5 Huge Celebrities With Insane Secret Backstories
Most movie and TV stars get noticed in a casting call, and then hope they get to keep working long enough that they become famous and that society's rules thus no longer apply to them. It's a pretty straightforward process. But some celebrities take the scenic route to stardom, and wind up going down some strange back roads ...
Matt Dillon's Career Exists Thanks To A Creepy Dude Stalking Children
Matt Dillon is "that guy you know from that thing." He has indeed been in many things. Some of them good! Dillon's career started with Over The Edge, a 1979 drama about young people engaging in drug use, vandalism, attempted murder, and successful murder. What separated it from other coming-of-age stories is that Over The Edge was a teen movie starring real teenagers -- like Dillon, who was only 14 at the time.
Being the adventures of a young man whose principal interests are ultra-violence, half-shirts, and the Bee Gees.
The producers of the movie wanted to cast talented amateurs from outside Hollywood in the main roles, and that meant a nationwide call. But their budget was virtually non-existent, so they did the next best thing and started stalking real schoolkids. One of the film's talent scouts went to Westchester, New York and walked around a middle school spying on kids in hallways and classrooms because, Jesus, the '70s really were a different time, weren't they? On the last day of "scouting," Stalker Ace found a young Matt Dillon skipping class, wandering the hallways acting tough, as teenagers often hilariously attempt to do, and brought him to meet the director. Presumably in the back of a windowless white Econoline van.
Which would explain his choice of mustache for There's Something About Mary.
Norman Reedus Got His Break By Gettin' Hammered
Norman Reedus is best known as Daryl Dixon from AMC's The Walking Dead. But before he became famous for playing one of the few tolerable people to survive the apocalypse, he got his break by getting hilariously drunk at a party. Apparently, Hollywood really is a "fake it 'til you make it" kinda place: Reedus got hammered at an industry party and started screaming at people, but because he did it while wearing women's glasses (which he'd stolen from one of his fellow party-goers), a producer confused his ordinary belligerence for the special belligerence of a budding celebrity, and offered him a part in a play. This eventually led to Reedus nabbing his first film role, and even landing a job as a Prada model in 1997. Reedus is rather handsome now, but back in the day, he was David-Bowie-level gorgeous.
Ground Control to Major Damn.
The Prada gig ended after a week, though, when Reedus used an expensive sweater to mop up a spilled beverage. Because you can lead a man to fucks, but you can't make him give one. He went on to model for Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Gap, and Levi's, until he was hit by an 18-wheeler in 2005 and thrown through the windshield of his car. He had a titanium eye socket implanted in his skull and four screws in his nose. After that, he was obviously perfect for The Walking Dead, since he basically was one.
He still occasionally models, because damn.
Mila Kunis Had To Win The Lottery (TWICE) To Become An Actress
Mila Kunis had to work her ass off to become famous, but she never would've had the chance to do so if not for pure, blind luck. See, Kunis was born in Soviet Ukraine, to parents who (understandably) did not want to live in Soviet Ukraine. They desperately wanted to get out of the country and move to America, but in order to do that, they first had to win the Green Card Lottery.
Officially called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, the lottery is the yearly giveaway of immigrant visas to 50,000 lucky foreigners. We don't really have all of the program's numbers, but in 2007, the Department of State received more than nine million DIVP applications, and those were just people who meet their insanely strict criteria. All in all, the chances of getting a Diversity Visa are slightly lower than one percent.
The odds of some asshole scamming you out of hundreds by pretending to be the lottery guy: much, much higher.
Miraculously, the Kunis family won the lottery ... which only meant that they could go to Moscow and await the results of a second lottery. The entire process took five years, but it was worth it. In 1991, Kunis arrived in Los Angeles with her parents, eventually got her role on That '70s Show, and later went down on Natalie Portman in Black Swan. So in a way, we're all winners.
Except for Lisa Frank, who have yet to recover from the loss of their very best spokesgirl.
Harrison Ford Got His Break By Being A Wildly Inept Carpenter
Harrison Ford first got his foot in Hollywood's door back in 1965 after he secured a contract with Columbia as part of their "New Talent" program. You probably think you know what happened next: Sensing his immense potential, the studio cast him in a critically-acclaimed indie movie, which then caught the attention of George Lucas. Right? Not quite.
Ford's "big break" was one minute of screen time in a shitty movie called Dead Heat On A Merry-Go-Round, in which he did such a terrible job that the executive producer sent him back for another six months of acting classes.
"You say you're paging Mr. Ellis, but I'm not feeling that you're paging Mr. Ellis!"
After only 18 months of Ford's seven-year contract, producer Jerry Tokovsky straight-up told him, "I don't think you're worth a thing to us. But I know your wife is pregnant, you need the money, so I'll give you another couple of weeks ... Now, get out of here." Ford responded to this, uh, "generous" offer with a tirade of creative swearing, and was fired on the spot.
He later managed to secure a similar deal with Universal, but still couldn't get a good role to save his life. To feed his family, he turned to carpentry, which he literally knew nothing about, and sometimes worked on people's roofs with a carpentry textbook in one hand.
Proof that he really was a scruffy-looking nerf herder.
Before he managed to self-crucify himself atop somebody's guest house, one of his carpentry clients introduced him to a Hollywood agent, he finally met George Lucas, and was cast in American Graffiti. Then Star Wars. Then Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Then in our hearts and naughty dreams forever.
Charlize Theron Was First Noticed For Screaming At A Bank Teller
Charlize Theron lived in South Africa back when it was an actual sci-fi dystopia full of flame-throwing cars and guns under every pillow. Unfortunately, that also included the Theron family's shotgun, which Charlize's alcoholic father grabbed one day and fired at his wife and daughter. Her mother responded by pulling out her own handgun and serving her husband divorce papers from the law firm of Smith & Wesson.
Just a little something for the paparazzi to keep in mind at all times.
No surprise, then, that Theron left the country to pursue a career in modeling, before dropping it to pursue ballet professionally, and then eventually moving to LA to make it as an actress. She struggled financially at first, and would occasionally get support from her mother. But one day, when Theron went to withdraw that money, the bank told her that she couldn't access her own account. Frustrated, she began yelling at the teller. This temper tantrum caught the attention of a high-profile manager who happened to be there and decided, "People would pay to see this beautiful woman scream." And that was that.
"OK, Charlize. Bank Of America has overdrawn your account for no reason and they won't give the money back. Action!"
So if there's one lesson Reedus and Theron can teach us, it's this: Be beautiful and yell at everybody all the time.
Abraham is a Mexican lawyer. When he isn't doing law stuff, he writes comedy! You can say hi to him on Twitter here, or visit his DeviantArt here. Tara doesn't have a backstory yet, but she hopes that when she gets one, there's a radioactive spider involved. You can tell her your insane backstory at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plenty of famous stars sort of lucked their way into the limelight. Like Pamela Anderson being seen on a jumbotron. Or Michael Clarke Duncan started out as Biggie Smalls' bodyguard. See those and more in 7 Celebrity Careers That Launched by Accident and 5 Celebrities You Didn't Know Ass-Kicked Their Way To Fame.
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