See Jason Momoa, Ben Affleck and More Before They Were Famous in Lifetime Movies!
From soapy romances to true-crime sagas and many a heart-tugging holiday tale, Lifetime has produced more than 350 original movies — which have picked up 63 Emmy nominations — since its first, Memories of Murder, starring Nancy Allen, debuted in July 1990. To celebrate the 30th anniversary, the network is airing a star-studded marathon July 4 and 5. Here’s a look at some of the A-listers who kicked off their careers in Lifetime movies.
“I was such a novice,” the Oscar winner, 44, recalled at the AFI Awards in 2017 of her second movie. Thankfully she found a “mentor” in the film’s director, Diane Keaton: “She taught me to always be an original, just like her.”
After she was Wonder Woman and before he was Batman (or an Oscar winner), Affleck, 47, starred with Lynda Carter in this Danielle Steel adaptation. “We had a great time together, and I adore him,” Carter told KQED in 2014.
The Game of Thrones actor, 40, made quite the impression on his costar Lainie Kazan in this film where he played a love interest for Virginia Madsen. “I knew it was gonna happen for him!” Kazan told Gay City News in 2019. “He took my breath away.”
Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story (1994)
Swank, 45, honed her talent for playing real-life characters — which led to Oscar wins for Boys Don’t Cry (1999) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) — as Patty Anzlovar, whose abusive, steroid-addicted stepfather was killed by his wife. “There’s not a lot of original, unique fictional stories,” she explained to the L.A. Times in 2010.
Dying to Belong (1997)
A few years later, Swank returned to the network for this cautionary tale about college hazing.
Miracle Run (2004)
Before shooting hoops as Troy Bolton in High School Musical, Efron, 32, picked up a Young Artist Award nomination for his portrayal of a boy with autism who loved to run.
Taraji P. Henson
Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story (2011)
Four years before Empire, Henson, 49, earned an Emmy nomination for this true story of a mom who rescued her abducted son from South Korea. “I don’t chase awards,” she said on the red carpet at the awards show. “I just did it because I was passionate about the story.”
Gracie's Choice (2004)
The New York Times wrote that Bell, 39, was “too pretty” but had “moral power” as Gracie, a teen raising her four siblings after their addict mom goes to jail.
On the 2nd Day of Christmas (1997)
The Avengers star, 52, who has said he went on 600 auditions before his big-screen breakthrough in You Can Count on Me in 2000, played a mall security guard who falls in love with a thief (Mary Stuart Masterson).
Going for Broke (2003)
Page, 33, began acting at age 10 and was 16 when she played the daughter of a gambling addict (Delta Burke). Four years later she became an Oscar nominee for Juno.
Four years before teens everywhere began screaming for Stewart in Twilight, the actress, 30, played a teen who survived unspeakable trauma.
William & Kate (2011)
Before winning hearts as Dr. Jo Karev on Grey's Anatomy, Luddington, 36, stepped into the well-heeled shoes of Kate Middleton in a retelling of her royal love story with Prince William (Nico Evers-Swindell).