Every star has to start somewhere—you just didn’t realize it was in some of your favorite back-in-the-day shows. Some of today’s biggest actors and actresses actually got their start on the small screen, and you’ll wonder how you didn’t notice them back then.

image
iStock

It seems like today’s biggest movie stars often come out of left field, starring in one huge movie that ends up catapulting them to fame. That’s obviously not the case, though—their success had to start somewhere before that, their big break likely coming after a few different smaller roles.

image
iStock

If you thought your favorite A-listers of today didn’t start off playing the forgettable background character, think again, because you probably missed a lot of them in some of your favorite shows.

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt is pretty much everywhere these days, and we’re not complaining. It was impossible not to love him as Andy in Parks and Recreation—a character that wasn’t even meant to be permanent, by the way. That role that kicked off his career in a big way.

image
People’s Choice

If you’re a fan of The O.C., however, you’d have seen him long before he really hit the big screen as Che, the environmental activist and bohemian spirit who was featured in nine glorious episodes.

image
Decider

One of those episodes, we’ll add, centered around Pratt’s character dreaming that his soulmate was Adam Brody’s character, Seth, and taking him on a quest to find his spirit animal in the woods—we’ll let that sink in for a minute.

Jennifer Lawrence

Like her Passengers co-star Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t always the massive star she is now—it seems like she was recently in at least two blockbusters every year. The very first role she’s ever been credited with, however?

image
etvfictionseries.com

The mascot in an episode of Monk. Reddit user idyemyhairalot shared, “I was watching old Monk reruns and someone in a lion mascot costume walks into the locker room and takes off the head, only to reveal Jennifer Lawrence is underneath! She’s even referred to as Jen!”

Ryan Gosling

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that Ryan Gosling was once a member of the Mickey Mouse Club cast along with stars like Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.

image
Bustle

Even more hilarious and awesome, however, is that he also played the main character Greg in an episode of the Goosebumps television show called “Say Cheese and Die.” That camera’s curse definitely backfired, though, because Gosling has seen nothing but success since he started acting at a young age.

Zooey Deschanel

These days, Zooey Deschanel is best known for playing Jessica Day in the show New Girl. However, being born into a showbiz-centric family—her dad’s an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, her mom was an actress, and her sister is Bones star Emily Deschanel—she was no stranger to the spotlight long before she became a huge star.

Happy valentine's day!!!! From, me

A post shared by Zooey Deschanel (@zooeydeschanel) on

One place you might not have expected to see her was in an episode of Frasier, in which she played Roz’s cousin Jen.

image
Mathur & the Marquee

Reddit user brookev44d349812 said it was a far cry from the New Girl Deschanel we all know today. “Not only is a blonde Deschanel bizarre, her too-cool-for-school attitude couldn’t be more different from Jessica Day,” they said.

Adam Scott

Most of us know Adam Scott as Leslie Knope’s nerdy husband, Ben, in Parks and Recreation or as Will Ferrell’s bully of a brother in Stepbrothers. His bullying ways began long before that, though, because he actually played Griff Hawkins, Corey’s schooltime bully in Boy Meets World.

image
UPROXX

At the time, he had no idea the show would become what it did, and what it still is today. “It was a thrill to be on a TV show briefly, but it was not like I ever got recognized for it,” he said in an interview with TVLine. “If I had known then that in 20 years [that the show would be so popular] I probably would have been more psyched about it.”

Millie Bobby Brown

Alright, so while you might not recognize the name, Stranger Things fans will definitely recognize Millie Bobby Brown as their Eggo-loving Eleven.

She’s only 13 years old, which means that she probably hasn’t shown up in much before her breakout role on the Netflix series, but she did pop up in a few things, mainly one episode of NCIS.

image
@NCIS_CBS/Twitter

In it, she played Rachel Barnes, a sociopathic young girl who was investigated for slaying her own mother.

Nick Offerman

We all know Nick Offerman today for playing the mustachioed and unforgivingly-awesome Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. It’s a pretty safe bet to say that all of the people who adore him now weren’t fans of The West Wing, though, because that’s exactly where they would’ve seen him during the show’s first season.

image
NBC (via Entertainment Weekly)

Oh, it gets even better, too. His character’s name in the one episode he was featured in? JERRY. If you ask us, justice has been retroactively served for Pawnee’s poor Jerry/Gary/Larry Gergich.

Mila Kunis

There’s plenty of roles we could recognize Mila Kunis for—Jackie of That ‘70s Show, Meg from Family Guy, Lily in Black Swan. She’s been acting for quite some time now, but the one role of hers that you probably didn’t even realize she ever had?

image
Gurl

Ashley, her role from 7th Heaven in which she played Lucy’s annoying frenemy. While we’re at it, we’d also like to point out that she starred in a single episode of Walker, Texas Ranger alongside Chuck Norris.

Ryan Reynolds

These days, it seems like there isn’t a role Ryan Reynolds can’t play. He can be dramatic, he can do action, he can be funny, and he basically is Deadpool. His acting career actually began in the early ‘90s with a few different TV shows and made-for-TV movies, and one of the aforementioned shows was actually The X-Files.

image
ABC (via Daily Mail)

Yes, in 1996, Reynolds played a high school athlete who got into some trouble when two of his classmates somehow unleashed some newly-found psychic powers, a la Carrie. It was clearly a big year for him, because it was also the one in which he appeared in the TV movie Sabrina the Teenage Witch as Seth. Things really picked up for him less than a decade later when he starred in The Amityville Horror, Waiting…, and Just Friends all in one year.

Emma Stone

Most of us saw Emma Stone for the first time in the movie Superbad, and her career has only gone up from there.

image
IMDb

She’s played every kind of role imaginable—the girl next door, a zombie hunter, a superhero’s girlfriend who could even become a superhero herself, a dancing and singing aspiring actress—and has played them all flawlessly. Her beginnings, however, are rooted in television.

image
Imgur

The year 2006 was a good one for Stone (and for us), but we didn’t even know it because she wasn’t on our radars quite yet. She was actually a guest star in a pretty hilarious episode of Malcolm in the Middle in which she plays Diane, a student who decides to help play a prank on Malcolm’s older brother, Reese. Lois, his mom, later gets her back by removing the heads from Diane’s doll collection and stowing them in her locker so they spill out onto her later that day. Oh, and for any Suite Life of Zack and Cody fans out there, you heard Stone on that show, although you didn’t see her. She actually did the voice for London Tipton’s dog Ivana in just a single episode of the show.