Jordan Peele has transcended into an entirely new career, one that suits him well. He is a well-renowned director. Though his roots as an actor are in comedy, he has made a name for himself in the horror genre. He currently produces, writes and narrates the ‘Twilight Zone’ remake on CBS All Access.
But Peele is most well known for writing and directing critically acclaimed movies Get Out and Us. The films are not just thrilling entries in horror, but as a Black filmmaker, his films add poignant themes involving racial issues.
Before his directing debut he was most well known for his sketch comedy show ‘Key & Peele.’ Jordan Peele and Keegan Michael-Key made three seasons worth of sketch comedy shows that often leaned into their bi-racial identity. But before that, the two friends were both a part of the ‘Madtv’ cast. Though Jordan Peele had just a 29 episode stint from 2003 to 2005, he still started to get screen time in the same place as many comedians. ‘Madtv’ aired from 1995 to 2008 but never seemed to gain the traction of its sketch show rival ‘Saturday Night Live.’
Carrey has proven himself a great actor outside of his iconic comedy style. His dramatic roles Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Truman Show and I Love You Phillip Morris are among some of my favorite films. Also, The Number 23 is one heck of a psychological thriller.
For many of us in our 20s though, Jim Carrey’s comedy helped raise us. The Mask, Liar Liar and Dumb and Dumber were comedic dynamite. Growing up these were frequently on TV. And we can’t forget his famous role as Ace Ventura. But before he became the slapstick king of the 90s, he did a run of TV movies. He auditioned for SNL, but to no avail.
The first real time he got to show off his comedy chops was on ‘In Living Color,’ yet another contender in the 90s sketch comedy wars. ‘In Living Color’ was created by Keenen Ivory Wayans, the man behind all the Wayans Brothers movies like Scary Movie or White Chicks. The show featured Jamie Foxx, Damon Wayans, Jennifer Lopez and many other people of color. Jim Carrey was the token white guy.