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7 Movie Casts that Would Cost Studios a lot more Today

Updated on February 8, 2017
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Arthur is an avid television and movie fan, with horror being his favored genre. If you can name it, he has probably seen it. Twice.


The ensemble cast is a sometimes used gimmick to try to solidify a shaky movie plot. While creating an ensemble cast is usually done on purpose to attract movie goers to the theater, it is sometimes done accidentally before the cast is actually famous. It is not often that it happens, but once every few years a studio gets lucky and fills an entire cast of characters with actors that will one day be household names. These movies and TV shows are great examples of casts that would cost a lot more today than they did when they were hired.

Freaks and Geeks

The only thing more ridiculous than this cult classic's limited run is how many downright famous people it produced (along with a few that one guy in that one things). It is hard to say who is the most famous out of the cast, but here is a quick breakdown.

James Franco - Franco is a household name who has not only starred in blockbuster films like Spider Man and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but also does a lot of strange performance art as well. When not filming big budget films he can be seen in a lot of comedies with his friends from the F & G cast like This is the End, and Pineapple Express.

Seth Rogen - Rogen has done everything there is in Hollywood including writing, acting, and directing; and all while doing his best Kermit the Frog impression. He is the brains behind some hilarious movies like Pineapple Express and Superbad along with portraying some of the best characters in movies like Knocked up and The 40 Year old Virgin. There are few people in Hollywood that are more talented or funny than Rogen.

Jason Segel - Segel may be best known for his role as Marshall in How I met your mother, but he is a comedy genius who has made many otherwise substandard movies worth watching. He was great in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and was the best character in a movie that wasn't even about him in Slackers. He has done a lot of independent films and even shines in his serious roles like The Tour.

Linda Cardellini - Linda pops up here and there, but is probably the most recognizable as Velma in the live action Scooby Doo movies or as a voice in Regular Show, Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated, Gravity Falls, and Robot Chicken.

John Francis Daley - This baby faced actor is one of those guys that you are sure you just saw in something but you can't put your finger on it. Aside from F & G he is probably best known for his roles as the new hire in the cult classic Waiting and Dr. Lance Sweets in bones.

Road Killers

I recently found this gem on Netflix and it was actually the inspiration for this list. It stars a young cast of people who were only starting to come into fame or hadn't yet became a recognizable force in the film industry. One name particularly seems to stand out in this list.

Christopher Lambert - Chris Lambert is probably the most unconventional action star of all time. The french man with a lisp is not exactly menacing in anyway yet he has placed some tough guys like Connor Macleod in the Highlander franchise and Raiden in Mortal Kombat. His filmography is filled with B action movies, including this one where he turns from mild mannered dad to certified bad ass.

Craig Sheffer - Sheffer is probably better known in some circles than others. Some may know him from the cult hit Nightbreed, but most who recognize him will recognize him as Keith Scott in the popular prime time drama One Tree Hill.

David Arquette - Arquette has made a name for himself all over the silver screen from box office bombs like Ready to Rumble to big hits like the Scream Franchise. His schedule has not slowed down much and we continue to see his face on the big and small screens.

Josh Brolin - This was a relatively early role for Brolin as he was just starting to catch roles that were past his teen heartthrob status. His role in this film gave us a glimpse into how great of an actor he would become. Brolin has been in a number of acclaimed roles including No Country for Old Men, The Old Boy remake, and as Thanos in the Marvel universe.

Christopher McDonald - McDonald is a veteran character actor who has been all over TV and movies, but he is probably best recognized as Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt - This one seems almost ridiculous to even put on the list. Gordon-Levitt is a breakout star who turns everything he touches into gold. Looper, 500 Days of Summer, Inception, and The Dark Night Rises are just a few of the many examples of great movies he has starred in over the past few years.

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan was a big movie when it came out, and one of those which stood the test of time. Of course names like Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore were already big at that time, but this movie is filled with young actors that would go on to be top billed.

Vin Diesel - Diesel has become a big name action star with films like the Fast and the Furious franchise, Pitch Black, and XXX. It was his first big movie role and one of his first roles all together.

Giovanni Ribisi - Ribisi has had a long career of walk on roles in different TV shows. The same year he starred in SPR he debuted as Frank Bufay Jr. on Friends. He does steady character work and even had a short lived sitcom on Fox that was much funnier that Brooklyn 99 in my opinion.

Matt Damon - Damon was already turning heads in Hollywood but he had not yet reached super star status. It feels a little ridiculous even listing his accomplishment here.

Nathan Fillion - Fillion is the kind of guy who can do pretty much anything. He was the star of the beloved series Firefly, play a pretty evil dude in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and has had a lead role in the show Castle which finishes its 8th and finale season this year.

Boogie Nights

Who would have thought that movie about the porn industry would spawn so many big names? Turns out when the movie is as good as Boogie Nights it has that potential.

Mark Wahlberg - Of course by this time everyone knew part time rapper and full time bulge shower, Marky Mark, but nobody knew Mark Wahlberg the actor. This was his break out role that proved that he wasn't just a lump in briefs.

Heather Graham - Graham has kind of made a career of being topless which she solidified in this movie. She has had a ton of roles since boogie nights but Stu's stripper wife in The Hangover and as Austen Power's love interest in The Spy who Shagged Me.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - My bet is that Hollywood would pay anything to have him in another movie. Unfortunately Hoffman lost a battle to drugs in 2015, but he did leave behind a legacy. Before Boogie Nights the only thing you may have noticed him in is Twister as comic relief. Obviously he went on to win multiple awards and deliver some incredible iconic roles.

Don Cheadle - Cheadle had been working for years before his role in Boogie Nights, but this is the first time that he had any mainstream recognition or significant screen time. Of course he has gone on to play roles in box office hits like Ocean's 11 and is currently contracted as Captain Jame Rhodes for Marvel.

John C. Riley - Riley has some strong features that make him easily recognizable, yet he still had trouble gaining mainstream success until he hooked up with Will Ferrell. You may also recognize him from the Tim and Eric's Awesome Show and the voice of Wreck-It Ralph.

Update: Burt Reynolds and William H. Macy also make appearances in this surprisingly long movie.

Trick 'R' Treat

This is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. It is based off of a comic book and is filled with vignettes which offer a ton of small parts for actors new to the scene. Luckily for us there were a handful of actors who would go on to bigger things.

Quinn Lord - Lord has been playing bit parts since the film, but has recently landed a recurring character in the Amazon hit Man in the High Castle.

Brett Kelly - OK, so he hasn't reached any mainstream success yet, but he is reprising his role as Thurman Murman in Bad Santa 2 which earns him some recognition in my opinion.

Leslie Bibb - Bibb has been working steadily in Hollywood since Trick 'R' Treat. She had small roles in Iron Man 1&2, played Meegan on The League, and even had a starring role in the 2013 horror-comedy Hell Baby.

Anna Paquin - Talk about burying the lead with this one. Paquin had already been in multiple big name films including Amistad and playing the role of Rogue in the X-men films; however she had yet to play Sookie Stackhouse, a role that has defined her career. Look for her next in the upcoming Roots remake.

The Faculty

This is the epitome of an ensemble cast. A few of them has some credits under there belt, a few, have gone on to bit parts, a majority have skyrocketed to fame one way or another.

Jordana Brewster - This was the first film job and only second acting job for this beautiful actress. Since then she has gone on to starring roles in the Fast and Furious franchise, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Prequel, and a number of small screen roles.

Josh Hartnett - I'm a Minnesota boy so Josh has a special place in my heart. The Faculty was only his third role, but it lit the fuse to his fame rocket. He hit a peak and has kind of slowed down, but he still acts steadily and has been in big hits like 40 days and 40 Nights, and Lucky Number Slevin.

Famke Janssen - Famke had a number of roles befor landing in The Faculty, but none of them were large or recognizable. The Faculty probably wasn't her break out role, but it could have been the performance that caught he the role of Jean Grey in The X-men a few years later. Since X-men Janssen has worked regularly in TV and movies.

Usher Raymond - Usher had already conquered the music world by this time, but it was one of his first acting jobs. He mostly stuck to bit parts and guest appearances after The Faculty, instead choosing to stick to music.

Jon Stewart - Yes, that Jon Stewart. He had been in a few things but he had not yet landed the role of a lifetime. He did OK as an actor, but we really just want to listen to him talk politics all day long.

Elijah Wood - Wood had been acting regularly before The Faculty, but it was one of his first big roles. Since then he has gone on to play the most important Hobbit ever in The Lord of the Rings, a crazy stoner in Wilfred, and a cannibalistic psychopath in SIn City, among other roles.

Urban Legend

Horror movies always boast a cast of young up and comers, they just usually do not have this many future stars.

Joshua Jackson - Jackson doesn't really count since he has been working steadily before and after Urban Legend, but I bet he commands a lot more per film than he did back in the Urban Legend days.

Jared Leto - Leto had already won over the hearts of millions of teen girls by the time this fulm roled around thanks to his role in My So Called Life. He still had trouble breaking into the feature film industry, but this movie changed it. Look for him in Requiem for a Dream as proof of his acting chops. Also, the rumor is that he will be the Joker to end all Jokers in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie.

Rebecca Gayheart - Gayheart has been working in Hollywood for a while, but this was the first role that really allowed her to spread her wings. Perhaps he most famous role is being married to Eric Dane.

Michael Rosenbaum - Rosenbaum is probably best know for his role as Lex Luther in Smallville, but if you are a fan of DC cartoons you have heard his voice in almost every single one since 2000.

Tara Reid - Poor, poor Tara Reid, let's be honest she is probably going to cost the studio less now than when she made this film.

Which young ensemble casts did I miss? Which actors in these movies did I miss? Let me know what you think in the comments.


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