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Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

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Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Old 09-08-16, 12:22 PM
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Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Inspired by another poster mentioning how everyone thought that Thora Birch was going to become the big star, but instead it was Scarlett Johanson who broke out in Ghost World, I was wondering which other movies feature similar situations? Off the top of my head, I was thinking these would apply:

-The Outsiders even though it had a lot of young talent, it seemed like C. Thomas Howell would be the young actor to break out. Not Tom Cruise.

-Chris Klein seemed like he was destined to be a leading man after American Pie but instead Sean William Scott ended up being the breakout star of the film.

-Varsity Blues was a big hit and seemed like it was going to launch the career of James Van Der Beek, instead it launched the career of Paul Walker.

Anyone else think of any other examples?

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Old 09-08-16, 12:33 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Harrison Ford - Star Wars
Jack Nicholson - Easy Rider

Last edited by inri222; 09-08-16 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:35 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Harrison Ford
I didn't know he was a movie.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:42 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

People thought Bambi Woods would be the bigger star when Debbie Does Dallas came out but Judy Dench sure showed them wrong.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:43 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Not sure if Heavenly Creatures (1994) counts but this was Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslets first movie acting gig. Lynskey had first billing, but Winslet obviously became the bigger star.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:56 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

How about 'MeanStreets'? Even though Harvey Keitel had a great career, DeNiro ended up being the bigger star.

I know this is a movie forum, but the TV show 'Friends' first comes to mind. Courtney Cox was supposed to be the big sell (coming from Family Ties) yet Jennifer Aniston ended up being the bigger star.
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Old 09-08-16, 02:22 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by mcnabb View Post
How about 'MeanStreets'? Even though Harvey Keitel had a great career, DeNiro ended up being the bigger star.

I know this is a movie forum, but the TV show 'Friends' first comes to mind. Courtney Cox was supposed to be the big sell (coming from Family Ties) yet Jennifer Aniston ended up being the bigger star.
De Niro was already ahead of Keitel enough to earn him top billing in Mean Streets even though he was a supporting character.
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Old 09-08-16, 02:27 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Jason Lee in Mallrats. The sidekick took over the movie.
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Old 09-08-16, 03:00 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Are we talking about a movie where a side character became a surprise hit, or just any movie where the side character eventually eclipsed the main character?

For instance, McAdams and Seyfried certainly have had a better career after Mean Girls than Lohan, but I can't say that it was this performance that made it happen. Same with Scarlet in Ghost World.
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Old 09-08-16, 03:06 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

I can't say I remember what the buzz was in 1993 but I doubt that many thought Ben Affleck and Mathew McConaughey would turn into megastars after Dazed and Confused.
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Old 09-08-16, 03:20 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by Goat3001 View Post
I can't say I remember what the buzz was in 1993 but I doubt that many thought Ben Affleck and Mathew McConaughey would turn into megastars after Dazed and Confused.
McConaughey was a star from his first appearance in that film. Obviously we didn't realize about Affleck in that movie though.

Same goes for Matt & Ben in School Ties, a movie that was supposed to be a launch pad for Brendan Fraiser. (and seriously, in a town like LA with a million aspiring Jewish actors, they had to cast Brendan Fraiser as the Jewish kid?)
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Old 09-08-16, 03:26 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
McConaughey was a star from his first appearance in that film. Obviously we didn't realize about Affleck in that movie though.

Same goes for Matt & Ben in School Ties, a movie that was supposed to be a launch pad for Brendan Fraiser. (and seriously, in a town like LA with a million aspiring Jewish actors, they had to cast Brendan Fraiser as the Jewish kid?)
I think School Ties definitely did a lot for Fraser with The Mummy movies and more. He was pretty big for a bit. Now, of course, well, you know...
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Old 09-08-16, 03:30 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Are we talking about a movie where a side character became a surprise hit, or just any movie where the side character eventually eclipsed the main character?

.
The premise of the thread is terribly flawed. It is basically just inviting people to post examples of future stars playing small roles.

The example of Ghost World presents a very particular case: Expectations about Birch's career after American Beauty, ScarJo's career up to that point (getting some notice in small roles), the fact that while TB is the lead in GW, SJ has much more than a standard supporting role.
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Old 09-08-16, 04:50 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

So, we're looking for movies with two or more relatively unknowns, the movie is expected to catapult one of the unknowns, but the expected fizzles and another becomes better known?

How about Blade Runner?

Sean Young is the new hot thing expected to get somewhere but fizzles. Daryl Hannah goes on to Slash, Legal Eagles, Roxanne, Wall Street and Steel Magnolias.
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Old 09-08-16, 05:08 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

If that's our criteria, how about Blame It On Rio, which was supposed to launch Michelle Johnson as a sex symbol. Unfortunately, she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag. The unknown actress who played her best friend mostly got to keep her clothes on and ended up being a huge movie star eventually.

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Old 09-08-16, 05:43 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

So, we're looking for movies with two or more relatively unknowns, the movie is expected to catapult one of the unknowns, but the expected fizzles and another becomes better known?
Yes. It's like my American Pie example. Chris Klein and Sean William Scott were both unknowns. Chris Klein was supposed to be the member of the cast to break out since he got a couple leading roles after it. However he ended up fizzling out and Sean Willaim Scott became the breakout star.
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Old 09-08-16, 07:56 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Mystic Pizza -- Julia Roberts
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Old 09-08-16, 09:25 PM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
Harrison Ford - Star Wars
Jack Nicholson - Easy Rider
I'd say Harrison Ford in American Graffiti


Maybe Brad Pitt from Thelma & Louise
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Old 09-09-16, 01:24 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
I'd say Harrison Ford in American Graffiti
I'd go with Suzanne Somers.
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Old 09-09-16, 07:17 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
De Niro was already ahead of Keitel enough to earn him top billing in Mean Streets even though he was a supporting character.
That's interesting as I thought Mean Streets was DeNiro's breakout role, which eventually led him to Godfather 2 and TaxiDriver.
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Old 09-09-16, 09:28 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

What about Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted? As I remember it, the movie was supposed to reinvigorate Winona Ryder's stalled career, but it launched Jolie into super stardom.
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Old 09-09-16, 09:58 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by mcnabb View Post
That's interesting as I thought Mean Streets was DeNiro's breakout role, which eventually led him to Godfather 2 and TaxiDriver.
Correct. DeNiro already had a rising profile before MEAN STREETS, having appeared in two Brian De Palma cult comedies, GREETINGS and HI MOM!, a Roger Corman crime film, BLOODY MAMA, and the mob comedy, THE GANG THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT, based on the best-selling Jimmy Breslin novel, which I saw at the time. MEAN STREETS shot him to stardom. I had never heard of Harvey Keitel before MEAN STREETS.
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Old 09-09-16, 10:19 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by robin2099 View Post
Yes. It's like my American Pie example. Chris Klein and Sean William Scott were both unknowns. Chris Klein was supposed to be the member of the cast to break out since he got a couple leading roles after it. However he ended up fizzling out and Sean Willaim Scott became the breakout star.
I'd say the role of Stiffler is the kind of one, a week into Production everyone must have been thinking this kid is gonna make millions as the wisewracking sidekick in actions movies so treat him nice. Looking at his imdb page though SWS seems to have hit a crossroad as he is too old to play the kind of comic roles he used too but he was so typecast in them he hasn't gotten a chance to do any dramatic stuff even though he was pretty good in Goon.
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Old 09-09-16, 10:19 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

Originally Posted by mcnabb View Post
That's interesting as I thought Mean Streets was DeNiro's breakout role, which eventually led him to Godfather 2 and TaxiDriver.
It could be debated that Bang the Drum Slowly which was his first major role and came out slightly before in the same year was his breakout role. He earned more recognition for Mean Streets because he won the National Society of Film Critics Circle & New York Film Critics Awards for best supporting actor.
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Old 09-09-16, 10:25 AM
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Re: Movies in which the unexpected actor became the bigger star

"Mean Girls." It was Lindsay's vehicle but Rachel McAdams stole the show. You could also argue Amanda Seyfried did too.
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