5 Famous Actors Who Started As Extras!

Filmmaking is a collaborative process. Everyone on set is indispensable, no matter how small their role is. In a way, the extras (background actors who fill out crowd scenes) are the most essential part of a realistic movie. Just think how crazy it would be if Iron Man was saving a completely empty city, or Morgan Freeman was giving an inspirational speech to a crowd of no one! Being an extra can even be a stepping stone to larger roles. Here’s five actors who made it big after being in the background.

Sylvester Stallone


Before he was Rocky, Sly Stallone was just an actor trying to get by. You can see him in the background of the Woody Allen classic “Bananas” playing a street tough. Even when he was starting out, Stallone knew what worked for him!

Charlize Theron


Horror movies are a great training ground for future stars. Mad Max: Fury Road’s Charlize Theron made her debut being terrorized in Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest.

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Bruce Willis


Another action star that started in the background, Bruce Willis can be seen in the courtroom scene in the 1982 drama The Verdict. Was he researching the law for his star turn as John McClane in Die Hard?

Renee Zellweger


The Bridget Jones Diary and Chicago star wasn’t always the main attraction. You can see her in Dazed and Confused as a partygoer during a tailgate scene!

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Brad Pitt


Nope, that’s not a typo. Brad Pitt, one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, started as an extra just like you! He can be seen as a partygoer in 1987’s film Less Than Zero.


Being an extra is a great way to meet new people and earn some “extra” dough while pursuing larger parts. Big studio blockbusters and indie films alike are always looking for background talent, so stay glued to ClaimFame for all of your casting call needs. Don’t forget to check out our interview with Jon Latz, a professional extra, for the inside scoop on what it’s like to be on set!

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