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Before They Were Famous: Ben Stiller, Leslie Mann & Jonah Hill

02.11.2016

Welcome to “Before They Were Famous“, where we take a look at some of the past exploits of today's biggest stars, be it from movies, television, Broadway, competitions, etc.! The more embarrassing, the better. Our memories are long, but the internet's memory is forever, so jump back in time with us to witness some of our favorite stars before they were marquee names.


Ben Stiller (ZOOLANDER 2)

Before THE BEN STILLER SHOW and his breakout role in REALITY BITES (which he also wrote and directed), Ben Stiller got his start writing and starring in a TV short called THE HUSTLER OF MONEY (1987). In the film, he stars with FRASIER's John Mahoney in an obvious parody of Paul Newman's THE HUSTLER and Martin Scorsese's follow-up film, THE COLOR OF MONEY.

Stiller plays the Tom Cruise character while Mahoney plays a version of Newman's "Fast Eddie". However, instead of pool, the characters in this film hustle people around the bowling lanes. From the use of Eric Clapton's "It's In The Way That You Use It" down to Stiller rocking a "Wince" t-shirt (Cruise wore one that said "Vince" in the original film), Stiller's attention to detail really added to the short's humor. And did you notice Ben's parents, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, in the video? Amazingly enough, SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE picked up the clip and ended up offering Stiller a job on the writing staff.

We all know Stiller does a hilarious Tom Cruise impression, but who knew it started this early on?


Leslie Mann (HOW TO BE SINGLE)

Apparently GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE isn't the only jungle dweller Leslie Mann has worked with. In this commercial for Coca-Cola (1995), which I totally remember watching as a kid, Mann plays the role of Ann Darrow from the KING KONG movies. But unlike the films, this King Kong chooses a crisp bottle of Coke over his lady love. How rude! Speaking of rude, how do you have Mann in a commercial and not use her distinctive voice?


Jonah Hill (HAIL, CAESAR!)


The first time I remember seeing Jonah Hill on-screen was in his role as "eBay customer" in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN. This star-studded film also featured early appearances from Seth Rogen, Kevin Hart, and fellow "Before They Were Famous" actress Leslie Mann. Playing the part of a clueless shopper in Trish's (Catherine Keener) eBay store, Hill's unnamed character is dismayed to find out that he can't actually buy anything at the business. He will sadly have to buy his knee-high silver boots online.

Hill also had a small part in the film I HEART HUCKABEES, thanks to his friendship with Dustin Hoffman's son, Jake. In an interview, Jonah detailed his relationship with Dustin Hoffman, including the hilarious fact that he made prank phone calls for him:
 

Yet Hill as a teenager was an aspiring writer, until Hoffman suggested he try professional acting.  So how did Hoffman know he had talent? “I used to make crank phone calls for him,” Hill said. Hoffman had friends he’d have Hill call, as well as assorted strangers; the goal was to get the person to buy into the conversation for as long as possible. “I had this bit where I’d phone people, pretend to be a celebrity’s assistant and ask for outlandish things,” Hill said. In one call to a seedy hotel during Oscar season, he pretended to be Tobey Maguire’s assistant and got the owner to agree to install a tank for a pet seal. “I’ve always said crank calls are one of the best improv exercises you can do, because you’re never put on the spot that heavily in a scene,” Hill said. “It’s the most jagged, maneuverable situation possible because you’re dealing with a real person.

 

 

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E-mail us at: beforetheywerefamous@joblo.com with anyone you'd like to see featured in future columns!

Source: JoBlo.com

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