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Movie Stars Who Debuted in Stupid Ads

Celebrities

A common misconception is that A-list movie stars are simply ‘discovered’ overnight.  In reality, these guys and gals usually toil for years, auditioning for terrible bit parts and taking any shameless gig to pay the bills.

You’d be surprised about how many of the Hollywood elite appeared in commercials prior to getting their big break. And then we wonder what is must have been like for the advertisers, producers, directors and crew to watch these nobodies become some of the biggest stars in the world. Check out some of our favorite commercials.

Keanu Reeves

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Before ‘woah’, there was… oh, who are we kidding. Keanu is all about the ‘woah’. Just watch him in this commercial for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, where he is setting a table for what seems to be a few dozen people for a massive cereal feast. There’s some debate whether it takes place in Hogwarts, and the basic premise is indeed ridiculous, but the look on his place as he surreptitiously takes a bite is truly worth the 30-second journey. Nom nom nom.

Benicio del Toro (and bonus)

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Benicio del Toro is one tough guy, and he has done very little in his career to negate that image. That is, unless you see this Calvin Klein ad where he blends in beautifully with all of the over-the-top sensuality associated with the ‘Obsession’ brand. The bonus? Well, if you don’t recognize the girl, Heather Graham, then you should feel ashamed. But the real bonus is that the director of this commercial was David Lynch. Makes being in a commercial like this less embarrassing, no?

Jodie Foster

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A lot of people already know that Jodie’s been acting since she was a little kid, and perhaps even know that her first appearance ever was in this Coppertone commercial. After a couple of decades of being a professional, it’s no wonder that she seems to be able to sip into roles with relative ease, and have two Oscars to show for it too. This is one of those classic ads that remind us how a famous person can be part of our public conscious for such a long time.

John Travolta

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OK, so this clip is a mash up of two commercials that Mr. Grease did early on in his career – one for Band-Aid and the for Safe Guard soap. But the fact that they both take place in a shower is hilarious, and we wonder how it informs the actor’s trajectory as well as all of the ‘rumors’ we tend to hear about his favorite personal pastimes.  At the very least, it’s nice to see some old-fashioned singing and complete lack of respect for reality.

Bruce Willis

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Another star who has never hidden his love of singing is good ol’ Bruce. And this is not a bad debut for someone who fancies himself as the musical sort, which he continued to try to show off in the box office failures like ‘Hudson Hawk’. Filmed before he was even a major actor in TV, it is amazing to see advertisers put so much faith put into his charisma and performance. Then again, Seagram’s Golden Wine Coolers don’t exist anymore, do they?

Michael J. Fox

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Remember when commercials told a story instead of listed all of the possible, life threatening side effects? We don’t either. That’s why finding this old McDonalds ad with Michael J. Fox is such a treat. It’s a sappy, sentimental ad, but demands you to watch the scene between pubescent teens unfold like some important life-changing event. It’s hard to deny Fox’s likability here though.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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OK, so this one is kind of a cheat, but we had to include it for kicks. While Arnold wasn’t in commercials prior to becoming an actor, he was not shy about appearing in Japanese commercials for big wads of cash after his career was at its peak. We can’t explain what is going on in this one, but isn’t it refreshing to experience an ad in this way? Watch, enjoy, and try to interpret it for yourself!

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