When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the stars who play the heroes and villains have become larger than life for many fans. Some names, like Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, were huge stars before coming into the MCU, while other actors like Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston have become monster stars thanks to their roles in the Marvel movies. However, one fact remains the same when it comes to all the stars that call Marvel home. This is not where these actors and actresses got their starts and many of them have things in their past that look very different than the roles they now portray.
Some of the actors had roles in the past that are night and day from the superheroes and villains that try to destroy and save the world many times over. Some of these men and women were once very different in real life than what fans have grown to love in the world of The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, among other films. There are also some who have done something in their past that is either embarrassing or humiliating. Many of these moments were caught in photographs that they can never live down. These are those photographs.
15 PRE-GUARDIANS STAR-LORD
It seems almost strange, when looking at Star-Lord, to consider that Chris Pratt was once seen as “too fat” to be a Hollywood leading man. As recently as his stint on Parks and Recreation, Pratt was more of a teddy bear than a ripped superhero. While that worked for a comedy series, it didn’t help Pratt line up roles in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World. When he lost the chance to star in Moneyball because of his weight, he made lifestyle changes.
There are photos like this to prove that Chris Pratt was not always the buff and ripped Star-Lord, but the actor said that his current physique is not permanent. He loves to eat and said that this is only a body change that will last “a couple of years” before he reverts to his more comfortable size and shape.
14 BRUCE BANNER WANTS TO SELL YOU ACNE CREAM
Mark Ruffalo is not a young man in Hollywood and even had a period when he thought his career was over due to his battle with cancer. However, he wasn’t always a leading man or even a critically acclaimed character actor. Way back in 1989, the man who would one day become The Hulk was trying to make ends meet by starring in television commercials. One commercial that Ruffalo appeared in was for the product Clearasil Double Clear – an acne relief product.
The photos from the commercial show a young, fresh-faced Ruffalo and he doesn’t seem too overly embarrassed by it today. Jimmy Fallen showed the Clearasil commercial, which exclaimed “Zap” and “Double Zap” as Ruffalo used the product, and the Avengers actor laughed it off.
13 THOR NEEDS A COOKIE (OR THREE)
Some actors had to bulk up to make it in a Hollywood movie, and Chris Hemsworth is no different. However, much like actors before him, like Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey, Hemsworth also went in the opposite direction for a movie role. Fans who saw how amazing Hemsworth looked in Thor: Ragnarok had to find it shocking when photos surfaced online of the Thor actor dropping 33 pounds for the movie In the Heart of the Sea.
Hemsworth said that he ate 500 calories a day, consisting of just boiled eggs and salads, and dropped the weight to look like the shipwrecked man that inspired the novel, Moby Dick. He also said that it affected his mind more than when he gained the same weight back for his role in Thor.
12 I'M MARY POPPINS, Y'ALL
James Gunn has a sharp sense of humor and knows when to throw jokes into his movies for maximum impact. A perfect example came in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when Yondu floated down to the surface on Ego with the aid of his floating, whistle-activated arrow. Knowing that he was about to shock fans with the heartbreaking and touching death of Yondu, Gunn threw in a funny comment by Star-Lord, who said that Yondu looked like Mary Poppins, something he played off as a compliment so as not to hurt his feelings.
Fans picked up on it and people at comic conventions started to flood Michael Rooker with tons of Mary Poppins references; some even went so far as to cosplay as a Mary Poppins-Yondu mix. This photo is a perfect example of Rooker’s sense of humor as he walks side-by-side with his magical counterpart.
11 LOKI LOVES TAYLOR SWIFT
Actors inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe love to give each other a hard time. That was very easy when paparazzi caught Tom Hiddleston at a beach wearing a tank top that had I Heart T.S. written on it. Of course, the T.S. stood for Taylor Swift, who Hiddleston happened to be dating at the time. Robert Downey Jr. saw the photos and delivered some great zingers to his Avengers co-star, including saying T.S. stood for Tony Stark.
Seven months after this photo hit the Internet, Hiddleston explained why he had that shirt on. According to the Loki actor, he hurt his back and wanted to protect himself from the sun. He asked if anyone had a shirt he could borrow and someone had this specific shirt to loan him, something he thought was funny at the time.
10 TONY STARK'S BREAKING THE LAW
A less humorous photo of a Marvel cast member is the mug shot of Robert Downey Jr. However, as embarrassing as this had to be for the future Tony Stark, it is not something that Downey hides from and he uses it as proof that anyone can overcome their demons and move on to a successful life.
Downey suffered from substance abuse problems for many years before cleaning himself up. He was first arrested in 1996 for drug possession, drunk driving and possession of a weapon. He ended up in prison and then was arrested again in 2000 and 2001. That almost destroyed his career but he got out of jail, cleaned himself up, and finally turned his life around to become one of the most successful actors on the planet, proving anyone can succeed with a second chance.
9 NATIONAL LAMPOON PRESENTS HAWKEYE
For fans looking for interesting trivia, two young actors read for roles and tried to kickstart their movie careers in 1995. Both young men read for a part in a comedy starring Alicia Silverstone called Clueless. The actors read for the part of Josh, the stepbrother of Silverstone’s Cher. The actor who won the role was a fresh-faced young talent named Paul Rudd. Of course, Rudd went on to have a great career as a character actor before getting the lead role in Ant-Man.
The actor he beat out was another young talented actor named Jeremy Renner. For Renner, he may have lost out for the role in Clueless, but he still started his movie career in 1995 with a lesser known movie called National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, a raunchy comedy. Now, both men are working for Marvel, with Renner as the popular archer Hawkeye.
8 BLACK WIDOW: CHILD STAR
It is often hard for some fans not to look at an actress like Scarlett Johansson in a certain way. With the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe dressing her Black Widow in skin-tight leather outfits, and at one point in The Avengers putting her in a tiny cocktail dress, it was easy to see Natasha as a true sex symbol and a dream girl for many fans.
However, let's not forget that before her fame, Johansson was an accomplished child actor. She started her acting career working in stage plays, and got her start in movies in 1994 at the age of 10. The above photo is from the movie The Horse Whisperer, which Johansson starred in at the age of 14. She's come a long way since then as one of Hollywood's undisputed A-Listers, though like everyone, she still has those sometimes embarrassing childhood pictures (or in this case, movies) to deal with!
7 WHO'S YOUR DADDY, NEBULA?
Yondu had the perfect death in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. He and Peter Quill were the final two heroes left on Ego the Living Planet and Yondu made a conscious decision to die in order to ensure that Peter lived. Much like the decision that Peter made in the first movie to save Gamora, Yondu knew he was going to die when they hit orbit and he made the ultimate sacrifice. However, before he died, he told Peter that Ego was his father, but he was never his daddy.
It was touching and one of the most heartbreaking moments in any Marvel movie. However, after the fact, it is fun to look at this photo of Yondu (a Centaurian) and Nebula (a Luphomoid) and think of him talking about being someone’s daddy. The resemblance is striking and one might wonder if he didn’t have maybe one other kid fighting evil.
6 SCARLET WITCH'S TROUBLED PAST?
Elizabeth Olsen has triumphantly stepped out of her family’s immense shadow and become a talented and critically acclaimed young actress. However, thanks to photos like this, it is impossible not to remember that she is, in fact, the younger sister of the infamous Olsen Twins of Full House and teen idol fame.
Before becoming the Scarlet Witch, Elizabeth Olsen had some critically acclaimed roles in movies like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Kill Your Darlings. However, those movies almost didn’t include Olsen, who quit acting for years because of the toll it took on the personal lives of her sisters. Luckily for MCU fans, she came to Hollywood anyway and this photo shows that she was able to overcome that huge shadow from the Olsen Twins.
5 ROCKET AND GAMORA: ALIENS IN LOVE
Before they appeared together as superheroes in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, Bradley Cooper (Rocket Raccoon) and Zoe Saldana (Gamora) were dating each other, as the above photo shows. However, according to all reports, their relationship did not end well as Saldana made some critical comments about ex-boyfriends not being worth her time immediately following their split.
That makes the fact that they are now co-stars in one of the biggest comic book properties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe interesting. Of course, Cooper voices Rocket and doesn’t have to be around Saldana as much as the other characters thanks to that fact, so that might help. It is slightly strange watching Gamora and Rocket interact on screen and then picturing the photo above though.
4 THE HULK PRESENTS MOVIE MAGIC
It is easy to lose yourself in a Marvel comic book movie, sometimes forgetting that you are watching actors portraying giant green goliaths, talking raccoons and tall tree-like creatures. Of course, it is all movie magic and one thing that Marvel does that some other big-budget CGI extravaganzas do not do is have the actual actors starring as the characters portray them in motion capture in front of a green screen.
Looking at the above photo, Mark Ruffalo proves that he not only plays Bruce Banner but also takes on the role of The Hulk. It is impressive and fun to know, but seeing the above photo makes it hard not to remember things like this when Thor and Hulk are battling on the big screen in the final product.
3 BEST FRIENDS: QUICKSILVER EDITION
There hasn’t been much debate on which version of Quicksilver that fans prefer. While the Marvel movies remain the tentpoles that many fans prefer, it was the X-Men version of Quicksilver for Fox that sticks out as the preferred version of the speedy mutant. Thanks to the humor and the perfectly shot speed action scenes, the X-Men member remains both fun and iconic for all the right reasons. However, it is also fun to look at the above photo and remember that both Quicksilver’s appeared in another comic book movie together as best friends.
Of course, the Marvel version was Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the X-Men version was his best friend in the movie (Evan Peters). While Taylor-Johnson was the star in that earlier comic book adaptation, it was his sidekick that remains alive in the X-Men universe, at least until Disney merges the two.
2 LEAVE AGENT CARTER ALONE
The television output of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not as beloved as the big screen version but Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been great in recent years and Marvel’s Agent Carter was a fantastic look at one of the earliest female butt-kickers in her own leading role. The above photo was one that combined the two in a strange manner as S.H.I.E.L.D. star Clark Gregg dressed up as Agent Carter with fake tears and running eyeliner.
This photo was from the dubsmash war between Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter and saw Gregg dress as Agent Carter and perform We Are the Champions by Queen. He then followed up with the photo, which he dubbed “Ugly Crying.” After this, it was hard to look at Clark Gregg the same way again.
1 CAPTAIN AMERICA LOVES WHIPPED CREAM
When it comes to early movie roles for Marvel superhero actors, there might not be a photo still that stands as the polar opposite to what the actor now portrays than this one from Chris Evans. Of course, Evans has played hotshot arrogant superheroes in Fantastic Four but even that stood tall when compared to this photo from Not Another Teen Movie.
This was one of the first spoof movies, and one of the few that was actually good. Chris Evans starred as the love interest and this scene saw him come out in his whipped cream bikini, spoofing the same scene with Ali Larter in Varsity Blues. Larter played this for pure sex appeal while Evans played it for pure comedy, but the moment that Evans turned around and walked out of the room, an image burned into the mind of viewers that they will never, ever, unsee.