Whether you’re a writer, an accountant, a lawyer, or a CEO, the fact of the matter is that you had to start somewhere. You don’t just go from zero to millionaire overnight, and sometimes that means you have to take some not-so-fun jobs along the way. Plenty of top executives have flipped burgers and stocked shelves before making it big in business, and things weren’t much different for our favorite actors and actresses. As it turns out, some big-name celebrities have played some of the weirdest roles out there.
Can you imagine the iconic George Clooney in a movie called Grizzly II: The Concert? How about Laurence Fishburne showing up in an episode of Pee-wee’s Playhouse? Well, imagine it, people. Both of those things happened. Here are 17 of the weirdest roles ever played by the biggest names in Hollywood.
17. Mila Kunis on Baywatch
Listen. When it comes to being finer than the day is long, Mila Kunis kind of takes the cake. And if there’s one show that’s casted a parade of beautiful people of the years, it’s Baywatch. You probably wouldn’t be shocked to hear that Mila Kunis was on Baywatch, but when you start thinking about those numbers too hard, it doesn’t add up. She was a kid back then, so it all makes more sense when you find out that she wasn’t a red swimsuit-wearing beach babe.
She was on the show as a child actress, and they liked her so much, they had her play two different characters. In one episode, she was Bonnie, and in another, she was Annie. (And if they rebooted the show today, approximately zero people would be shocked if she ended up donning that red suit after all.)
16. Aaron Paul in Bad Girls From Valley High
When we think of Aaron Paul, our minds go straight to Breaking Bad. He really made a name for himself playing Jesse Pinkman, who was a purveyor of chili powder-laced meth and an overall rough-around-the-edges guy. That character is a far cry from his character in Bad Girls From Valley High, which is a comedy that went straight to video. That should give you some insight into its quality (or lack thereof). Paul played a small role as an awkward nerd named Jonathan Wharton. The main premise of the movie is that three mean girls who accidentally murder a classmate are cursed with premature aging. It’s high-quality stuff, clearly.
15. Ron Perlman in Quest For Fire
When it comes to resumes, Ron Perlman’s is an impressive one. He’s probably best known for his turn as Hellboy in the Hellboy films. His distinct tough-guy look and serious acting chops have landed him tons of roles of the years, but the role of Amoukar in Quest for Fire is the weirdest. Perlman’s clearly no stranger to the makeup chair, and this 1981 film about a Cro-Magnon tribe struggling to survive because they don’t know how to start a fire definitely had him looking interesting, to say the least.
14. Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Soul Man
Who loves Julia Louis-Dreyfus? Everyone, that’s who. From the relatable Elaine on Seinfeld to Vice President Selina Meyer on Veep, she really has been on some incredible shows. One not-so-incredible blemish on her resume is her role as Lisa Stimson in Soul Man, a painfully problematic movie that no one would even think about releasing today. Basically, the son of a rich white psychiatrist takes “tanning pills” to appear black when he goes to law school. The actor who had the distinct misfortune of playing him was essentially in blackface for the entire movie, which is horrendous.
13. Zooey Deschanel in Once Upon a Mattress
Much to our surprise, Once Upon a Mattress is not, in fact, the name of a bad adult movie. It’s actually a Disney musical based on the story of “The Princess and the Pea.” Noted. Doe-eyed beauty Zooey Deschanel, who’s best known for her role as Jess on New Girl, played Lady Larken alongside a surprisingly awesome cast, including Carol Burnett.
12. Kerry Washington in Littleman
There is nothing on TV more satisfying than the sight of Kerry Washington strutting her brilliant, fashionable stuff around D.C. on Scandal as Olivia Pope. (May the show rest in peace.) She’s bold, she’s beautiful, and she’s always on a mission. She played the character so well that it became hard to separate Washington from the role, which is what makes her part in Littleman even stranger. The story follows a dad who mistakes a tiny criminal on the run for his newly adopted child. Washington’s Vanessa is the woman unfortunate enough to be married to him.
11. Jennifer Lawrence on Monk
Jennifer Lawrence became a Hollywood icon basically overnight at the ripe old age of 22 when she starred in The Hunger Games. Before that, her first major role was Mystique in the X-Men franchise. Earlier in her career, she mostly had gigs as extras on TV and in movies. One of the strangest was her turn as a mascot in an episode of Monk. It’s safe to say that she’s come a long way since then.
10. Jack Nicholson on The Andy Griffith Show
Jack Nicholson is one of the most iconic names in Hollywood and he’s portrayed some of the most chilling on-screen figures, like Jack Torrance in The Shining. He’s a true master of his craft. What most people don’t know is that a young Jack Nicholson actually appeared on The Andy Griffith Show back in the day. He played the father of an abandoned baby.
9. Laurence Fishburne on Pee-wee’s Playhouse
Although Hollywood badass Laurence Fishburne had done some acting as a kid, his first major role was on Pee-wee’s Playhouse of all places. Fishburne played a cowboy alongside Pee-wee and his friends. He was 25 years old at the time, and honestly, this outfit he’s serving is a LOOK. He should really consider bringing it back.
8. Quentin Tarantino on The Golden Girls
Because absolutely nothing in life makes sense, Quentin Tarantino once had a guest spot on The Golden Girls as an Elvis Presley impersonator. We know Tarantino for his endlessly violent roles and films, so seeing him rocking a tacky suit on what is probably the cutest and most endearing show in TV history is a jarring experience. This came just a few years before selling his True Romance script and starring in Reservoir Dogs, which made him a star.
7. Alison Brie on Hannah Montana
We know Alison Brie best for her roles as Annie Edison in Community and Trudy Campbell in Mad Men, but like many stars, she got her start as a Disney kid! She played a girl named Nina on Hannah Montana back in the day. Nina was paid by Hannah’s brother to pretend to like him.
6. Kristen Stewart in The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas
Known for her brooding vibe and unique cadence, Kristen Stewart got her biggest break as Bella Swan in the Twilight movies. Along with acting, Stewart spends her time being generally chic as hell by working with Chanel on fashion and beauty campaigns. Before she was a household name, though, she played what is one of her weirdest roles to date as an extra in The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas. Her turn as “Ring Toss Girl” wasn’t exactly Oscar material, but hey, look at her now.
5. Bryan Cranston in Amazon Women on the Moon
Ah, Bryan Cranston. He’s the guy behind Walter White, the TV meth maker we all know and love, but before he made it big on Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad, he was an extra in some truly bizarre shows and movies. The weirdest? Definitely his role as Paramedic #1 in a film called Amazon Women on the Moon. That name is probably making you wonder WTF it could possibly be about, so here’s the lowdown. It’s a satirical film made in 1987 about the experience of watching bad late-night TV. It’s a film-within-a-film situation and the name comes from one of the programs that plays in the movie.
4. Jennifer Aniston in Leprehaun
Everyone knows about Jennifer Aniston’s role in bizarre horror-comedy film Leprechaun, but it’s so weird that we couldn’t leave it off this list. Best known for her roles in upbeat shows and movies like Friends and Horrible Bosses, Aniston is basically a Hollywood darling. That’s why it’s so weird to see her wielding a gun in a movie about a crazy leprechaun. The film was a critical disaster but it’s safe to say that she recovered from it.
3. Ryan Gosling in Frankenstein and Me
The Internet’s number-one boyfriend Ryan Gosling can really do it all. He can be a moody hero, a true romantic, or a psychopath you hate to admit is insanely good looking. Oh, and he’s in a band because perfection evidently does exist. Before he was all of that, though, he was a kid with a small role in Frankenstein and Me. The film follows a 12-year-old boy obsessed with monsters who eventually stumbles upon a dummy Frankenstein monster and fantasizes about bringing him to life.
2. Benicio del Toro in Big Top Pee-wee
We totally get that first roles are usually kind of weird, but Benicio del Toro deserved better than this. His first-ever movie role was Duke the Dog-Faced Boy in Big Top Pee-wee. But because the Academy Award winner is a great actor, he pulled out all the stops for this early role too. He got so into it that he actually imitated his childhood dog while he was preparing to play good old Duke. That’s the kind of humility we like to see.
1. George Clooney in Grizzly II: The Concert
One would think that George Clooney would somehow just be dropped into high-profile roles right when he started out because – look at him. He’s a legend. As it turns out, however, even heartthrob Hollywood icons have humble beginnings. Grizzly II: The Concert is essentially the giant mutated bear equivalent of Jaws. That mutated bear was probably Clooney’s least favorite costar. Fortunately for the actor, however, the film was never actually released because it was too weird and low-brow even by Hollywood’s standards, which says something. Its predecessor made $39 million so producers were excited to crank out a sequel. But it was eventually shelved after filming. Laura Dern and Charlie Sheen were also in the movie. It’s funny how drastically things can change.