Quit Your Day Job
Sometimes, movie stars just seems to pop out of nowhere. One day, you’ve never heard of them; the next day, they’re in every movie, on every billboard. But most of the time, an actor has been at it for years. They’ve been doing whatever horrible job they can get while going on auditions, and taking whatever small work they can until they get that big break. Usually, that means commercials. There’s a lot of commercial work out there for an actor, and it allows them to make some money while getting experience and exposure. Once most of these actors become big stars, they would probably just as soon forget about the commercials that they starred in, which, in most cases, is some pretty embarrassing stuff. Luckily, we have the internet, which remembers everything, including these 7 incredibly well known actors, and the commercials they did before they were household names.
While best known as Michael Scott on The Office, Steve Carell has starred in some pretty big movies, including Little Miss Sunshine, Get Smart, Evan Almighty, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and the recent Crazy Stupid Love. Back in 1989, he was living in Chicago, trying to make ends meet while taking classes at Second City when he starred in this commercial for Brown’s Chicken, a Chicago area chicken joint. Even here, you can see the buffoonish, sarcastic humor he would bring to the boss of Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch.
Leo got his start in commercials, hocking such products as Matchbox cars, Apple Jacks, and, in this incredibly dated commercial from 1988, Bubble Yum bubble gum. He would make his feature film debut in 1991 with the forgettable, straight to video Critters 3, but only three years later, would be nominated for his first Oscar for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
The 1980s were a strange time, filled with loud colors, synthesizer music, and a new editing style introduced by music videos. This Pringles commercial has all of that, and a young actor named Brad Pitt. You might have heard of him. Even this zany commercial beats the jobs he had to make ends meet when he first moved to Los Angeles, including a stint dressing as poultry in front of a Hollywood chicken joint.
Yes, it’s Ben Affleck in a Burger King commercial. He’s an Oscar winner, actor and a pretty damn good director. But no offense to him, the best thing in this commercial? That cell phone.
This is a commercial that makes little to no sense at all. You’re telling the public that your product doesn’t taste good. Yep, that’ll sell. Surprisingly, it will, if you get one of the most lauded actors of the last 30 years. Back in 1973, Morgan Freeman was only known to kids as one of the cast members of the PBS show The Electric Company, and for small commercial roles. Since then, Freeman has played everyone from a Civil War soldier to an inmate to a cop to the President of the United States.
There’s a little bit of Ted Theodore Logan in this Coke commercial from the early 80s. Actually, there’s a lot of every one of Reeve’s characters in this commercial. But if nothing else, this commercial proves that you don’t have to expand as an actor to become one of the biggest stars in the business.
SAMUEL L. JACKSON
Even the man whose films have made more money than almost every other actor in history started out on the small screen. In fact, if you blink, you might miss Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance in this Krystal burger commercial. It’s also strange to see a man who has such a big personality being so quiet. It would take another 20 years of Jackson to become a household name. Maybe he just needed that time to find his personae.