Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jason Statham are just but a few famous actors with no experience (prior) who managed to build and run successful careers.

Imagine getting spotted by an agent when walking down the street and signing a multi-million contract the next day, or getting into a bar fight, sustaining bruises which convinces a director that you are fit for a role. Crazy, right? In this article, we will look at some of the actors that landed roles without having any experience. You will be shocked to learn that some of the most revered actors were just as raw as you when starting out.

Jennifer Lawrence

You probably know Jennifer Lawrence from Hunger Games. This young super talented actress has achieved and scaled heights despite joining the industry with no prior experience. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Jennifer has managed to win an Oscars in her short career. Jennifer is a familiar face in Hollywood. So great is her talent that she keeps getting nominated for Oscars every year. She also doubles up as the leading character and face of one of the biggest movie brands Hollywood has ever seen.

Jennifer came to the limelight by chance, at a tender age of just twelve years. She was on vacation in The Big Apple when she got spotted by an agent in Union Square. She was then signed up and became a teen model, a career she held all through her teenage years. She hit the screens for the first time in 2006 when she was given a role in the Tv series Monk. 4 years later, she got her first Oscars thanks to her role in Winter’s Bone.

Some of the movies she has acted include Silver Linings Playbook, Passengers, X-Men series, American Hustle, House at the end of the Street, Red Sparrow, and The Poker House.

Johnny Depp

Who doesn’t love Johnny Depp? It’s strange that Johnny Depp has managed to build such a great career without any prior experience in acting. Depp’s career started when he played Glen in Nightmare of The Elm street. He landed the role by sheer luck when director Wes Craven spotted him after escorting his friend Jackie Earle Haley to the auditions. Haley auditioned but did not get the spot that was later given to Johnny.

Depp has managed to become one of the greatest actors in the history of Hollywood. He has bagged several awards and nominations. Some of the most iconic achievements include ten Golden Globe Awards and three Academy Awards for Best actor nominations. Depp became a teen idol when he featured in 21 jump Street, a TV series that ran from 1987-1990. He is best known as Jack Sparrow, due to his role in Pirates of the Caribbean. Depp is so successful that he is ranked the third highest-grossing actor worldwide.

He has a listing in the 2012 Guinness World Records as the world’s highest-paid actor, earning ore than seventy million dollars. Depp also doubles up as a musician.

Channing Tatum

You know Channing Tatum from the Tv series CSI: Miami. This Alabama native accidentally joined the acting world, which has amassed him more fame and success that he couldn’t have experienced as a footballer. Yes. You heard that right. Channing was awarded a football scholarship to West Virginia. He then moved to Miami, where he was spotted by a talent agent when going about his affairs on the streets. Imagine if you were that lucky.

Tatum started as a model, working for Gap and Nautica. He then developed an interest in acting. However, he didn’t get an acting role in his first gig. Instead, Channing was a dancer in ‘She Bangs,’ a successful music video. His first active acting role was in CSI: Miami, where he only featured in an episode. Quite a rough start!

However, in 2005, Channing starred in Coach Carter, a time when he had over forty acting credits. He managed to bag several awards and nominations as a teen actor. Some of the films he has featured are Public Enemies, Step Up, Don Jon, the End, Magic Mike, White House Down, and The Vow, among many others.

Matthew McConaughey

You know Matthew McConaughey from the film The Lincoln Lawyer. This super talented actor was born in Texas. He veered from his dad’s lucrative oil business before discovering that he had an interest in acting. Matthew then made appearances in a few student film commercials before he met a producer in a hotel bar in Austin. The producer then introduced Matthew to Richard Linklater, who, by chance, happened to be working on Dazed and Confused.

He had to undergo little modifications to be included in the show since Linklater believed that Matthew was too hot for the role. McConaughey got a simple mustache and long hair, which changed Linklater’s mind. Some of the films that Matthew has acted in include A Time to Kill, How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, we are Marshall, Mud, The Wedding Planner, Failure to Launch, Magic Mike, Sahara and many more. Were it not for his role as David Wooderson in Dazed and Confused, Matthew wouldn’t have been as successful.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron started her career at a young age of only eighteen. She moved to Hollywood with no experience. She was spotted by accident when she had an exchange with a bank teller who refused to cash her last Paycheck. Before moving to Hollywood, this fantastic South African modeled in New York City. Her modeling wasn’t paying, forcing her to live in a lowly hotel room. She has managed to bag an Oscar, which she proudly talks off.

An agent spotted Charlize during her exchange with the teller, and the rest is history. She hit the screens in Children of the Corn III, which was her first role. Within the same year, she managed to bag a role in Tom Hank’s That Thing You Do!Charlize has also received several international recognition and awards all through her career.

Evangeline Lilly

Imagine walking down the streets and getting spotted by an agent. This is the story of one of the most famous Hollywood actresses, Evangeline Lilly. Lilly was spotted around British Columbia by a Ford modeling agent. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Lilly was short of school fees at the time and was open for a gig that could give her some money. She ended up taking the offer and later landed a job in Live Links, a sex hotline for singles all over Canada.

Lilly was spotted from the commercials and landed active roles in TV series such as Judgement Day and Tru Calling. However, her breakout happened in 2004, when she landed a role in Lost, acting as Kate. With over ten film credits, Lilly has managed to bag a number of nominations. She still models for top brands. Some of the films she has acted in are The Hurt Locker, White Chicks, Real Steel, The Hobbit, Afterwards, and The Long Weekend. She also works with top brands such as Earl and Royal Airlines.

Lilly’s story is a classic example of how luck plays an essential role in our lives. A young college girl walking aorund campus and getting spotted by a modelling agent is more of a movie script.

Jason Statham

We all relate to Jason Statham’s acting differently. However, the consensus among Action movie lovers is that Statham is really good at what he does. Jason’s Statham story is quite a twist. The super amazing and talented actor was formerly a street driver who sold fake jewelry in London streets, which may explain why he is so good with cars.

Jason’s other life, however, begun in the gym. He was spotted by a talent agent when working out. He then auditioned for Guy Ritchie. Statham was lucky since the agent was working on his film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. Coincidentally, Statham was asked to cast as a street vendor hawking fake jewelry by Richie. This is how his story begun. He took up a role that he completely resonated with. With this, Statham has managed to be a popular figure in Hollywood action movies.

Jason has featured in several films in his career, both for the lead role and side roles. You have definitely seen him in The Transporter, The Expendables, Fast and Furious 6, Crank, The Bank Job, Death Race, Revolver, and a horde of other films.

Natalie Portman

Natalie started her career early. She was spotted by a Revlon representative while eating pizza in Long Island. She was just eleven years old at the time. She picked up modeling, scaled heights, but later decided to become an actress. Natalie came to the limelight owing to her role in The Professional, where she cast as a young girl who learned how to be an assassin.

She had over thirty acting credits and has managed to bag an Academy Award, due to her performance in the film Black Swan. The Jerusalem Born actress has several awards to her name, including the Golden Globe Award for the Best Supporting Film actress and Gotham Independent Film Tribute Award. She has written a number of works and acted in Thor, Star Wars, Menace, Heat, Mars Attacks, V for Vendetta, among many other films.

David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz shares the same story with almost all the actors on our list. He was spotted by a talent agent working with Buffy The Vampire Slayer when taking his dog for a walk in the Busy Los Angeles. Luckily enough, he managed to land a role as Angel, where he appeared opposite Sarah Michelle for three seasons. David would leave the show in 1999 and start his own TV show dubbed Angel, which went on for five seasons.

The New York Born actor who grew up in Philadelphia has featured in several shows, including Bones, where he acts as an FBI agent. Others include Macabre Pair of Shorts in 1996, Valentine in 2001; I’m with Lucy, 2002, These Girls 2005, The Crow, 2005, Mr. Fix it in 2006, among many other shows.

Boreanaz is also a television producer and director. His role as a vampire cum private investigator in Buffy and Angel brought him into the limelight, a position he played without any previous experience.

Marilyn Monroe

Monroe is a big name in the acting scene. During her life, Marilyn was one of the best film actresses. The gorgeous former TV Star (may her soul rest in peace) spent a larger part of her childhood in orphanages and foster homes. She is considered the most prominent blonde sex symbol America has ever seen. Back to our discussion, Marilyn was spotted by a photographer while working at a plant. The photographer took pictures of her and posted them in the brand’s magazine, and Marilyn blew up.

She went into modeling after dyeing her hair blonde. However, here is a plot twist. Unlike most of the actors in the list, Monroe took acting classes and hoped to be one of the biggest actresses of her time, such as the likes of Lana Turner. Her debut film was Dangerous Years, acted in 1947. The following years saw Monroe appearing in several shows such as Some Like It Hot and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Her career was, however, cut short by her untimely death in 1962.

Monroe managed to bag several awards in her short career, including the Golden Globe Award for best actress. Some of the films she featured are Bus Stop, Don’t Bother to Knock, Love Happy. Let’s make love, Love Nest, Monkey business, among several others.

Rosario Dawson

Rosario had it easy. Unlike other actresses and actors in this category, she wasn’t spotted outside. Dawson was minding her business on the porch at a tender age of fifteen when a screenwriter cum photographer spotted her. Rosario was then informed about an upcoming movie and whether she would like to be a part of it. She took up the challenge and auditioned for a role, which she got, acting as Ruby in the 1995 film, Kids.

This first film gave her the platform and brought her to the limelight. She didn’t have to wait for long before she landed a role in, He Got Game. Rosario has managed to bag several awards, including the Satellite Award for the Best Supporting Actress and NAACP Image Award. She has also acted in Death Proof, Unstoppable, Descent, Lightning Thief, Grindhouse, 25th hour, and The Rundown.

This super talented actress doubles up as a singer, writer, and voice coach. She has, over the years been nominated for MTV Movie Awards and Spike Video Game Awards.

Wilford Brimley

Wilford is definitely one of the oldest and most successful actors ever to grace Hollywood. Brimley started as a cowboy, working as a ranch hand and blacksmith. His life pushed him into acting, given that he had no problem riding a horse and totally resembled a cowboy. He featured in True Grit, which doubles up as his debut film. This American treasure, who initially had no plans whatsoever of gracing viewer’s screens, decided to give his all when his friend, Robert Duvall, was at his peak.

The world came to know and acknowledge Brimley when he acted Horace in the film The Waltons. Wilford served in the marine during his young days. When starting out, he also worked in films such as The Natural, which hit screens in 1984 and The China Syndrome of 1979. Brimley boats of over seventy acting credits in his career. Some of the films he has acted in include; Cocoon, In &Out, Brubaker, The Hotel New Hampshire, Hard Target, The Firm, The Thing, The Natural, and Murder in Space. He is also a trained bodyguard.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle’s story started way back. She was just a normal four-year-old girl enjoying her meal at a restaurant in New York City when an agent spotted her. She didn’t have to wait for long, and this amazing actress landed her first gig within a week. Gellar acted in An Invasion of Privacy, and later had roles in several TV shows. She then ended up in the famous soap, All My Children. Gellar’s breakout stemmed from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, where David Boreanaz also featured.

Sarah is also an Emmy Awards winner, having bagged the 1995 Emmy Award for being the most outstanding younger actress for a role she played in a drama series. She also won five teen Choice Awards from her role in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Other accolades included a Golden Globe Award Nomination.

Gellar has also featured in a number of successful films all through her career. These include Scream, 2, I know what you did last summer, Monsters Unleashed, The Grudge, Scooby-Doo, and Cruel Intentions. In partnership with two of her friends, Gellar started a food crafting brand known as Foodstirs alongside an ecommerce startup that deals in baking kits.

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson is an American born actor with a fantastic story. His acting career stemmed out of luck after he had driven one of his friends to audition for Mad Max. Fortunately or unfortunately, he had been involved in a night fight at a bar the previous day, and therefore, Director George Miller found him fit for a role due to his bruises. Such a story, right? After a week, Gibson had cleared off his injuries and joined the team.

Anyway, before coming to Hollywood, Mel had a little bit of acting experience in Sydney, having been raised in Australia. Therefore, Gibson became one of the biggest movie stars in the 80s just out of sheer luck. So good was his face after the first encounter with Director George that he made him the hero in the movie.

Gibson has managed to win several awards. He received an Academy Award for best picture, Golden Globe Award for the best director, People’s Choice Actor for being the favorite movie actor, Australian Film Institute Global Achievement Award, among many others. He is also a producer. Some of his works are Braveheart, The Singing Detective, Apocalypto, Eliza Graves, Get the Gringo, Eliza Graves, and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Pamela Anderson

Lastly, let’s look at the Gorgeous Pamela Anderson. This amazing actress was a fitness instructor in Canada, living a simple life before being spotted in the 80s. Her story is also hilarious. She decided to attend a Canadian football game with a Labatt’s t-shirt on. Out of sheer luck, her picture was cast in the stadium’s giant screen, followed by an uproar by the crowd. She even received a standing ovation. Pamela’s life then changed for the better.

Shortly she was given a contract by a beer company. Playboy then approached her in 1989, giving her a job. Pamela joined Hollywood a little later. She started by making small appearances in Tv shows before getting a major job, acting as Lisa in Home Improvement. A number of people also knew her from Baywatch, where she played Parker and received international recognition.

From a fitness instructor to a renowned actress, Pamela Anderson’s story is a fantastic piece. This amazing actress has also acted in Raw Justice, Barb Wire, Scary Movie 3, and Blonde and Blonder. Anderson is also known for being vocal in matters touching on Animal rights. She has also managed to feature in the cover of other different magazines such as Vogue, Elle, and Rolling Stone.

Actors Takeaway:
Famous actors with no experience

I hope that you finally have an answer in case you were wondering whether you can land an acting role without standing acting classes. However, as we have seen from the list, you must possess something unique that helps you beat the competition or make you outstanding. Beauty, unique hair, outstanding body tone, or voice may be some of the selling points. Also, luck does play a significant role in our lives. Being spotted by a talent agent while walking down the street is everything out of the ordinary.