10 Best Actors in Music Videos Before They Became Famous


10 Best Actors in Music Videos Before They Became Famous

Plenty of actors got their start in unexpected projects. Take Ben Affleck, for example, who made surprise appearances in after-school TV specials. And let’s not forget the countless names that skyrocketed to stardom on soap operas. But there’s another secret path that future stars sometimes took in their early days: music videos. While the medium’s popularity has somewhat faded over the last decade, the MTV generation couldn’t get enough of the groovy scenes.

Thanks to the magical internet, fans can now easily access almost every music video ever made. This means they can embark on a thrilling journey through time and witness their favorite stars’ humble beginnings, back when they were just regular folks. It’s like watching a captivating movie, but with an added bonus of nostalgia.

From action-packed heroes to hilarious comedians to captivating actresses, so many different actors and celebrities kickstarted their careers by being part of a music video. Some of them showcased their acting skills in the videos, while others grooved in the background like dance wizards. No matter their chosen path, these A-listers may all have pursued diverse careers, but they all took their very first steps in the same magical place.

1. Jason Statham In The Shamen’s ‘Comin’ On’ Video

Jason Statham In The Shamen's 'Comin' On' Video
The Shamen’s music video for their song “Comin’ On” is a hilariously trippy experience that showcases a different side of a young Jason Statham. Known for his tough and gritty roles, this video reveals a more playful and unexpected side of the future Snatch star. In the video, Statham can be seen wearing nothing but a tight pair of leopard-print underwear, covered in oil, as he dances in the background of the electronic dance music video.

The video is heavily green-screened and appears to be set in the middle of a desert. Statham portrays a modern caveman who simply can’t resist grooving to the beats. But it doesn’t stop there. We also witness seven duplicates of Statham’s shiny and chiseled body dancing on top of a planet soaring through space. At one point, there’s even a pyramid of Jason’s forms dancing around one of the band’s singers. It’s a wild trip through ’90s dance music and sketchy video effects that would be worth watching even without the presence of the future famous tough guy.

2. Channing Tatum In Ricky Martin’s ‘She Bangs’ Video

Channing Tatum In Ricky Martin's 'She Bangs' Video
Channing Tatum, famously known for his beginnings as a stripper in Florida, actually had some early career credits that you may have missed. In addition to starring in commercials for Pepsi and Mountain Dew, one of Tatum’s first onscreen appearances was in Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” music video.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Tatum wasn’t the star of the show in the video. He played the role of a shirtless bartender with a face tattoo, simply enjoying the party. It’s worth noting that Tatum truly climbed his way up from obscurity and built his name from scratch. This small role was just one of the many steps he took on his journey to becoming the next big thing.

3. Angelina Jolie In Meat Loaf’s ‘Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through’ Video

Angelina Jolie In Meat Loaf's 'Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through' Video
It’s not uncommon for the daughter of a famous actor to find success in Hollywood, but everyone has to start somewhere. Angelina Jolie’s early career was built on music videos. She appeared in videos for artists like Lenny Kravitz, The Lemonheads, and Antonello Venditti. However, her most notable role came in Meat Loaf’s “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”

Directed by the explosive-loving director Michael Bay, the video tells the story of a rebellious teenager played by Jolie. After a fight with her family, she roams the streets, finding guidance from a genie in a booth portrayed by Meat Loaf. The pairing of a youthful Jolie and the iconic Meat Loaf is definitely unexpected. Despite having a famous and successful actor as her father, Jolie didn’t jump straight into leading roles. Her first significant role required Meat Loaf to wear heavy prosthetics and makeup while singing to her.

4. Patrick Swayze In Toto’s ‘Rosanna’ Video

Patrick Swayze In Toto's 'Rosanna' Video
Patrick Swayze, though not easily noticeable, made a brief appearance in Toto’s “Rosanna” video before gaining fame in the 1980s. In the video, he can be seen as a background dancer wearing a red jacket, which he later tears off. However, his face is mostly obscured or hidden in the shadows of the dark set, making it difficult to spot him. Nonetheless, there is a short closeup shot where Swayze’s future star power is evident.

At the time of the “Rosanna” video, Swayze was only a few years away from becoming one of the prominent young stars of the 1980s. Just a year later, he secured a role in Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation of The Outsiders, where he acted alongside Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Matt Dillon. However, it was in 1987 when his career skyrocketed with the release of the immensely successful Dirty Dancing, which made Swayze a household name.

Interestingly, the female lead in the “Rosanna” video was Cynthia Rhodes, who later appeared in a small role in Dirty Dancing, which became her most notable big-screen performance.

5. Zooey Deschanel In The Offspring’s ‘She’s Got Issues’ Video

Zooey Deschanel In The Offspring's 'She's Got Issues' Video
Zooey Deschanel, widely recognized for her role as Jess in New Girl, has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry with her unique and offbeat persona. However, before her breakthrough, she showcased a different side of her personality in The Offspring’s music video for the song “She’s Got Issues.”

The video is quite something. The song delves into the story of a singer who is dating a girl with “issues,” which essentially means she is recovering from years of abuse and neglect. The singer is frustrated because he knows that she will eventually take out her pain on him. The video perfectly captures this unusual concept, portraying Deschanel as an ordinary girl who constantly faces harassment from those around her. Ironically, she becomes the problem in her boyfriend’s eyes.

In this video, Deschanel steps away from her usual quirky hipster image and taps into a darker and more alternative side of her personality. It serves as a precursor to her breakthrough role in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, where she truly made her mark in the industry.

6. Eva Mendes In The Pet Shop Boys ‘Se A Vida E’ Video

Eva Mendes In The Pet Shop Boys 'Se A Vida E' Video
Eva Mendes is no stranger to lighting up screens, and her role in Pet Shop Boys’ music video “Se A Vida E” is a perfect example of her captivating presence. Playing an attractive older woman that catches the eye of the young boys at a tropical resort, Mendes exudes charm and playfulness in her brief appearance.

The video itself revolves around the exhilaration of youth and young love, and Mendes is viewed by the boys as an incredible beauty that adds meaning to their lives. Drifting on her inflatable raft in the pool, she has a delightful encounter with a chubby boy also floating nearby, flashing him a quick smile. This marked Mendes’ first credited appearance, but she had already landed a spot in Will Smith’s “Miami” music video prior to her breakthrough role in the 2001 film Training Day.

7. Matt LeBlanc In Bon Jovi’s ‘Miracle’ Video

Matt LeBlanc In Bon Jovi's 'Miracle' Video
The music video for Bon Jovi’s “Miracle” is exactly what you’d expect from a rock act. The band is all dressed up in leather, cruising on motorcycles through the desert with women clinging tightly behind them. But guess who’s right there with them? Joey from Friends, aka Matt LeBlanc himself, riding alongside John Bon Jovi through the Mexican desert.

LeBlanc, the youngest member of the crew, sports a white t-shirt and slicked-back hair, giving off a greaser vibe. He catches the eye of a beautiful local girl in a small town and, by the end of the video, you can bet that same vixen is riding on the back of LeBlanc’s motorcycle. While JBJ takes center stage, strutting around the town with his long hair flowing, the most memorable moment in the video is when a young LeBlanc playfully dips his head in the neighborhood fountain to cool off.

It’s undeniable that the future Joey Tribbiani possesses a charm that shines through even with just a smile, and he certainly showcases that charm in this video.

8. Aaron Paul In Korn’s ‘Thoughtless’ Video

Aaron Paul In Korn's 'Thoughtless' Video
Before becoming famous as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, one of the most popular TV shows of the 2010s, Aaron Paul was just a struggling actor. He had only appeared in a few episodes of various shows. However, he got a significant opportunity during his early career when he starred in the music video for nu metal band Korn’s song “Thoughtless.”

Looking back, it’s clear that Paul was a perfect fit for the band’s vibe and the music video itself. He played the role of a bullied and misunderstood teenager who constantly faces harassment from his jock peers. As the protagonist’s internalized hatred builds up, it manifests in the form of faces trying to escape his body. At first, it appears as if his skin is bubbling, but later, it becomes apparent that these are screaming faces struggling to break free. Paul’s portrayal of the brooding and angsty target is excellent, and he effectively channels the pain that the character goes through.

9. RuPaul In The B-52s’ ‘Love Shack’ Video

RuPaul In The B-52s' 'Love Shack' Video
RuPaul, the renowned drag queen and the winner of an Emmy for his hit reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race, is now a household name in the entertainment industry. However, his journey to stardom had humble beginnings. Back in the late 1980s, RuPaul was just starting to dip his toes into the world of showbiz. It was during this time that he landed his first major opportunity in The B-52s’ music video for their popular track “Love Shack.” In this video, RuPaul’s star power was evident right from the start.

Sporting a striking afro wig, RuPaul captivated viewers as he confidently strutted in a dance circle at a small club featured in the video. Not only did he steal the spotlight, but he also played a key role in energizing the dancers by sharing some moves of his own. In an interview with Billboard, RuPaul revealed that the band had initially planned for everyone to do a Soul Train line, but the routine wasn’t quite working out. Sensing the need for improvement, RuPaul took charge and demonstrated how it should be done, ensuring that everyone fell into sync and looked great on camera. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of RuPaul’s remarkable journey towards becoming a legendary figure in the entertainment industry.

10. Christina Hendricks In Everclear’s ‘One Hit Wonder’ Video

Christina Hendricks In Everclear's 'One Hit Wonder' Video
Christina Hendricks, known for her roles in shows like Mad Men and films like Drive, had very little industry experience when she starred in Everclear’s “One Hit Wonder” video. In this video, she effortlessly portrays a contestant on a wacky gameshow.

Sporting a name tag that reads “Loopy,” Hendricks emerges as the show’s ultimate winner, earning the chance to spin for a prize on a TV set that resembles a cross between The Price Is Right and a pawn shop. With her victory secured, she joyfully drives off the set in a brand new truck, accompanied by the band playing in the truck bed.

Although this video was released in 1998, well before Hendricks became a household name, it undoubtedly played a significant role in launching her career.

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