Many times, child actors and actresses make have been in the business for years before they make it big. The role they are best known for is not their first performance, or even sometimes their first major performance. These early roles are not as well known, either because the movies/shows weren’t that good or just that they didn’t get as much exposure as their breakout role.
Hilary Duff is best known as Lizzie McGuire, the teenager with best friends Miranda and Gordo and an animated version of Lizzie as the narrator. However, before she starred in Lizzie McGuire, she played Wendy the Little Good Witch in Casper Meets Wendy. In the movie, Wendy has three Witch Aunts who are her guardians just like Casper has three ghost uncles and they meet to defeat a powerful dark wizard named Desmond. The made for video movie appeared on shelves in 1998, two years before Lizzie McGuire premiered in 2001.
Zac Efron hit it big with High School Musical in 2007, about a basketball star who finds out he has a secret love for performing musicals. But in 2005, Zac starred in The Derby Stallion, playing Patrick. At the beginning of the movie, Patrick is unhappy because he is forced into playing baseball by his father. But he befriends an older man, Houston, who used to be a steeplechase jockey. Through Houston, he decides to become a steeplechase jockey himself and beat the town bully at a steeple chase.
Vanessa Hudgens also starred in High School Musical, as the science-loving girl who befriends Zac’s character and decides to audition with him for the winter musical. In 2004, she had a major role in Thunderbirds. She played Tin-tin, the female best friend of the protagonist, Alan, who is the youngest son of the head of an organization called International Rescue. A devious man named the Hood along with his team captures the island and Alan, Tin-tin and Ferment must work together to defeat the Hood and his minions.
Corbin Bleu starred in High School Musical as well, playing the best friend of Zac’s character, who initially doesn't understand his friend’s sudden fascination with playing in theater and musicals. In 2004, in Catch That Kid he played Austin, the best friend of Maddy, a young climber whose father is paralyzed and needs an expensive operation. The three decide to rob a bank from a corrupt bank president named Donald Brisbane to get the money necessary for the operation. Both Austin and her other male friend, Gus, are tricked into believing that Maddy likes him. This leads us to the final major role, the one of Maddy in Catch That Kid. She was played by Kristen Stewart, who played Bella in the Twilight Saga Series.
Child and teen stars work years, even getting major roles before they hit it big. While these films may not be as prominent as their major successes, it is cool to see them stretching their acting talent with these performances. Check out these early films by some cool former teen stars.