A-list actors in B-roles

This occurred to me while reading another thread in which Tom Cruise was mentioned. I don’t think that Cruise has ever been 2nd billed, even early in his career. But some actors, after having become major A-list stars, have played relative bit parts in movies that starred relative unknowns.

Happy, Texas starred Steve Zahn and Jeremy Northam, and while William H. Macy had a pretty big role, he was not the star of that movie.

Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty were the stars of The Hurt Locker. Guy Pierce and Ralph Fiennes had small roles.

Will Wheaton and River Phoenix starred in Stand By Me. John Cusack was on screen for what, about 15 seconds?

Who are Jason Scott Lee, Robert Joamie, and Anne Parillaud? Stars of Map of the Human Heart. Cusack was also in that, for one tiny scene.

Who else?

Wasn’t he 2nd billed to Newman in COLOR OF MONEY before getting 2nd billed to Hoffman in RAIN MAN?

He had a secondary role in Tropic Thunder.

Alec Guinness stuck out a bit in Star Wars.

baldwin stole the show in departed

Cruise, after already being established as a top-of-the-bill STAR, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Magnolia, an ensemble piece- he was definitely not the lead.

More to the point of the O.P., how about pre-Stardom Samuel L. Jackson in Coming to America, or Laurence Fishburne in Pee-Wee’s Playhouse?

Donald Sutherland had a bit part in Animal House.

Michael Caine in Jaws: The Revenge?

Ah, good point. But those were still Tom Cruise movies. He didn’t exactly have bit parts in those.

That’s actually the opposite of the point of the OP. I’m talking about already established stars taking bit parts in movies that star unknowns.

I’m not sure what you’re asking. Big name stars who had small roles before they became big name stars? Or big name stars who took small roles once they became big names? And do you want to know actors whose stars had faded and went into character work?

“Bit” part?

If the bit part was “a bit” of his ass.

Robert DeNiro in Brazil.

Seconded. Nearly every actor has a ton of all of these scenarios in their filmography. Look at this summer’s The Expendables. It stars Stallone and Jason Statham, but the big deal is that Bruce Willis and Arnold “The Governator” Scwarchenegger have bit parts in it.

The second one.

Like Guy Pearce, who had starring roles in several movies. An established Big Name. His role in The Hurt Locker was limited to one scene. Jeremy Renner, a complete unknown, was the undisputed star of that movie.

Yeah, but then we got a peek at Karen Allen’s ass, and life was good again.

Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette in Jackie Brown and Out of Sight probably has to count, since he’d had multiple headlining roles by then.

Does Robin Williams in Dead Again count?

Samuel Jackson played the organist at The Bride’s wedding in Kill Bill.

God Bless Oakminister!!!

(I always thought Karen Allen was stunning, but I supposed that I must be the only one who felt that way)