17 Now-Famous People You Didn't Know Were in Movies You've Seen
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17 (More) Now-Famous People You Didn't Know Were in Movies You've Seen

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | August 8, 2012 | Comments ()


One of the most popular and strangely enduring posts on the site was a one I ran last February: 12 Famous People You Didn't Know Were in Movies You've Seen (Seth Rogen in Donnie Darko!). Basically, it's a collection of now stars who you wouldn't have noticed during the movie's original run because they weren't famous, but who would stand out to you now if you were to re-watch the movie.

In the comments of that post, there were a lot of other suggestions, and I went through a collected the best 17 for this reader-suggested sequel (there were a slew of TV suggestions, as well, which I'll hold for a later post).

Except for Phillip Seymour Hoffman (but not Todd Louiso), all of these came as a surprise to me, even Fillion. I have no idea how I missed that, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit it.

Courtney Cox in Masters of the Universe


Michael Shannon in Groundhog Day


Jim Carrey in Peggy Sue Got Married


Phillip Seymour Hoffman AND Todd Louiso in Scent of a Woman


Nathan Fillion in Saving Private Ryan


Aaron Paul in Mission: Impossible III


Liam Neeson in Krull


Jason Segel in SLC Punk


Mischa Barton in Notting Hill


Jane Lynch in The Fugitive


Gerard Butler in Tomorrow Never Dies

Screen Shot 2012-08-08 at 10.04.04 AM.png

Jack Black in Waterworld

Jack Black - Waterworld 02.jpeg

Ben Affleck in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (The Movie)


Jane Krakowski in National Lampoon's Vacation


Richard Dreyfuss in The Graduate

Screen Shot 2012-08-08 at 10.11.59 AM.png

Justin Long in Galaxy Quest


Matthew McConaughey (and Neal McDonough) in Angels in the Outfield


11 Generally Unfunny Comedians Worthy of Contempt | A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Nat

    I was just flipping channels and came across a scene in Mona Lisa Smile that featured both John Slattery and Dominic West.

  • A. Smith

    Floors me that Nick Offerman was in Sin City

  • I know this isn't a movie, but I just thought I'd throw it out there while we're on the subject: Band of Brothers -- Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Jimmy Fallon, Simon Pegg

  • Sweep The Leg

    Jeff Goldblum as a murdering rapist thug in the first Death Wish movie. Thought for sure there was a glitch in the matrix the random late night I stumbled on that one.

  • chris1174

    Scarlet Johansson in Home Alone 3. Plays the older sister.

  • major harris

    liam neeson, gabriel byrne, patrick stewart in excalibur. jim carrey was in once bitten in the mid 80's with lauren hutton and cleavon little (sherriff bart, blazing saddles) and in the dead pool with clint eastwood. liam neeson was in that too. nick cage for 30 seconds in fast times at ridgemont high. you could go on and on in this list.

  • Tim

    Jack Black and Seth Green in Airborne, 1993

  • Allen Pryor Brand

    William H Macy in the Last Dragon has always blown me away if only because of his awesome 80's jacket.

  • Cinjun

    40-year-old virgin, Jenna Fischer is part of a bachelorette party in the bar when Carell takes Leslie Mann home..

  • Berg

    Let's not forget Robbie Coltrane's appearance in Krull as well. Oh, and Jack Black as the stoner groundskeeper in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

  • Sam

    Oh yeah and Fillion was in Blast From the Past. Shut up! It's a sweet movie!

  • Jack Black in Bob Roberts.

  • Gina

    Michael Biehn in Grease. (You can catch him in the first day of school montage if you're watching carefully.)

  • Sam

    Dermot Mulroney was in Angels in the Outfield too.

  • Princess Di

    Also, I remember being attracted to Jason Segel in SLC Punk. I thought him quite adorable with his glasses and anger issues.

  • Princess Di

    Zach Galifinakis in Heartbreakers.

  • Whorish Mouth

    I turned on the tv yesterday at lunch and Comedy Central was on, and was playing a movie I'd never heard of: Nat'l Lampoon's Senior Trip, I think? I thought I recognized the person I saw on the screen, but had a hard time reconciling the image with who I thought it was. Lo and behold, I was right. It was Jeremy Renner.

  • PushingDaisies

    How about Elijah Wood in Back to the Future 2. In the future he was one of the little boys in the retro cafe at the video game

  • Gina

    That was mentioned in the previous entry.

  • Allan

    In coming to America barber shop scene. Eddie Murphy is cutting Cuba Gooding Jr's hair

  • cinekat

    love this list. LOVE. moar!

  • Hiro_the_Eighth_Samurai

    Viggo Mortensen in Young Guns II should have been included. I had seen Young Guns II numerous times, but that was rather long before Mortensen leaped up to the big time playing Aragorn in the LOTR trilogy. One day, I was just browsing Mortensen's filmography and saw Young Guns II in it. After saying, "No way! He's not in Young Guns II" many times, and after trying to find online clips of him from the movie, I dug through my DVD collection and watched the movie in fast-scan until I saw a familiar face...

  • SLC Punk was such a great movie. seriously check it out for those of you who have never seen it. Shooter McGavin is in it as well, and has the outstanding line, "I didn't sell out, son, I bought in"

  • HTownandDown

    This might be common knowledge around these parts, but it totally blew my mind when I realized Bernice from Hope Floats is Mae Whitman. HER?????

  • Oh! MrFig suggested a good one: Jack Nicholson was in the original Little Shop of Horrors", as the masochistic patient at the dentist's. Everyone stop what you're doing and look it up, it's freaking hilarious and weird.

  • HA! I actually watched "Angels in the Outfield" repeatedly *because* Matthew MacCounaghey was in it. This was way back when it first came out on video, I had a HUGE crush on him, and the only other thing he'd been in (that I knew of) was "Angels". He's barely in it, but damn, he was cute.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman AND Todd Louiso in Scent of a Woman

    Are you sure they weren't at Hogwarts?

  • SteelCitySecretCinema

    I immediately think of Hope Davis (the French airport worker) in Home Alone...

  • FishHack76

    She was also Harvey Pekar's wife, Joyce, in "American Splendor."

  • yocean

    So I guess this means that Viggo Mortensen was in The Witness? Many years ago i spotted him on rerun on TV. My roommate said it is not him. We made a bet. We IMDB, I was right. But I guess that pride is something of an amateur thing?

  • Hiro_the_Eighth_Samurai

    He also had a small role in Young Guns II.

  • yocean

    I mean, that this was a common knowledge?

  • puppetdoug

    One TV suggestion: Ben Foster as the special kid, Eli, in Freaks & Geeks. Rewatched it some time last year and saw Ben Foster in the credits, looked for him and couldn't find him. IMDb'ed it, and still didn't believe it was him. Great actor.

  • Maguita NYC

    Remember Liam Neeson when he was in the magnificent movie The Mission? He was one of the priests alongside Jeremy Irons, Robert DeNiro, and Aidan Quinn. The cast was sinfully gorgeous and delivered DeNiro's and Irons' most memorable performances ever.
    Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for that movie still gives me chills to this day.


    Jump to the one-minute mark if you have no patience, and see how beautiful the sound gets:


  • Remember when Liam Neeson used to make respectable movies instead of the action crapfests he now churns out? I miss that Liam Neeson,

  • Daffodil

    No frickin way.
    I love that he has gone "fuck it" and taken the action film money. Batman Begins, Kingdom of heaven, Taken, The Grey, Clash of the Titans, forgettaboutit. He's an action hero with believable pathos. It means we don't have some useless pretty boy b-grade tv schlub trying to make the next step but an actual bona fide bad ass who can act. Battleship was a lamentable choice though.

  • Maguita NYC

    Agreed... HOWEVER, I'm not so ashamed to admit that I enjoyed Taken: Even if the story line was truly blah, with not many surprises, combined with a lot of dimwitted action, the difference was in the exceptionally well-paced rythm and blunt honesty of the delivery!

    It was surprising on how straightforward and unambiguous the whole package was presented. From the moment Liam tells his daughter that she will get abducted, there was no escaping the honesty with which that movie owned up to its cheesy over-used "action movie" genre. It was a clean, no bullshit candid ride. Which I appreciated much more than any of those over-reaching Mission Impossible type movies.

  • I guess I just couldn't get past the absurdity of the ending. "Oh hey, I was just kidnapped and sold into the sex trade, but, uh, thanks for saving me, Dad. I'm just going to go text my friends. No therapy needed. Europe sucks."

  • Nat

    Also in The Fugitive: Julianne Moore as the ER doctor.

  • Aaron Anthony

    Adrien Brody was also in Angels in the Outfield (plus little JGL!!). Orlando Bloom was in Black Hawk Down right before he hit it big with LOTR and Pirates.

  • kirbyjay

    Everybody on earth was in Black Hawk Down, crikey, they even put the Piven in it. It was like The Longest Day in the 60's and A Bridge Too Far in the 70's. Throw every actor in Hollywood in a war flick and the women will come running.
    And how about Anthony Keidis in Point Break?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Really? Really? Did the women "go running" for Blackhawk Down?

    (ok, I did. I watched it for the actors. But not in theaters.)

  • barry

    nicolas cage and anthony edwards were both in fast times. lorenzo lamas was in grease.

  • Snath

    Awww poor Nathan Fillion. He has to look at himself in Saving Private Ryan and Firefly and compare it to puffy Fillion in Castle. He's still a damn fine man...just puffier.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I just watched Serenity this past weekend and thought the same thing. I love Fillion now...but Fillion then...sigh. Those thighs, that chin.

    Still, I'd be pretty happy with a man who's aged as he has. (hair intact = +1)

  • Maguita NYC

    Don't forget his awesome hunkiness as a devil-worshiping, misogynist man of the cloth in the Buffy series.
    Belzebuth he was beautiful and grand in his evilness!

  • EB III

    If you want to go Jack Black route, my choice is The Neverending Story III. Think he was the head baddie in that. Caught the first few minutes of this a few years ago on Disney, absolutely atrocious.

  • The Nasties have the Neverending Story!

  • prince_of_montagu

    ....please tell me i'm not the only one who thought "What movie was Tim Tebow in?" when they saw the header picture.

  • damnitjanet

    If you didn't know Justin Long was in Galaxy Quest... BY GRABTHAR'S HAMMER, HE WILL BE AVENGED!

  • Candee

    Jason Segel in SLC Punk is the greatest thing ever.

  • Skyler Durden is not logged in


    My favorite bad movie of all time!

    And the score is fuckdikulously awesometastic.

  • Salieri2

    Firemares! Firemares could do it in a day!

  • A. Smith

    I'm surprised there's no love for Brian Cranston in Saving Private Ryan.

  • Celery Man

    Also, just because I saw this on TV and was taken aback by it: Jeremy Renner, making his big screen debut as a Spicoli knockoff character in National Lampoons Senior Trip.

  • Celery Man

    I've got the best Jane Lynch one of them all: Collateral Damage. To sum it up: Ahnold's son dies. Terrorists. Explosions. And Lynch gets iced.

  • Jerce

    EEEE! Most of these I did not know!

    ..Why is this so much fun? Who cares--more! More!

  • Serpentlord

    I've always remembered Justin Long in Galaxy Quest, forgetting anything about a movie where Tim Allen was funny is like forgetting that man played golf on the moon.

  • dizzylucy

    I knew a few of these, mostly due to my mild obsession with imdb.
    Wow, Jane Krakowski, you have aged well. And NF looks hot!

    It's weird to see PSH younger like that - I think I first remember him from Talented Mr. Ripley, and never pictured him looking any different!

  • Jeff Goldblum and Sigourney Weave both in Annie Hall. I also have a vague memory of Sylvester Stallone playing a thug on a subway train in that film but can't find it on IMDB so maybe I'm wrong.

  • Green Lantern

    You're right. He was.

  • Kenny G.

    Stallone played a thug in Woddy Allen's BANANAS...

  • That's right, it was Bananas. And, according to IMDB, Danny DeVito also played a subway thug in the movie!

  • Anna von Beav

    Ha HA! I *did* actually know about Jack Black in Waterworld.

    But mainly because I watch it like 3 times a year.

    ETA: And the same goes for Justin Long in Galaxy Quest. What I did *not* know he was in until very recently was Jeepers Creepers.

  • JenVegas

    It's funny because I had the same exact thought when I saw that Jeepers Creepers was on the other day.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Michael Shannon was in Groundhog Day? Well, that explains why the time-loop started in the first place. I knew Shannon's presence could cause time skips, but time-loops doesn't surprise me.

  • BierceAmbrose

    I had no idea Aslan was in Kruller.

  • BWeaves

    Nathan Fillion WAS Private Ryan. The first one. I actually didn't watch this movie when it was on, because I didn't think I could take it. Since you can't get away from the TV in my house, I could hear the audio and his voice was unmistakeable.

  • emmelemm

    All right all right all right...

  • Jas.

    Rainn Wilson & Eric Stonestreet in 'Almost Famous.'

  • Arran

    And Jay Baruchel. Plus NCIS's Pauley Perette. And Marc Maron. Plus Nick Swardson. And, in the extended version, Kyle Gass.

    I swear, EVERY time you watch that movie you notice another someone who's pretty famous now.

  • Princess Di

    Yes! I'll never forget Nick Swardson screaming "Bowieeee!" Almost Famous the extended version is one of my all time favorite movies. Although I don't remember Pauley Perette or Marc Maron in the movie. What characters did they play?

  • Arran

    Pauley Perette is the DJ when we first meet Lester Bangs. She's pretty unrecognisable if you've only seen her in NCIS because she's not goth-ed out. Maron is the guy at the concert venue that fights with Noah Taylor after Russell gets electrocuted. You know, the "LOCK THE GATES!" dude. If you've ever listened to WTF, a sample of that quote is played during the theme song.

  • yeags

    As compared to when they were... Almost Famous.

  • Hazel Dean

    All the upvotes!

  • Pants-are-a-must

    Jane Lynch in The West Wing as well.

  • jamie pants

    Duuuuuuude, Jane Lynch was Pacey's mom! I may have just re-realized this about an hour ago...Dawson's Creek rules.

  • puppetdoug

    You're shitting me. How did it take till 40 Year Old Virgin for us to notice this woman?

  • I'll say, I knew most of these, but wow... Jim Carrey in Peggy Sue and Jane in Vacation. Mind blown a little.

  • Nadine

    Some of these I knew. The rest *insert mindblownjpeg.*

  • puppetDoug

    Gah, nevermind, here

  • puppetDoug

    Hope this works.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Even before anyone knew who he was, McConaughey was finding roles where he got to take his shirt off.
    Not sure how "unknown" this one is, but how about Benicio in License to Kill?

  • Bert_McGurt

    And another one in the same vein - Flea in Back to the Future parts 2 and 3.

  • Tenacious EJ

    Flea was already famous, and it was well known at the time because they promoted the hell out of parts 2&3.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Well sure he was, but some folks might not have remembered him, or known his face. I think I saw the movies when I was 10 or so, and even though I knew who the Chili Peppers were I wouldn't have recognized their bassist.

  • JCR

    That's ridiculous. At the time BTTF 2 came out, I couldn't name a single Chili Peppers song but I sure as hell knew who Flea was.

  • no one

    Holy crap Nathan Fillion is even better looking as a scruffy soldier.
    Also, Justin Long in Galaxy Quest and Jane Lynch in The Fugitive are kind of famous roles for them.

  • branded_redux

    Matthew McConaughey (and Neal McDonough) in Angels in the Outfield

    And Adrien Brody!

  • Adrien Brody?! Damn, I'm gonna have to rewatch that...

  • Schultheiss

    And, of course, a 12-year-old Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That was my absolute favourite movie as a kid.

  • REL

    Two of my personal favorites:

    Phillip Seymour Hoffman as a stoner storm-chaser in "Twister"
    Jack Black as some dude who gets blown to bits in "The Jackal"

  • JoannaRobinson

    You mean Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Jack Black in "Twister"?

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