Many Movie Stars (Like Johnny Depp) Didn't Plan to Be in the Movies

Updated on October 5, 2017
Casey White profile image

We both find movies fascinating, and even more interesting when we learn how the stars we admire planned different careers entirely.

Johnny Depp

All Johnny Depp wanted to do with his life was play the guitar, but circumstances changed all of that and his adoring public are the grateful recipients of his choices.  His fans even keep up with his changing hairstyles.
All Johnny Depp wanted to do with his life was play the guitar, but circumstances changed all of that and his adoring public are the grateful recipients of his choices. His fans even keep up with his changing hairstyles.

How Could Anyone Else Be Captain Jack Sparrow?

Johnny Depp was born to be a famous movie star. He didn't know it, but we all did. The Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies were made for him...weren't they? So, how did it all start for this versatile actor who was born in Owensburg, Kentucky in 1963?

Depp hated school, and was always somewhat of a troublemaker, but he loved music. By the age of 14, he had tried various drugs and alcohol and was playing guitar in a band called The Kids and was a genuine spike-haired rebel. That group was fortunate enough to be the opening act for groups such as The B-52s, The Pretenders, and The Talking Heads, but they were looking for their own fame and fortune.

As a result of their desire for more, the band members pooled their money and went to California searching for a record deal, changing their name to Six Gun Method, but their break in the business never came. Luckily, Johnny's then-wife introduced him to actor Nicolas Cage, who suggested he give acting a try. That seems to have worked out pretty well for him.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence was the star of "The Hunger Games."  She has been the highest paid female actress since 2015, but was discovered on the streets of New York City when she was on vacation with her parents.
Jennifer Lawrence was the star of "The Hunger Games." She has been the highest paid female actress since 2015, but was discovered on the streets of New York City when she was on vacation with her parents. | Source

A New York Vacation Turned Into a Great Career

Like fellow actor Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lawrence was born in Kentucky, but on a farm outside Louisville. She was a cheerleader in high school, played field hockey and thought about becoming a doctor.

When she was 14 and on spring vacation in New York with her parents, a photographer stopped them and asked if he could take her picture. They agreed and he took down her mother's name and phone number. The next day, he called her and asked her if Jennifer could do a screen test, which was successful, and she remained in New York to pursue acting, graduating two years early from high school with a 3.9 gpa.

After the screen test, she had some small successes in commercials and some movies and a great deal of success in Silver Linings Playbook, starring with Bradley Cooper. Then in 2012 she was cast in the lead in The Hunger Games, a movie that broke box office records and made her a household name.

Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum was voted "Most Athletic" in high school and on "21 Jump Street" he played the part of a cop that went undercover as a high school student to bring down a synthetic drug ring.
Channing Tatum was voted "Most Athletic" in high school and on "21 Jump Street" he played the part of a cop that went undercover as a high school student to bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Channing Tatum's Rise to Fame Started in Miami, Florida

Channing Tatum was born in Cullman, Alabama, and his family eventually ended up in Tampa, Florida, where he attended high school. At that time, his only dream was to get a college scholarship. When he graduated, he was offered a football scholarship to Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia, but had already decided to pursue other things, so he turned it down (although he did attend college for a short while).

Tatum became a model after being discovered on the streets of Miami, Florida. Before his successful modeling career began, he was a construction worker, a stripper, a salesman and a mortgage broker. Luckily, even after much success as a model, he decided it wasn't challenging enough and turned to acting. He is also proficient in various forms of martial arts and is an accomplished dancer, as you will see in a photograph below with Charlize Theron.

In 2012, People Magazine named him "Sexiest Man Alive" to which he responded: "Y'all are messin' with me." The star of Magic Mike, a successful movie that grossed almost $170 million, was honestly surprised.

Will Smith: DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (Rappers)

Will Smith started out rapping as the Fresh Prince with DJ Jazzy Jeff, but has evolved into an award-winning actor. In 2007, Newsweek Magazine called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood."
Will Smith started out rapping as the Fresh Prince with DJ Jazzy Jeff, but has evolved into an award-winning actor. In 2007, Newsweek Magazine called him "the most powerful actor in Hollywood."

A rapper is about being completely true to yourself. Being an actor is about changing who you are.

— Will Smith

Charlize Theron and Channing Tatum Dance at the Oscars

Charlize Theron dances with Channing Tatum at the 2013 Oscars, held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.  Theron won the Oscar for "Best Actress" in 2004 for her portrayal of a female serial killer in "Monster."
Charlize Theron dances with Channing Tatum at the 2013 Oscars, held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California. Theron won the Oscar for "Best Actress" in 2004 for her portrayal of a female serial killer in "Monster."

Charlize Theron Just Wanted to Dance

As a teenager, Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron won a Johannesburg modeling contest, and the International New Model Today competition in Italy, which probably led people to believe that she would become a famous model. She traveled to New York City when she was just 18, but her heart was in dancing, so she left modeling behind to pursue her dream as a dancer.

Born in South Africa, Theron was trained as a ballet dancer and danced in both Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. She knew that in order to become a successful dancer, South Africa wasn't exactly ripe with opportunities, so she traveled to Europe and the United States, namely New York City, studying with the Joffrey Ballet. She also did some work in New York as a photo model, but unfortunately, the dancing career that she wanted so badly was cut short by a knee injury.

Her mother then bought her an airline ticket to Los Angeles, where she began pursuing acting, but her strong Afrikaan accent proved to be a huge barrier in landing speaking roles.

As fate would have it, she was in a bank one day attempting to cash a check that her mother sent her, and began arguing with a bank teller. During that argument, she caught the attention of another bank customer, John Crosby, a successful Hollywood agent who signed her immediately but insisted that she get rid of her Afrikaan accent. She did so and mastered an American accent by watching countless hours of television soap operas. Within a matter of a few months, she landed some small roles, which launched a very successful career as an actress.


Chris Pratt

Actor Chris Pratt starred in "Jurassic World" as a velociraptor trainer turned hero.  In interviews, Pratt has called himself more of an athlete than an actor.
Actor Chris Pratt starred in "Jurassic World" as a velociraptor trainer turned hero. In interviews, Pratt has called himself more of an athlete than an actor.

Chris Pratt Went From Waiter to Leading Man

Although Chris Pratt had done a little bit of acting in dinner theater plays, it remains unclear as to whether he actually intended to have a career as an actor.

When he was about 20 years old, living in a van and waiting tables at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in Maui, Hawaii, actress Rae Dawn Chong came to the restaurant to eat and was impressed with Pratt. She ultimately cast him in a horror comedy she was directing that was never released, but that one opportunity became a springboard for Pratt to land other roles, such as the four-year stint as an athlete on the popular television series Everwood. He has since advanced to roles as the leading man in many movies and no longer has the need to live out of a vehicle, as his net worth is estimated at around $30 million.

© 2017 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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    • Casey White profile image
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      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 8 weeks ago from United States

      Thank you so much!

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      JP Silva 8 weeks ago

      Very cool. Amazing compilation. Thanks.

      You are truly a great writer. Much to learn from you.