These actors had little or no experience before landing major roles!
Choosing the perfect actor for the lead role in any project is a difficult task and after exhaustive research it turns out that sometimes the perfect actor is not an actor at all! On more than one occasion, ordinary people have been pulled from complete obscurity to star in a major project simply because they played the part so perfectly.
From “The Florida Project” star Bria Vinaite, who was found on Instagram, to Evanna Lynch, who was a Harry Potter superfan, these ordinary people have been given the opportunity of a lifetime. What they do with their careers after being introduced to the limelight is up to them, but one thing is for sure: they have been fully prepared for success.
Here’s how these strangers landed leading roles …
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1. Yalitza Aparicio – Rome
Before Yalitza Aparicio was chosen for “Roma,” she was a preschool teacher in Tlaxiaco, Oaxaca, who had never considered playing. It was actually Yalitza’s sister who was interested in the role and she was there to accompany her to the audition. Her sister ended up being cold-eyed and out of curiosity, Yalitza then submitted an audition tape, which involved answering personal questions instead of a dialogue. Yalitza ended up being the perfect fit for the role and even won an Oscar nomination.
“It was a huge surprise. My goal was never to get the part. I was just curious every step of the way… They didn’t say who the director was or what movie we would audition for. They did. just said they were looking for women of all body types and ages. That and just the name of the production company was everything, “Yalitza told Vulture.
2. Nikki Blonsky – Lacquer
Nikki Blonsky was a high school student who had no previous professional experience other than local community theater when she was cast to play Tracy Turnblad in the film adaptation of “Hairspray.” She had seen a casting for the role online and received several callbacks before flying to Los Angeles for a final audition. Then, when she officially landed the role, the film’s production company sent a film crew to the ice cream shop where she worked to surprise her with the news.
“They all really took me under their wing and shared so much love, emotion and joy with me and we bonded…[It] It was like a college and summer camp and it all came together to be a million, ”Nikki told The New York Times of her first experience filming.
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3. Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
Gabourey Sidibe was a psychology student and receptionist when she auditioned for the lead role in “Precious”. Gabourey was recommended for audition by someone she had performed with at a local theater before, even though she hadn’t been on stage in years. She initially hesitated to try her luck because she had just returned to school but on the day of the audition, she decided to go.
“I didn’t think I had anything to do with the audition, I didn’t think I could get an acting job with just one audition. I wasn’t a drama student, I wasn’t. “Never wanted to play. The biggest thing I learned was that I was wrong about what I thought I could do. I thought I would be a receptionist my whole life,” Gabourey told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
4. Jameela Jamil – The Right Place
When Jameela Jamil was cast for “The Good Place,” she was an unknown model and TV presenter who aimed to become a comedy writer. She says she was not interested in becoming an actress and was forced to attend the audition by her modeling agency, even though it was the first time she had tried an acting role. . During the audition, she didn’t want to embarrass her agent so she ended up lying about her experience.
“I wanted to be a writer, and a comedy writer, in particular, and I had to, really, go to the audition for ‘The Good Place.’ And I was just kicking and screaming because I thought I didn’t deserve to be there in a Mike Schur comedy because I had no previous experience, but they gave me the part because Mike Schur is a weird, weird man, “Jameela told W Magazine.
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5. ken jeong – knocked out
Ken Jeong worked as a doctor but had a passion for stand-up comedy when he landed his first major role in “Knocked Up”, where he accidentally played the role of a doctor on screen. The role ended up opening a ton of doors for Ken who was able to launch a successful acting career after the film’s debut. While it wasn’t her first role on a Tinseltown project, it was definitely her breakout moment.
“Most doctors have golf as a hobby. Mine was acting…[‘The Hangover’] changed my life overnight. It changed everything for me … I always say ‘Knocked Up’ opened the doors and ‘The Hangover’ opened it wide … I’m like a doctor who took a detour, “said Ken at NPR.
Evanna Lynch was just a Harry Potter superfan when she was cast for the role of Luna Lovegood. While battling an eating disorder, Evanna ended up befriending author JK Rowling, who she credits with helping get through this difficult time. When she finally saw an open casting for the role of Luna, she knew she had to audition but didn’t even have time to tell the writer before getting the part.
“Anyone who’s had an eating disorder knows that it takes over your life completely. The only thing that could really catch my attention other than that was the ‘Harry Potter’ series … I started writing to JK Rowling and she responded and we became I was going in and out of the hospital and getting these letters… We were writing to each other for years, but when the public hearing was up it happened in both weeks between audition and getting the part, I haven’t had a chance to tell her, “Evanna said on” Dancing With The Stars. “
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7. Henry Golding – Crazy Rich Asians
Henry Golding had never acted in movies or on television when he landed the lead role in “Crazy Rich Asians”. Prior to his film debut, Henry had worked at a prestigious salon in London before moving to Kuala Lumpur to pursue a career as a television presenter. He ended up hosting a travel show for the BBC and Discovery Channel Asia. It was this work that caught the attention of an accountant in the film’s Malaysian production office, who suggested Henry the role of Nick Young. Director Jon M. Chu loved Henry and ended up tracking him down through a mutual friend on Facebook.
“[Jon] was like, ‘You can do it. We see so much of that character in this role for you, that if you bring who you are as a person, we’re going to pull that off, ”Henry told Vulture.
8. Jaye Davidson – The Crying Game
Jaye Davidson was working as a fashion assistant when he found himself at a closing party for “Edward II”. He was approached by “The Crying Game” director Derek Jarman, who was also at the party and asked Jaye if he was an actor. He said no but Derek asked if he wanted to go out for the movie anyway. Since Jaye was a little too drunk, his friend ended up giving out director Jaye’s contact details. He then passed the audition and even got an Oscar nomination for his role.
“When I first stepped out for the role, I didn’t think I would have it in a million years. I just thought, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna go check this out, why not? is not the skin of my nose. ‘ And when I got it, I just burst out laughing …[It was] hysterical and nervous laughter. It was not a happy laugh. It was a nervous reaction, ”Jaye told Rolling Stone.
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9. Rosario Dawson – Children
Rosario Dawson was just a 15-year-old student when she was chosen for “Kids”. She was hanging out on her porch in New York City when she was approached by “Kids” director Larry Clark and writer Harmony Korine. The duo were looking for scouting for the movie they were looking to recruit non-actors in. Rosario went to audition and landed the role, launching her acting career.
“Larry said he was doing his first movie and that I would be interested. And Harmony was jumping up and down, like, ‘Oh my God, I wrote this character for you without even realizing it. I don’t. You didn’t even know you. You ‘are perfect for this character, you have to come in,’ “she told Dazed.
10. Darlene Cates – What Gilbert Grape Eats
Darlene Cates was a housewife struggling with her weight when she was cast as the mother of Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.” Writer and screenwriter Peter Hedges saw Darlene in an episode of “Sally Jessy Raphael” titled “Too Heavy to Leave Their House” and offered her the role of Bonnie Grape.
“No one could have been more surprised than me because I was just a fat housewife in Forney, TX of all places. I was sort of skeptical, but when I started to read, [director] Weary [Hallström] raised his hands in the air and said, ‘Finally! Someone who can act! ”She reportedly said.
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11. Hunter Schafer – Euphoria
Hunter Schafer was working as a model and was planning to study fashion design when she came across a casting for “Euphoria”. Although she had never acted before, Hunter was considering stepping out for the role when she was coincidentally invited to audition through her modeling agency.
“I’ve never acted before and I didn’t really intend to either. I modeled for about a year in New York City and then set my sights on fashion school and then. .. i saw this cast floating on Instagram. was for trans girls, who didn’t need to be experienced and who didn’t say “Euphoria” or whatever… I had been interested in trying to playing the part and… Then my modeling agency called me a few days later and auditioned me and that was the strangest thing – it just kept going, ”Hunter told EW.
12. Bria Vinaite – The Florida project
Bria Vinaite was working on growing her online clothing business Chronical Designs when “The Florida Project” director Sean Baker found her on Instagram and slipped into her DMs. Her fun aesthetic and carefree demeanor would have caught her attention and he asked her to cast her in the movie. Bria quickly embarked on a two-week acting class and then started working on the film.
“[I] was very scared and nervous. It was really a learning experience – I took a lot of classes, and it was very difficult because it’s just not something I thought I would do, ”Bria told IndieWire.