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.
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?
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.
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.