5 Celebrities Who Got Famous by Being Obsessed Fanboys
Right now there are kids all over the world wearing their favorite band's T-shirt and strumming an oddly sized air guitar in front of their mirror, nursing implausible dreams of some day getting to take the stage. Real life never works out that way, of course -- liking something a lot in no way guarantees you'll grow up to be any good at it. The closest we'll ever get to our idols is when their bodyguards rough us up for trying to get an autograph.
Most of the time, anyway. Sometimes you get stories like ...
The Avid Gamer Who Wound Up in the Game
Started Out As:
Seth Killian, an ordinary, nerdy kid who just happened to really, really freaking love Street Fighter.
A freaking character in Street Fighter IV, the main boss "Seth" ...
It's a damn good thing his name wasn't Mortimer.
... and also a Capcom employee.
Admit it: When you were 10 years old, a lot of you thought that if you got really good at Mario, some day they'd let you work at Nintendo. That was, of course, before life slapped you in the face and you realized that playing a lot of video games prepared you for nothing but a life of playing more video games.
But then we have Seth Killian. He was one of millions of rabid Street Fighter II players back when the series became huge. Only he took it a bit more seriously than most; while likely defying his parents' every attempt to find him a real hobby, he got so good at the game that he began playing it competitively and eventually started organizing his own tournaments.
Though he never quite mastered the beard-growing part of the game.
At this point, he tried to get in touch with Capcom to convince them to officially sponsor the events, but they repeatedly refused him, apparently because in those days video game companies didn't want to associate themselves with the bunch of nerds who bought their stuff.
Still, Killian persisted with developing the seemingly most dead-end skill set in existence. But years on, Capcom, after a change in management, started singing a different tune. They contacted their biggest fan and offered him a job. Jaded by years of brick-wall silence, Killian turned them down. That was when they told him what game they wanted him working on: a little project called Street Fighter IV. At this point, his pants probably flew straight off his body through the force of him shitting them.
Today, Seth Killian is strategic director, online & community, and special combat adviser for Capcom games, although his friends call him "S-Kill." Not only is he helping design the games that defined his childhood, but those who have played Street Fighter IV probably know that the main antagonist and final boss is a blue badass named after Seth:
And modeled after his exact body.
We like how they didn't make him the hero of the game at all. We should also note that in the game, Seth's character's lines include "Bow your head before me, this won't take long" and "When I'm finished, I will be the sole survivor of this world."
Uh ... are you trying to tell us something there?
Related: Mobile Gamers Are Gamers
The Harry Potter Fan Who Became Luna Lovegood
Started Out As:
A costumed 11-year-old kid standing in line for an autographed copy of the latest Harry Potter novel.
Those glasses are tattooed on there.
One of the stars of the films.
That goofy kid with the Harry Potter scar drawn on her forehead there is Evanna Lynch, who fans of the Potter movies know later went on to play Luna Lovegood. As a kid, Lynch was such a hardcore fan that she made the papers for it. She was just a random Irish schoolgirl back then, but made the news because her plan to camp out for the release of Order of the Phoenix got interrupted when she had to be hospitalized. The hospital and her family agreed to let her leave her bed for an hour so she could dress up in costume and stand in line for a signed copy. Yeah, Harry Potter is big over there.
Ha! They like reading. What a bunch of assholes.
Lynch was one of those fans who made her parents a little uneasy -- she named her cats after characters in the books, and her room was so covered in Potter posters that they blocked out the light.
So, several years later, when the casting call came up for the film version, Lynch naturally showed up to try out ... along with approximately every other teenage girl within a thousand miles. The line for the audition stretched for a dozen blocks and consisted of upwards of 15,000 shrieking potential Lunas. But one shy Irish girl had media-worthy fangirl power working for her.
Lynch astounded the casting agents with her interpretation, but it was her attention to detail that really won them over. She made sure to dress up as quirky as her spaced-out character, even making herself a pair of radish earrings that the filmmakers thought were so Luna that they let her wear them in the film.
"I also got high as balls every day before shooting. It's called Method."
Since then, Evanna Lynch has been praised as one of the standout performers in a series of movies that star some of the most prominent British actors in the business. Maybe they would have done better if they'd practiced their lines with a cat named Dumbledore.
The Kid Who Joined the A-Team
Started Out As:
A kid in the 1980s who was really, really into The A-Team.
He's the one who's not a cake.
Note: He wasn't celebrating his own birthday in that picture -- he was celebrating B.A. Baracus' birthday.
"Howling Mad Murdock" in the movie reboot 25 years later.
They called him "Howling Mad" because he once skinned and wore a prostitute.
Even if you don't recognize the name Sharlto Copley, you're probably familiar with his most famous role: Wikus, the unconventional hero of District 9. What you also might not know is that he's not an actor.
Not really, anyway. He was just the best friend of the director, Neill Blomkamp, and pulled off his amazing performance by basically being himself and improvising every single line on the spot.
But Copley's life-long ambition was never to star in a cult sci-fi film. As a kid, he had a different obsession: The A-Team. If you didn't grow up in the 1980s, it's hard to understand what a big deal the show was for a while. And like everyone on this list, Copley took it above and beyond. At school, he and his group of friends formed their own A-Team in the playground, and even defeated a rival A-Team, presumably demoting them to B-Team. Oh, and he got a Mr. T cake on that character's fictional birthday.
Ever since then, Mr. T wears a gold plate and spoon around his neck. Just in case.
But of course the show eventually ended and was relegated to the category of "one of those embarrassing '80s things." And like every kid, Copley had to grow up and accidentally stumble into the lead role of a $30 million action sci-fi classic. OK, so not like every kid.
Anyway, it was during the promotion of District 9 that Copley heard about a project that, let's face it, was always kind of inevitable -- the big-budget Hollywood remake of The A-Team. And they hadn't yet cast the role of Copley's favorite character, Howling Mad Murdock. Copley knew that his childhood self would fly forward in time just to punch him in the balls if he didn't go for that role.
Honestly, after seeing this picture, we would have done the punching for him.
So he did exactly what he'd just spent the past few months doing -- he improvised. Summoning his childhood mastery of Murdock's character, he recorded an audition tape in his hotel room, which was mostly him as Murdock messing around with an invisible dog. His portrayal didn't even match the direction that they were going to take with the character in the movie, but after Dwight Schultz, the original actor behind Murdock, saw the tape, he was reduced to tears of laughter and insisted that Sharlto Copley was the man for the role.
To sum up, Copley spent his childhood years playing The A-Team in the schoolyard, and 25 years later was paid millions to do the same thing, and then roll down the red carpet in a tank.
Dreams 1, reality 0.
The Geek Who Would Be Doctor Who
Started Out As:
A young, obsessed Doctor Who fan whose schoolteachers had to tell him to shut up about it.
Settle down, freaky nerd ladies.
Recently, Doctor Who won a victory over Star Trek by becoming the longest-running science fiction series ever. Twice as many actors have played the Doctor over its entire run as have played James Bond. All the way back in the '70s, the role belonged to Tom Baker (the fourth Doctor), and his biggest fan in the universe was a geeky kid named David McDonald.
And McDonald was a megafan to an extent that few men could begin to realize. As a child in school, it was all he ever wrote about, to the point where his teacher had to tell him to stop before she had to fail him. His most treasured possession was the stripy Doctor Who scarf his grandmother knitted him.
She also knitted him that wicked '70s white guy 'fro.
But he was a talented kid, even if he channeled all that talent into incessantly ranting about Doctor Who (a teacher still has one of his essays about the Doctor, titled "Intergalactic Overload," in which McDonald talked about becoming obsessed with the thought of being the Time Lord himself). And where most kids eventually drop their fantasy of growing up to be, say, a Jedi, David McDonald stuck to his guns and joined acting school. Only, because they already had a guy named David McDonald, he changed his name to something that a lot of nerds will find instantly familiar: David Tennant.
Tennant worked hard, forging himself a successful career in Shakespearean stage productions, until one day, while recording a radio play, he learned of a project that was being recorded next door: a Doctor Who animation being produced in an attempt to revive the series after a 14-year hiatus. This was Tennant's big break. He crashed the production and managed somehow to convince the director to give him a small role. Now that his foot was in the door, he was able to audition for the role he was born to play once the series geared up again. And guess what? He lost to Christopher Eccleston.
Oh, but they gave Tennant the role a year later, when Eccleston quit. And Tennant went on to be voted the best version of the Doctor ever by fans, which makes sense, because he knew the character better than anyone in the history of the universe. As if that wasn't a big enough screw you to the realists who mocked his obsession, he also married the daughter of Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor. Because apparently his good fortune just wasn't implausible enough already.
She's three and a half feet tall.
The Cover Band Singer Who Joined the Real Thing
Started Out As:
A Judas Priest fan so obsessed that he started a cover band just so he could live the fantasy.
The actual lead singer of Judas Priest.
As seen here, performing his rendition of "Rainbow Connection."
Tim Owens was one of those teenagers whose clothing was covered in flaming skulls wrapped in barbed wire and whose favorite albums all involved a great deal of screaming. When he was 16, his older brother came home with a new album that would go on to define his entire life: Screaming for Vengeance, by Judas Priest. From that day on, Judas Priest became his entire world. His walls were adorned with posters, and on his 18th birthday, he enjoyed a cake decorated with a screaming horned monster from one of JP's album covers. Basically, he lived a healthy and well-adjusted childhood.
When he was old enough, he naturally started a Judas Priest cover band. But Owens wasn't content to just cover his idols. He seemed determined to become them. He imitated Rob Halford, the lead singer, down to the most delicate nuance, or at least as delicate and nuanced as heavy metal can be. He even bought a motorcycle so that he could ride it on stage, because that was something Judas Priest did.
At this point, Owens was well on the way to potentially tracking down and ritualistically killing the band members to absorb their metal powers. But fate had something quite different in store. After Rob Halford left the band, Judas Priest was on the hunt for a new lead singer, and there seemed to be only one obvious choice. After an audition that presumably consisted of Owens singing ball-shattering high notes, he was made an official member of the band. From then on he became known as "Ripper," and got to record two albums with, and even write a song for, the band that had been his entire world.
These days, Owens still decorates his room with pictures of his favorite band, only unlike when he was a kid, he's in them.
Though, let's be fair, here: He'll never be in them the way Halford was in them.
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