ByJack Carr, writer at
You are the Princess Shireen of the House Baratheon, and you are my daughter.
Jack Carr

You guys in the US have The Young and the Restless. Australians do right by their Neighbours. And we in the UK have the endless cycle of misery, divorce and death known as EastEnders.

Yup, soaps are a popular beast. Most actors leave dreaming of a brighter future, only to scurry back a few years later with a mortgage to pay off. But a lucky few make it out alive.

Case Study 1: Margot Robbie

As of right now it's impossible to leave the house without being bombarded by news stories about Margot Robbie, the Neighbours discovery who drove DiCaprio wild in The Wolf of Wall Street as a New Jersey dame with expensive tastes and a habit of not wearing panties, and as of last week was being Instagram-stalked by CR7 himself (that's Cristiano Ronaldo, if you didn't know).

It's probably fair to say that Robbie's other-worldly beauty played a part in her overnight explosion, but foremost she's a talented actor who oozes charisma - there's a reason her electric portrayal of the psychotic Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad has thus far overshadowed even the Joker himself. This girl is not going anywhere - but which other Hollywood stars first made their name in soap?

2. Alan Dale

Another graduate of Neighbours, Dale played family man Jim Robinson from the very first episode in 1985 until 1993, when he relocated to Hollywood and found considerable success. Dale is not a leading man, but you've probably seen him in a ton of your favourite shows over the years. He's particularly adept at playing dastardly, ruthless businessmen types.

Career highlights: VP Jim Prescott in 24, Caleb Nichol in The O.C., Tom Morrow in NCIS, Bradford Meade in Ugly Betty, King George in Once Upon a Time.

Look out for him in... Dale reprises his role as John Ellis in the Entourage movie

3. Guy Pearce

One of Hollywood's most versatile character actors, Guy Pearce started out, once again, in Neighbours - obviously there's something in the water in Erinsborough.

Pearce has had a pretty exceptional career, sometimes playing leading man, sometimes supporting, and appearing in Prometheus looking like this...

Yes, Guy Pearce is under there somewhere.
Yes, Guy Pearce is under there somewhere.

...which makes about as much sense as the rest of that movie. Unquestionably the most essential role of Pearce's career is in Christopher Nolan's stunning movie-in-reverse Memento, a thriller which delivers a truly killer twist.

Career highlights: Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential, Leonard Shelby in Memento, King Edward VIII in The King's Speech, Aldrich Killian in Iron Man 3.

Look out for him in... Equals, a future sci-fi dystopia with Nicholas Hault, Kristen Stewart and fellow Aussie Jacki Weaver.

4. Ben Hardy

I can't imagine why Bryan Singer cast Ben Hardy, a virtually unknown Brit and not-particularly talented soap star, in the forthcoming blockbuster [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267)but I'm sure it had absolutely nothing to do with the above photoshoot.

Career highlights: Are you joking?

Look out for him in... X-Men Apocalypse, playing Archangel.

5. Rob Kazinsky

Another find from EastEnders, although it should be said that Kazinsky was actually pretty charismatic in his role on the world's most depressing TV show, and his success Stateside felt deserved. After appearing in Brothers & Sisters and True Blood, Rob got his big break in Guillermo Del Toro's questionable big-budget robot orgy Pacific Rim.

Most recently he was seen flirting with Reese Witherspoon in the equally questionable chick flick Hot Pursuit - the London boy done good.

Career highlights: Dr. Rick in Brothers & Sisters, Macklyn Warlow in True Blood, Chuck Hansen in Pacific Rim, guy who kisses Reese Witherspoon ("Randy") in Hot Pursuit.

Look out for him in... the movie adaptation of Warcraft, as Orgrim Doomhammer.

6. Chris Hemsworth

Tough gym sesh.
Tough gym sesh.

There's a whole bunch of Hemsworths, and all of them started out on Neighbours or the more glamorous Home & Away. Chris appeared on the latter for three years before he got the memo that Hollywood loves Australians and Brits because they can pay them less, and hopped on a flight over to LA.

Career highlights: Playing Thor of Asgard in Thor, [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462), The Avengers and [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035), the Huntsman in Snow White and the Huntsman, James Hunt in Rush, and Hathaway in the epic flop Black Hat.

Look out for him in... the all-female [Ghostbusters (2016)](tag:32733), not as a Ghostbuster (obv) but the enigmatically-named "Kevin". Also Thor: Ragnarok.

7. Anna Friel

Born in Rochdale, North-West England - not exactly known as a hotspot for future Hollywood stardom - Anna Friel got her first break in Brookside, her character Beth being one of half of British television's first lesbian kiss in 1994. Her breakthrough Hollywood role came in Pushing Daisies, the short-lived but highly regarded series about a gifted pie-maker who can revive the dead. It was better than it sounds.

Career highlights: Chuck in Pushing Daisies, Melissa in Limitless, Sergeant Odelle Ballard in NBC's current thriller series American Odyssey. Next role unknown.

8. Russell Crowe

Oh, come on. If you need a bio for Russell Crowe, you're too young to be using the internet. Go play with some LEGO or something.

Career highlights: Bud in L.A. Confidential, Meridius in Gladiator, Cal in State of Play, Javert in Les Miserables, Jor-El in Man of Steel, Noah in Noah.

Look out for him in... The Nice Guys, opposite Ryan Gosling.

So what can we learn from Ms. Robbie and co? Well, if you're willing to work hard and you happen to be stupid attractive, you've got a good shot at making it in Hollywood. Also, Oscar statuettes have a variety of uses.


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