10 Iconic Stars Who Rose to Fame in the 2000s: A Cinematic Journey

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10 Iconic Stars Who Rose to Fame in the 2000s: A Cinematic Journey

10 Iconic Stars Who Rose to Fame in the 2000s: A Cinematic Journey

The 2000s was a golden era for cinema, giving birth to some of the most iconic films and stars we know today. As a seasoned ScreenRant.com writer, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the rise of these talented actors and actresses, who have gone on to become household names and industry powerhouses. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and revisit the cinematic journeys of 10 iconic stars who rose to fame in the 2000s.

1. Gabrielle Union: From Cheerleader to Hollywood Powerhouse (2000)

Before becoming a Hollywood heavyweight, Gabrielle Union was a budding actress with roles in films like She’s All That and 10 Things I Hate About You. Her breakout role came in 2000 as Isis, the head of a cheerleading group in Bring It On. In a candid interview with Good Morning America, Union admitted that she didn’t give her character the justice she deserved, opting for respectability over carefreeness.

2. Kerry Washington: Dancing Her Way to Stardom (2001)

Before captivating audiences as Olivia Pope in Shonda Rhimes’ hit show Scandal, Kerry Washington was finding her footing in the acting world. Her journey began with the television film Magical Make-Over, but it was her role in 2001’s Save the Last Dance that catapulted her to fame. Reflecting on the film during a Parade Magazine Cover Shoot, Washington said, “It was really exciting for me. It was the first time that I had a trailer and hair and make-up. I don’t think any of us knew what a huge hit it would be.”

3. Taraji P. Henson: From Baby Boy to Empire Queen (2001)

Taraji P. Henson has become synonymous with her tough-talking, broom-throwing character Cookie from Empire. However, her journey to stardom began with a role in John Singleton’s Baby Boy as Yvette. The film became a cultural favorite, with fans shipping Taraji and co-star Tyrese as the perfect onscreen couple.

4. Rachel McAdams: The Queen Bee of Mean Girls (2004)

Rachel McAdams’ star soared in 2004 when she played Regina George in the Tina Fey-written Mean Girls. The film, based on the book Queen Bees and Wannabes, was a commercial success and remains an audience favorite. When asked if she thought the movie would become so big, McAdams said, “No. I must admit, when I read it I just thought it was one of the greatest things I’d ever laid my hands on. So, I did kind of have that butterfly feeling.”

5. John Krasinski: The Office’s Lovable Prankster (2005)

John Krasinski’s hilarious story of landing the role of Jim in The Office is a testament to his charm and wit. Unknowingly speaking to a casting director, Krasinski expressed his love for the British version of the show and hoped the American adaptation wouldn’t be a flop. He was eventually hired, and the rest is history.

6. Amber Tamblyn: From General Hospital to Joan of Arcadia (2005)

Amber Tamblyn first graced our screens on General Hospital before landing the lead role in Joan of Arcadia. In a 2003 interview with Regis Philbin, Tamblyn expressed her excitement for the show’s unique concept and was confident it would make an impact. She was right, as her stardom continues to rise.

7. Terrence Howard: Hustling His Way to the Top (2005)

Terrence Howard’s acting career began in the ’90s with a role in The Jacksons: An American Dream. However, it wasn’t until 2005’s Hustle & Flow that he gained mainstream attention, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Howard has since taken on more daring roles, most notably as Lucious Lyon in Empire.

8. Elliot Page: A Hard-Hitting Breakthrough (2007)

Elliot Page’s acting career began at the tender age of 10 in ABC’s Pit Pony. Formerly known as Ellen Page, Elliot gained public attention with a role in Hard Candy as Hayley Stark, a girl who puts a pedophile at her mercy. In 2007, Page’s breakthrough role came in the form of Juno, which was both a financial success and critically acclaimed.

9. Viola Davis: An Artist’s Journey to Success (2008)

Viola Davis considers herself an artist, and her passion for storytelling began while watching Cicely Tyson in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. In 2008, Davis gained recognition for her role in Doubt, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Since then, she has established her own production company and is set to star alongside The Underground Railroad star Thuso Mbedu in The Woman King.

10. Emma Stone: A Ghostly Rise to Fame (2009)

Emma Stone has become one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, with an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress under her belt. Her rise to fame began with a reality talent search in 2004, but it was her role in 2009’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past that solidified her stardom. In a red carpet interview, Stone reminisced about the fun she had on set, improvising and changing lines. Her career has only continued to flourish since then, making her a true star in every sense of the word.

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