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From Barry Keoghan to Colin Farrell: The A-list actors who came from humble beginnings

They’re A-Listers up for Golden Globes but Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan had humble TV beginnings

Colin Farrell starred in Ballykissangel© BBC ONE

Daragh KeanySunday World

They are some of the biggest names in the world of television and movies but it is heart warming to see that even the planet’s biggest A-listers came from humble beginnings.

When the Golden Globes announced their nominations, it struck us that the likes of Irish supremos Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan started on shows like Love/Hate and Ballykissangel.

Even fellow nominee Kerry Condon was on the parochial Sunday night drama set in a fictional Irish village. Then after a bit of snooping and digging, we discovered that it is not just an Irish thing.

Other superstars also worked their way up from some of the most obscure jobs. We may have to wait until next year to find out who wins… so for now check out where it all began for these superstar nominees.

Barry Keoghan

Colin and Barry

Long before he was winning critical acclaim for several movies back to back he was the nonchalant cat killer Wayne in Love/Hate.

Dubliner Keoghan even appeared in Fair City for three episodes back in 2011.

A far cry from his career changing role as Eternals’ Druig in the superhero blockbuster.

Colin Farrell

He’s long been Ireland’s biggest acting export, but we love to remind the Castleknock hunk that it all began on Ballykissangel.

Incredibly, it didn’t take long for his star to rise to Hollywood A-List and today he is one of the industry’s most bankable names.

James Cameron went on to make great movies

James Cameron

Long before he became the most successful director of all time, James Cameron was simply known as a visual effects wizard.

He made a name for himself on movies like Xenogenesis, which has long been forgotten. But the movie’s detractors even spotted that there was a diamond in the rough.

It was just six years after this horrific movie that he was commissioned to direct The Terminator. The rest is history.

CPS Dec 18 Keany copy Humble beginnings of Golden Globes nominees Brendan Gleeson in Dear Sarah

Brendan Gleeson

Paddington 2, the Harry Potter movies, three series of Mr Mercedes and even a stint as Donald Trump in The Comey Rule proves how far Brendan Gleeson has come from his humble beginnings in Irish court drama Dear Sarah.

Let’s just say the small role didn’t harm his teaching career. But he did eventually pack it in when he started getting regular acting jobs.

CPS Dec 18 Keany copy Humble beginnings of Golden Globes nominees Margot Robbie in Neighbours

Margot Robbie

She is now one of the best-paid stars in Hollywood but it isn’t that long ago that Margot Robbie burst on to the scene on Aussie soap Neighbours.

She played Donna from 2008 to 2011 and even returned to cameo in the final ever episode earlier this year.

Jenna Ortega

You know that ridiculously bad actor who appears in all the Adam Sandler movies? No, not Adam himself. Rob Schneider is his name and for some reason he got his own TV show a few years ago.

While the ratings would suggest no one watched it at all, it turns out that some talent spotters did tune in and caught a glimpse or a young Jenna Ortega.

Fast forward a decade and she is the world’s biggest star thanks to her lead role in Netflix show Wednesday.

Eddie Redmayne

He can play a lady in The Danish Girl, a paralysed genius in The Theory of Everything and Marius in Les Miserables, but a little digging led us to discover that award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne got his big break on Birmingham-based soap Doctors, which was so obscure that his Wiki page doesn’t even list it.

Bob Odenkirk

Most people think Bob Odenkirk got his big break as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad, but an incredible 15 years earlier he appeared as a scammer on US comedy Roseanne.

He mainly got ‘writing’ credits for the subsequent decade but became a leading actor in 2009 when the Albuquerque meth drama went global.

Hugh Jackman

There seems to be nothing that Hugh Jackman can’t do. He can be a superhero, a singer, a dancer, a comedian and an all-round showman.

Back in 1995 he was part of an unknown 10-part court room drama in Australian called Corelli (not the Nicolas Cage mandolin movie) where he met his wife Debbie.

Even before that forgettable show he appeared in an even worse show called Law of the Land. Why didn’t he just join Neighbours like all the other Aussie actors?

Carey Mulligan

Long before she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in She Said, Mulligan appeared in a TV show called Marple — a truly awful village-based detective series that somehow managed to attract names like Timothy Dalton and Joanna Lumley along the way.

But in the middle of it all there was an appearance from an unknown Mulligan who stole the show.

Kerry Condon

The Banshees of Inisherin may be the big talking point of the 2023 Golden Globes nomination list, but it isn’t all about the boys.

Kerry Condon has never given a bad performance so it was only a matter of time before the US noticed her.

It’s just a shame she wasn’t found earlier after an appearance in Bally K alongside her fellow nominee.


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