EDITORS NOTE: Below is a list of the superstar actors who started out in not-so-super flicks ("Critters 3," anyone?), which was compiled by author Michael Adams just for Hollywood Crush. His new book (released yesterday), "Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made," dives further into the topic of crappy movies (and who starred in them!) as Michael himself attempted to watch every flop ever made.
By Michael Adams
They’re multimedia millionaire superstars now, but back in the day they were just paying the rent. Happily, their early schlocky efforts have been preserved for fans to savor.
Robert Pattinson in "The Haunted Airman" (2005)
His supernatural adventures in "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" have earned him millions of fans but beware of this grindingly dull ghost story. Made for British TV, but released in the US on DVD, R-Pattz is a WWII pilot who gets his shot-down ass parked in a spooky hospital. There he encounters mild weirdness, including a possibly imaginary spider! Shivers, Scooby! This one really is for Twi-hards only.
Brad Pitt In "Cutting Class" (1989)
Long before he was an inglourious basterd, let alone sexiest man in the universe, Brad Pitt was getting uncredited work as “waiter” in "No Man’s Land" or as “preppie kid at fight” in "Less Than Zero." But then came this B-grade slasher, which gave him is first lead role as a high-school d-bag who suspects his former best friend is now a murdering psychopath. Brad’s charismatic screen presence is fully formed. And he looks damn good, natch.
Sandra Bullock in "Hangmen" (1987)
Sandy recently made history with "The Blind Side," becoming the first female star to headline a $200m-plus grossing blockbuster. But everyone’s got to start somewhere and 23-years-ago Sandra made her feature debut in this confusing thriller about a kid being chased by a special ops hit squad. She plays Lisa, said kid’s girlfriend, and she’s only in the flick for about 10 minutes. Back then this wasn’t enough to get her name in the opening credits. Of course now her name’s above the title on the DVD box.
Leonardo DiCaprio in "Critters 3" (1991)
Despite hideous hair sheafs and an assortment of godawful pastel wear, Lenardo Dicaprio managed to make an impressive debut as a kid with attitude who goes up against the title creatures, a bunch of fur-balled monsters invading an apartment block. Even so, it’s tough to believe he’d headline the box office splash hit "Titanic" only six years later.
Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey in "The Return of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1994)
Before she was an Oscar winner and he was, well, a shirtless bongo player and surfer, they were hopefuls who got a break in this horror flick. To be fair, this movie is unpleasant but effective. It’s also a showcase for two terrific talents. Renee suffers all sorts of indignities before becoming the film’s heroine, while Matthew is off the (meat)hook as the robot-legged psycho who may be doing all of his evil at the behest of some weird cosmic conspiracy.
Sam Worthington in "Fink!" (2005)
Thanks to "Avatar," he’s now globally known as the paraplegic hero who finds a new lease on life — and a pair of functioning legs — as a 9-foot-tall blue Na’vi on Pandora. But less than five years ago, the Aussie native wasn’t above helping out a few mates who were making a no-budget crime comedy set in Sydney. A seriously terrible cut of the movie emerged and was screened once on Aussie TV before disappearing without trace. For Sam fans, it could be the Holy Grail. To the right is how he looked. Not bad at all.
For more entertaining tales from the world of bad movies (other celebrities who started out in z-list movies not mentioned above include Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman) buy yourself (or your other half) a copy of Michael's pop-culture memoir, "Showgirls, Teen Wolves, And Astro Zombies."