Movie Monday: Actors

Week 3


Let’s take a look at 15 actors with interesting stories and fascinating upbringings! Note that Expendables-esque action stars as well as comedy actors are not included here, with the exception of Jim Carrey. This is because this series is young! We got time for that in the future.

Robert Downey Jr.

  •   Career gained momentum with Chaplin, a biopic about Charlie Chaplin, played by  RDJ.
  •   1996 to 2001 was rough on his career due to drug related problems.
  •   In 2003 he came out of jail/rehab clean and sober.
  •   Revived himself through Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, and Sherlock Holmes. Take note of the “Jesus shot” in the first Iron Man movie, as well as the character similarities between RDJ and Iron Man.

rdjDenzel Washington

  • Got his career started with Cry Freedom. He was nominated for an Oscar for playing Steve Biko. That was not the only activist he played. Denzel also tackled Malcolm X, and was even offered the role of MLK Jr. He refused it, however, as he wanted to avoid being typecast.
  • After a hit supporting role in Glory, which won him Best Supporting Actor, his career gained momentum.
  • Training Day was a big lead role that won him Best Actor after he did many supporting roles.

denzel Heath Ledger

  • Early in his career, quickly gaining the image of a teen heartthrob and not wanting to retain it, he accepted a role in The Patriot.
  • Not finding success after playing many different characters, Brokeback Mountain gave him an Oscar nomination and a lot of attention.
  • The role of Ledger’s career is inarguably his performance as the Joker in the Dark Knight.
  • He passed shortly after filming the Dark Knight due to an accidental drug overdose, at age 28.

heathHarrison Ford

  • Got his start in American Graffiti from George Lucas.
  • His role as Han Solo progressed his career greatly, following up with Indiana Jones.
  • Has no ambition to get behind the camera, which is an interesting choice for men in his age group. Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stallone have pursued directing careers, for example. Ford says that he wouldn’t want to trade the best job in the world for the hardest job in the world.

Mark Wahlberg

  • Started off as a rapper in his group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
  • When his rap career ended, Boogie Nights gave him a great start in film.
  • Since then he has played many characters, often hotheaded. He has great range, as displayed by Ted, giving the star a new reputation of a potential comedy actor.

wahlbergBrad Pitt

  • First got noticed in 1991 for Thelma and Louise. (attracted the ladies, as he appeared without a shirt.)
  • In 1995, Se7en and 12 Monkeys were both big hits which gained much momentum for his career.
  • Four years later, Fight Club was a cult hit. Brad Pitt continues to have a large spotlight. Pitt is still flourishing in Hollywood because of his role choices. He doesn’t stick to one type of character, and his range is undeniably wide.


 John Travolta

  • Rose to stardom through Welcome Back Kotter, a hit TV series.
  • In 1977 and 1978, Saturday Night Fever and Grease were hits, making Travolta a symbol of disco.
  • From there, his career regressed. His role choices were poor and he wasn’t doing very well for himself. Travolta’s career was revived in 1994 when he was cast in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.

 travolta  Johnny Depp

  • Became a star after playing in the popular TV series 21 Jump Street, the inspiration for the 2012 comedy.
  • Chooses roles in which he plays odd characters and outlandish people.
  • Since Pirates in 2003, Depp has played Jack Sparrow in all of his films. (See the Tourist running scene.)


 Jim Carrey

  • In 1990, In Living Color, a comedy sketch show, showcased Carrey’s very animate humor. (Fire Marshall Bill)
  • In 1994, he made a name for himself with Ace Venture: Pet Detective, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask.
  • Transitioned to serious roles with the Truman Show, though he still does comedy.

Liam Neeson

  • After landing in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, he was recognized as a leading actor.
  • In 2009, his wife died as a result of a skiing accident. He has not remarried.
  • Is known in pop culture to be godlike, on screen and off. He has, after all, played Qui-Gon Jinn, Ra’s al Ghul, and Aslan.

Kevin Spacey

  • The Usual Suspects threw him into the spotlight after he played a string of mysterious, manipulative characters.
  • Tries to keep his personal life private in an effort to have the audience recognize his characters rather than himself behind the characters.
  • Is currently starring in House of Cards, high acclaimed Netflix exclusive show.

Tom Cruise

  • Top Gun made him an A list actor
  • Starred in many big films after Top Gun, including Rain Man.
  • Greatly enjoys Oprah’s couch.
  • Has been married 3 times.


 Leonardo DiCaprio

  • After taking on various roles, 1996’s Romeo + Juliet gave DiCaprio great amounts of attention.
  • Titanic instantly booted him up to being an A list actor.
  • A string of Scorsese films advanced his career. (Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed.)


Will Smith

  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air gained Smith a large audience.
  • Bad Boys kicked Smith into the Hollywood spotlight.
  • After Independence Day, a string of hits were released.
  • Smith advanced his rap career throughout his movie stardom.


Russell Crowe

  • Born in New Zealand, raised in Australia.
  • LA Confidential was the first American movie to draw him attention.
  • In 2000 and 2001, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind were a one-two punch that won him awards and critical praise.

Thanks for reading!



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