Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for over two years.
A-list Hollywood actors do not always start out on the top; sometimes they have humble beginnings before landing that breakthrough role. With heavy-hitters like Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon and Will Smith, it's interesting to see where their major acting careers all began. Here's a look at some of your favorite actors at their first and most recent film premieres.
Reese Witherspoon: 1991 vs. 2018
Then: Reese Witherspoon was just 15-years-old at the premiere of her debut film, 1991's Man on the Moon. Her role garnered her a nomination for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress and she received much praise for her debut. During the 90s she would go on to star in films such as Fear, Pleasantville, Cruel Intentions and the Oscar and Golden Globe nominated film Election.
Now: Since her first film in 1991, Witherspoon has been a constant presence in Hollywood. She reached super-stardom with her portrayal as the determined Elle Woods in the Legally Blonde series, while also starring in hits like Sweet Home Alabama, Mud, the critically acclaimed Wild and her Oscar-winning role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. Her most recent release was 2018's A Wrinkle in Time. Witherspoon currently stars in the mega-hit series Big Little Lies.
Brad Pitt: 1991 vs. 2017
Then: In 1991, Brad Pitt was just beginning to blossom as an actor. His first notable role was as the young drifter J.D. in the hit female buddy flick Thelma & Louise. Pitt would go on to become an A-lister and mega heartthrob, starring in films like Interview with the Vampire, Seven, Meet Joe Black and the cult classic Fight Club. He would meet Friends star Jennifer Aniston, becoming one-half of Hollywood's golden couple.
Now: Pitt hasn't slowed down a bit since bursting onto the scene, having starred in blockbuster hits like the Ocean's series, Mr. and Mrs. Smith (where he infamously met and fell in love with co-star Angelina Jolie), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Inglorious Basterds and World War Z. His most recent release was 2017's War Machine, and he will appear alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Nicole Kidman: 1992 vs. 2018
Then: In 1992, Nicole Kidman was just beginning to breakthrough in Hollywood, having appeared in Dead Calm and Days of Thunder. Her leading role opposite then-husband Tom Cruise in Far and Away garnered the actress praise from the critics. Kidman would then go on to star in works such as Batman Forever, Practical Magic and Eyes Wide Shut (once again with Cruise).
Now: Kidman has maintained a colorful and impressive acting resume since coming onto the scene. She has appeared in films like Moulin Rouge! The Others (for which she earned the Oscar for Best Actress), Cold Mountain and Sofia Cappola's critically acclaimed The Beguiled. Most recently, Kidman starred as Queen Atlanna in the blockbuster hit Aquaman. She currently appears alongside Reese Witherspoon in Big Little Lies.
Halle Berry: 1994 vs. 2019
Then: Before venturing into acting, Halle Berry was a model and even finished as the first runner-up in the Miss USA pageant and 6th in Miss World 1986. After small roles in minor films, Berry appeared alongside Eddie Murphy in 1992's Boomerang and in 1994's live action version of The Flinstones, opposite John Goodman. The actress would continue the momentum, starring as Dorothy Dandrige in the TV film biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandrige. For her role she won both a Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy Award.
Now: Berry has kept herself quite busy and has remained a strong force in Hollywood. She is known for her role as Storm in the X-Men series, the James Bond blockbuster Die Another Day and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. She became the first and only African American woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster's Ball. Most recently Berry starred alongside Keanu Reeves in the hit series John Wick: Chapter 3--Parabellum.
Jennifer Aniston: 1993 vs. 2019
Then: Back in 1993, Jennifer Aniston was on the brink of super-stardom (a fact she didn't realize then). Before becoming part of the ultimate will they/won't they couple Ross and Rachel on the mega-hit show Friends, Aniston was on the run from an evil leprechaun in 1993's horror film Leprechaun. She would go on to receive critical acclaim for roles in films such as Picture Perfect and the cult classic Office Space. Aniston would also marry fellow A-lister Brad Pitt in 2000 (whom she later infamously divorced).
Now: Aniston's star hasn't dimmed and she remains a beloved staple in Tinseltown. Her hit show Friends ran from 1994-2004, and during that time she starred in a slew of films like Bruce Almighty, The Good Girl and Along Came Polly. Aniston would also appear in Rumor Has It, The Break-Up, Marley & Me and Horrible Bosses. The actress has most recently starred in two Netflix films, Dumplin' and Murder Mystery, alongside Adam Sandler.
Johnny Depp: 1990 vs. 2018
Then: Before becoming the A-list film star he is today, Johnny Depp started out on the hit television show 21 Jump Street. He made his film debut in the classic slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street. He had smaller roles in films like Platoon, before hitting it big in 1990 when he appeared in both Cry-Baby and Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. Depp would develop a unique and highly impressive resume, starring in hits such as Benny & Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Donnie Brasco and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Now: Depp's star power only continued to grow upon his success in the 90s; he starred as the bumbling pirate Jack Sparrow in the billion dollar franchise Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as in Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factor, The Corpse Bride, Alice in Wonderland and Black Mass. He reprised his role as Tom Hanson in for a cameo in the movie adaption of 21 Jump Street, and most recently appeared in 2018's The Professor and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
Kate Winslet: 1995 vs. 2017
Then: In 1995, Kate Winslet found massive success in the Academy Award nominated film Sense and Sensibility, in which she starred alongside Emma Thompson. For her role, she received her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Prior to the film, she had appeared in another critically acclaimed drama, Heavenly Creatures. Winslet would go on to star in the epic romance disaster film Titanic in 1997, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. The picture was a massive success, garnering 14 Oscar nominations and winning 11, as well as becoming the first film to reach the billion dollar mark.
Now: Winslet has continued to become a seasoned and well-respected actress, having starred in films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Little Children and The Reader (for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress). The actress most recently starred in the Woody Allen drama, Wonder Wheel and will appear in Avatar 2 and Ammonite as English fossil collector Mary Anning.
Will Smith: 1996 vs. 2019
Then: Will Smith soared to fame as the titular character in the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. During the course of the show he would venture into the world of film, starring in the movies Six Degrees of Separation, Bad Boys and the summer blockbuster hit Independence Day. He would go on to have a lucrative film career in the 90s, appearing in Men in Black opposite Tommy Lee Jones, Enemy of the State and Wild Wild West.
Now: Smith didn't lost any steam as he entered the 2000s, becoming a well-respected Hollywood leading man. In 2001 he starred as boxer Muhammad Ali in the biopic Ali, for which he earned an Oscar nomination. He also had roles in a slew of films like I, Robot, Hitch, The Pursuit of Happyness, I Am Legend and Suicide Squad. He most recently starred in the Netflix film Bright and in the blockbuster hit live action adaption of Aladdin as the Genie.
Sandra Bullock: 1994 vs. 2018
Then: Sandra Bullock received her breakthrough role when she starred alongside Keanu Reeves in the 1994 action thriller Speed. The film earned a whopping $350 million on a budget of $30 million, as well as winning two Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. She would go on to star in the romantic films While You Were Sleeping and Hope Floats, as well as A Time to Kill and Practical Magic.
Now: Bullock has become a Hollywood heavy-hitter since her debut in the early 90s, having appeared in smash hits like Miss Congeniality, the Oscar nominated Crash, The Lake House and The Proposal. She earned the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2010 for her role in The Blind Side, and later appeared in The Heat, Gravity and Minions. Most recently Bullock starred in Ocean's 8 and the Netflix film Bird Box.
Leonardo DiCaprio: 1993 vs. 2019
Then: Back in 1993, Leonardo DiCaprio had not yet brought forth "Leo-mania" that would take hold of females everywhere in the late 90s. However, he was proving himself to be quite the actor when he appeared in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, alongside Johnny Depp. For his role, DiCaprio earned his first of his many Oscar nominations. He would then go on to star in The Basketball Diaries and Romeo + Juliet, the latter turning him into a young heartthrob. It was his portrayal of Jack Dawson in the blockbuster hit Titanic that ultimately landed him as an A-list actor and ultimate dreamboat.
Now: DiCaprio hasn't slowed down one bit since his Titanic days; he has arguably had one of the most lucrative acting careers of all time. With films such as Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Aviator and The Departed under his belt, DiCaprio is truly a chameleon. Other of his many successful movies include Blood Diamond, Inception, The Great Gatsby and The Wolf of Wall Street. He finally won a much deserved Oscar for 2016's The Revenant, after multiple nominations. He will appear alongside Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and continues to be a heavily active environmentalist.
Julia Roberts: 1989 vs. 2018
Then: In 1989, Julia Roberts had appeared in a star-making role in Steel Magnolias, having portrayed Shelby, a young woman suffering from type one diabetes. For this she was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe. The year before she starred in the independent film Mystic Pizza. However, it was her role as the assertive freelance hooker Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman that truly cemented her stardom, in which she appeared alongside Richard Gere. She would go on to star in hit films like Sleeping with the Enemy, Hook, My Best Friend's Wedding, Notting Hill and Runaway Bride.
Now: Roberts won an Oscar for playing the titular environmentalist activist in 2000's Erin Brockovich, and also appeared in films such as the Ocean's series, Mona Lisa Smile, Charlie Wilson's War, Eat Pray Love and Larry Crowne. She has steadily worked in Hollywood in a wide array of film genres, most recently in the critically acclaimed Wonder opposite Owen Wilson and in the 2018 drama Ben is Back.
Tom Cruise: 1983 vs. 2018
Then: Tom Cruise first began making a name for himself when he was part of the ensemble cast in 1983's The Outsiders. That same year he would star in a career-making performance in Risky Business. From 1983 onward, Cruise would lay the groundwork to become a major Hollywood player. With films like Top Gun, Rain Man, A Few Good Men, Interview with the Vampire and Born on the the Fourth of July, the actor found much popularity. However, his roles in the Oscar-winning film Jerry Maguire and Mission Impossible series catapulted him to success.
Now: Cruise maintained his reign as a seasoned A-lister, appearing in major films like Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Valkyrie and Jack Reacher, as well as continuing his role as Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible series. He appeared in the comedy film Tropic Thunder, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. The sixth installment of the Mission Impossible: Fallout received critical acclaim and was a box office hit in 2018, earning a whopping $791 million.
George Clooney: 1996 vs. 2016
Then: Back in 1996, George Clooney was known more for his performance as Dr. Doug Ross on ER than for his film work. That year he would receive his breakthrough role in Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn, in which he starred opposite Quentin Tarantino. From that point on Clooney would begin a long and lucrative film career, appearing in movies such as Out of Sight, Three Kings and as Danny Ocean in the Ocean's series. He would leave ER in 1999, after earning two Primetime Emmy nominations.
Now: Clooney has found massive success both in front and behind the camera. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Syriana, and also starred in the critically acclaimed Michael Clayton, Up in the Air and The Descendants. He continued to star in the Oceans films, and was successful in directing works like The Ides of March and The Monuments Men. Clooney most recently starred in 2016's Money Monster alongside Julia Roberts, and can currently be seen on the Hulu miniseries Catch-22.
Angelina Jolie: 1998 vs. 2017
Then: Angelina Jolie made her film debut alongisde father Jon Voight in 1982's Lookin' Good, but it wasn't until a decade later that her career really began. After roles in small films like Cyborg 2, Hackers and George Wallace, Jolie found success in the biographical film Gia, for which she portrayed the late supermodel Gia Marie Carangi. It was her performance in 1999's Girl, Interrupted, opposite Winona Ryder, that truly projected her into the limelight. For her role she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and helped cement her star power.
Now: Jolie went on to star as video game heroine Lara Croft in 2001's Tomb Raider, ultimately establishing herself as a leading lady. Her other major film credits include Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, Salt, Changeling and Maleficent. She has also lent her voice to the successful children's series Kung Fu Panda, opposite Jack Black, with the most recent release in 2016. She has been active in directing and producing, and continues her humanitarian work. Jolie also executive produced 2017's First They Killed My Father and The Breadwinner.
Jennifer Lawrence: 2010 vs. 2018
Then: Before becoming one of the highest paid actresses in the world, Jennifer Lawrence got her start on the sitcom The Bill Engvall Show (2007-2009). She made her debut in a supporting role in 2009's Garden Party, before receiving her big break in the independent drama Winter's Bone (2010). For her role, Lawrence earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (the first of four nominations she would ultimately receive). Her performance would help propel her into stardom.
Now: Lawrence has kept extremely busy since her film debut in 2010, having appeared as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games series and as Mystique in X-Men. She once again found critical acclaim in 2012's Silver Linings Playbook, for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress. The actress would continue with her success, starring in films like American Hustle, Joy, Passengers and Mother!. Lawrence most recently starred in 2018's Red Sparrow, and once again as Mystique in 2019's Dark Phoenix.
© 2019 Rachel M Johnson