Today: February 20, 2024

Soap Stars To Movie Stars

– By – Erykah Brackenbury – Starring in a soap can be a springboard for a budding actor’s career, or lead to a lifetime of typecasting. As Guy Pearce’s new movie, Lockout, gets it’s UK release, Erykah Brackenbury takes a look at some of those who made it … and some of who didn’t …

– By – Erykah Brackenbury –

in a soap can be a springboard for a budding actor’s career, or lead to a
lifetime of typecasting. As Guy Pearce’s new movie, Lockout, gets it’s UK
release, Erykah Brackenbury takes a look at some of those who made it … and
some of who didn’t …


A role in Neighbours
or Home and Away is almost
compulsory for any young Australian actor and Guy starred in both. After nearly
500 episodes of Neighbours, Pearce progressed to the big screen with a
memorable turn as drag queen Felicia in Priscilla,
Queen of the Desert
. One of the most successful Australian films, it led to
recognition from the Hollywood elite and was soon followed by a breakthrough
role in Curtis Hanson‘s L.A. Confidential. Despite roles in Memento and the forthcoming Prometheus, Pearce cannot escape his
Erinsborough heritage, telling The Press Association: “It feels like I haven’t
even left Neighbours when I come back to England.”


Law’s first major role was in the
mostly-forgotten early 90s drama Families.
Hopping on the antipodean bandwagon while Australian soaps were at their peak,
the show was set in Cheshire and Sydney. Law’s first film appearance was in
biopic Wilde, playing Bosie Douglas,
young lover of Stephen Fry‘s Oscar
Wilde. He made his name with an award-winning role The Talented Mr. Ripley, and is now an established film star, most
recently starring in Guy Richie‘s Sherlock Holmes films and Hugo.


Years before donning the mantle of Mr Fantastic,
Gruffudd was known to Welsh audiences as a child actor in long running Welsh
drama Pobl y Cwm (People of the
Valleys). After his five-year stint, he took small roles in Titanic and Black Hawk Down before becoming the leading man for The Fantastic Four and its sequel.


While his film choices are often questionable at
best, Cumming is a recognisable star in Hollywood. After the obligatory début
on Taggart, he graduated to Scottish
melodrama Take the High Road,
playing an evil woodcutter. Despite his involvement in such greats as Spiceworld, Garfield: The Movie and Son
of the Mask
, he continues to work regularly in US television and film. His
most notable appearance was, arguably, Nightcrawler in X-Men 2.


After three years on the sunny beaches of Home
and Away, Chris Hemsworth smashed onto film screens as the eponymous Thor and has barely stopped since. In
addition to The Cabin in the Woods
(out now), he resumes his role as Thor in this summer’s The Avengers and is Kristen
‘s leading man in Snow White
and the Huntsman

Michelle Gellar

Perhaps better known as TV’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Gellar was
also a teen movie queen back in the late 90s, with roles in I Know What You Did Last Summer, Cruel Intentions and Scream 2. At the age of sixteen she
originated the role of Kendall Hart, foil to soap uber-bitch Erica Kane.
Embroiled in typically-ridiculous storylines, the character was popular enough
to be resurrected as a different actress, while Gellar went on to star on both
the small and big screens.


Beloved by Ronald Regan, Santa Barbara was a US soap largely unknown to British audiences.
Better known is one of its teen stars, Leonardo DiCaprio, quickly established
himself as leading man material and stole the heart of a million teenage girls
after taking the title role in doomed romance, Romeo + Juliet, quickly followed by Titanic. Titanic premièred fifteen years ago and its success led to
a recent 3D re-release. The name DiCaprio is almost guaranteed to provoke a box
office hit. His back-catalogue includes Inception,
Catch Me If You Can, and The Aviator.


In addition to soap actress, West End diva, pop
star, author and yoghurt spokeswoman, McCutcheon had a brief brush with movie
stardom following her appearance as Natalie, tea girl and love interest for Hugh Grant in 2003’s Love Actually. From 1995-1998,
McCutcheon became known as Tiffany Mitchell (née Raymond); her death watched by
22 million viewers on New Year’s Eve. Sadly for McCutcheon, her longed-for
Hollywood career never materialised. One of a long line of much-loved soap
actors who fail to find work after leaving on a high, McCutcheon’s career
trajectory serves as a warning for actors who get complacent about their fame.

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