Aaron Paul

Yeah, bitch! Having charmed millions as tragic and naïve drug dealer Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul takes the wheel for his first leading role in Need for Speed this week.

As the video game adaptation speeds onto screens nationwide, we’ve taken a look at 10 stars who made the jump for small screen stardom to cinematic success (in alphabetical order).

Jennifer Aniston


As much as you might guiltily enjoy Matthew Perry romcom Fools Rush In, it’s hard to deny that Aniston’s the only Friends alumnus to find real big-screen fame. Sure, her filmography largely comprises mediocre romcoms, supporting roles in male comics’ vehicles or, latterly, sexbomb performances, but almost all of her movies are profitable, with five earning over $200m. Audiences just love Jen.

George Clooney in O Brother, Where Are Thou?

George Clooney

On-set prankster, former pig owner and now one of Hollywood’s most respected actors and filmmakers – the only person to be nominated for an Oscar in six different categories – Clooney’s career was, to be blunt, crap, until he landed the role of hunky doctor Doug Ross on E.R. The less said about the rubber Batsuit nipples, however, the better.


Johnny Depp

Long before he turned in increasingly disappointing performances and found himself unable to say no to an offer from Tim Burton, Depp became a teen idol as undercover cop Tom Hanson on the original series of 21 Jump Street. His breakout movie role in Edward Scissorhands soon followed.

Mila Kunis in Black Swan

Mila Kunis

Shut up, Meg! Of course, Kunis keeps a foot in TV with her regular voice work as Meg Griffin on Family Guy, but first found renown as the hot-tempered Jackie in That 70s Show (alongside current boyfriend Ashton Kutcher). A winning turn in Forgetting Sarah Marshall propelled her to movie stardom and she’s since combined credible fare like Black Swan and Jupiter Ascending with comedy favourites Friends With Benefits and Ted.


Jennifer Lawrence

You’ll know her now as the Tribute-volunteering, Oscar-winning, red carpet-stumbling Coolest Girl in Hollywood. J-Law’s a rare beast as an actress who’s globally popular, charming, beautiful and incredibly talented. But where did Katniss kick off her journey to stardom? On sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. Now, now, don’t pretend like you’ve heard of it.

Will Smith

Will Smith

Yes, we’re all annoyed by his precocious kids but it’s worth remembering that Big Willie made the leap from rap to sitcom stardom to action heroism and Oscar nomination, becoming probably the most bankable star in Hollywood in the process. But he did turn down The Matrix for Wild Wild West, so nobody’s perfect.

James Franco and Michelle Williams in Oz: The Great and Powerful

Michelle Williams

While James Van Der Beek went to internet meme stardom, Katie Holmes shacked up with a Scientologist and Joshua Jackson languished until Fringe, their Dawson’s Creek co-star Michelle Williams has become the show’s only genuine success story. Her BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning performance in Brokeback Mountain, alongside future partner Heath Ledger, kickstarted a career of exemplary choices and award nominations.

Robin Williams - Happy Feet 2 Recording

Robin Williams

A hairy Hollywood great, Williams won a Golden Globe as loveable TV alien Mork & Mindy. The popularity of his manic stand-up comedy then propelled Williams into film and a series of acclaimed roles (then later a lot of terrible ones). But we’ll always have his fart anecdote in Good Will Hunting.

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis

Before he lost his hair or showed an inability to behave like a nice human being when promoting his films, Willis found TV fame as Moonlighting’s David, smouldering alongside co-star Cybil Shepherd. His hair thinned, but the wisecracks that powered the show were put to good use as action god John McClane in Die Hard.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta Jones

After winning audience’s hearts as the beautiful Mariette on The Darling Buds of May, the Welsh quickly found fame in Hollywood with roles in The Mask of Zorro, Entrapment and The Haunting, before landing an Oscar nomination for her jazzed-up turn in Chicago. Having landed a much older Hollywood husband, she’s most recently been seen in very orange form in RED 2.s