Charlie Hunnam Was Scouted at a Shoe Store and More of the Very Different Ways Your Favorite Celebs Were Discovered
The Sons of Anarchy star was in film school when a chance encounter led to his big break. “I was in a shoe store in Newcastle upon Tyne, where I grew up. I was 17,” he said on Live with Kelly and Ryan. “I was Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve — a little inebriated, which is the way I do my Christmas shopping, or did back then, and the production manager of the only TV show that really shot in the north of England happened to be in this shoe store. I was obviously in high spirits; it was Christmas Eve, I was a little drunk and so I just blew her a kiss … She sort of smiled a little and then she just came up and said ‘Have you ever thought about acting?’ “
The megastar was once a wannabe actor living in a van and waiting tables in Maui, when a director came in to the Bubba Gump where he worked and changed his life.
"I have one of those strange stories that you hear about, and you think that that can't possibly be true," he said on an episode of Live with Kelly and Ryan. The director told him he was cute, asked if he acted, and "four days later I was in Los Angeles and I never went back," he added.
The singer-turned-actress has a FedEx employee to thank for the launch of her career. The summer before she began high school, the actress bought some studio time — and the delivery man heard her. “It turned out the delivery guy had a friend of a friend of a friend who was the head of Urban A&R at Epic Records," Moore told Into the Gloss, adding that the incident led to a visit from a label rep. “The meeting was the same day as my high school homecoming football game, and I was more concerned about making sure this meeting was done in time so I could hang out with my friends! It was so beyond my comprehension that this could actually lead to a career. I was 14!"
Yes, JLaw's potential was so evident that she was stopped by a talent agent on the streets of New York. "I didn't know that kind of thing was creepy," the actress told T: The New York Times Magazine. "Then I went into the agency and did a cold read for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial. They told me it was the best cold read they'd ever seen from a 14-year-old. My mom told me they were lying."
The Baywatch star was already bitten by the acting bug by the time his 8th grade drama teacher suggested he start auditioning for TV and movie roles. "From Day One, I got addicted to being on stage and getting the applause and laughter," he told San Luis Obispo, California's, The Tribune in 2006. He soon landed his now-iconic role in High School Musical and, well, you know the rest.
Apparently Portman even looks regal while eating pizza. (We, however, do not.) It was in a restaurant where a modeling agency approached her. "I was just at a pizza place, after dance class, with my mom," she recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. "I was excited. As a 10-year-old girl, it was super-flattering." However, the Oscar winner realized "I'm not interested in people judging me by what my appearance is" and requested to be put in touch with the team's acting agents.
A relaxing day by the water took a life-changing turn for a teenage Vergara. "I was 17. I was at the beach with my parents and some scout asked to take a Polaroid of me," the star told E! in 2013. Later that year, the actress scored her first Pepsi commercial and was well on her way to Modern Family stardom.
The star's breakout role in 1995's Kids catapulted the fresh-faced teen to fame — but how did Dawson snag her first on-screen role? "I was hanging out on my stoop," she said of where the film's director Larry Clark and writer Harmony Korine spotted the New York City native. "They wouldn't have seen me otherwise."
While skateboarding through N.Y.C.'s East Village neighborhood, a then-17-year-old Sevigny was spotted by a fashion editor, who asked if she'd model for Sassy magazine. Sevigny agreed and two years later, in 1994, was cast in Kids — her first film role.
The actor initially had no intention of pursuing a career in film — in fact, Kutcher was majoring in engineering at the University of Iowa when he was scouted by a recruiter at a bar, who encouraged him to enter a modeling competition. Kutcher went on to win the contest, which would eventually open up a slew of TV and film roles. That '70s Show, anyone?
Sounding like a straight-up film scene, Theron's "How I Was Discovered" anecdote involves the 18-year-old South African transplant getting into a shouting match with a bank teller in L.A. after her paycheck was rejected. "If I didn't cash that check, I wouldn't have had a place to sleep that night," Theron told O, The Oprah Magazine of the 1994 incident.
Luckily, the heated exchange led to a major opportunity for the future Oscar winner. A talent agent named John Crosby was standing in line, right behind Theron, and ended up handing her a business card in the end.
HALEY JOEL OSMENT
Osment is living proof that anything can happen at Ikea — including launching a successful career as a child actor. "I was at the Burbank Ikea, and it's so weird that they'd do this because I think if you saw this now, you’d be like, ‘What?’ But they had a casting table with two women taking Polaroids of all the kids who would come into the store," he told Vulture.
“They took a Polaroid and nobody thought anything of it until we got called to do a cattle call at one of those kids’ commercial things. We went, and from that audition, within a couple of weeks, I was doing a Pizza Hut commercial for Bigfoot pizzas, a promotional pizza they had. Just from that commercial, the casting director for Forrest Gump got in contact with us and I was reading with [director Robert] Zemeckis and Tom Hanks pretty soon after that,” he said. “It all kind of snowballed from there.”