Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

DVD Watch: First Roles of Now Famous Stars

Thompson on Hollywood By Aljean Harmetz | Thompson on Hollywood July 25, 2012 at 3:24PM

Psst! If you want to peek into the past, Acorn Media is making it easy. Want to watch Keira Knightley at age 9? Try Acorn’s DVD of “A Village Affair,” a TV movie whose lesbian love story takes place in a small English village. How about Orlando Bloom at 13 in “Midsomer Murders"?
1
Colin Firth young

Psst! If you want to peek into the past, Acorn Media is making it easy.  Want to watch Keira Knightley at age 9?  Try Acorn’s DVD of “A Village Affair,” a TV movie whose lesbian love story takes place in a small English village.  How about Orlando Bloom at 23 in “Midsomer Murders,” a British series in which village sex is secondary to a rich crop of murders?

Keira Knightley, far right, in "A Village Affair"
Keira Knightley, far right, in "A Village Affair"
In one case, the youthful actor was also the star.  After Colin Firth won an Academy Award as best actor for his performance as King George VI in “The King’s Speech” (2010), Acorn bought “Lost Empires,” a 1986 mini-series about British music halls in which Firth had top billing as a young boy who joins his uncle’s magic act.  “We picked up ‘Lost Empires’ in 2011 because of Colin Firth,” says Acorn publicity director Chad Campbell. "He was “the deciding factor.”

   
“Acorn doesn’t actively look for early roles of talent,” says Campbell.  “But guest stars are definitely an added perk that we consider when deciding whether to pick up a series.  We have released early series/roles for lots of actors that have hit it big.”

They include Jeremy Irons in his first role, as “Nephew George”  in “The Case of the Mirror of Portugal,” Season 1, Episode 6 of “The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes,” a series based on short stories by authors who wrote mysteries at the same time as Arthur Conan Doyle.

Daniel Craig young 2
Ralph Fiennes young Prime Suspect
Damian Lewis Poirot

And Damian Lewis.  The newly minted Emmy nominee for best actor in a drama series--as a U.S. Marine sergeant in “Homeland” who is either a war hero or a mole for the terrorists who took him prisoner -- can be seen as a student in a hostel where theft turns to murder in “Hickory Dickory Dock,” Season 6, Episode 2 of “Agatha Christie’s Poirot.”

Then there is Dominic Monaghan.  Who would have thought that this wet-behind-the-ears 20-year-old as a wanna-be private detective in “Hetty Wainthropp Investigates” would sacrifice himself for his fellow castaways as one of the main characters in seasons 1, 2, and 3 of “Lost”?

Ralph Fiennes had 48th billing in the original “Prime Suspect” in 1991, two years before his performance as a sadistic Nazi officer in “Schindler’s List” brought him an Oscar nomination for supporting actor and made him a star.  Although ”Michael” in “Prime Suspect” was his first movie or television role, Fiennes was already a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.  And Jeremy Irons had spent several years with the Bristol Old Vic before he moved to London and got his first television job.

Neither 24-year-old Daniel Craig nor 17-year-old Kate Winslet had such buffed resumes when they were cast in a television mini-series of Angus Wilson’s satirical novel, “Anglo Saxon Attitudes,” although Craig had toured with Britain’s National Youth Theatre.  Kate Winslet’s cameo in the third episode was her first role.  Craig’s more substantial part was his second.

More often, the young actor was someone who was barely noticed by the television or movie audience.  For 23–year-old James McAvoy, a small part in one episode of “Foyle’s War” in 2002 was just another small part.  For superhero buffs, it might be worthwhile to take a look at the young man who turned into Professor Charles Xavier of “X-Men First Class,” a paraplegic who used his mutant power of telepathy to control people’s minds.

This article is related to: Acorn Media, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Damian Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Craig


E-Mail Updates