Yes, they’re a fun watch for kids. They’re nostalgia-inducing for adults. But the fact of the matter is, Disney Channel Original movies are more than just a source of fun or a roster-filler for that much-awaited Sunday marathon. DCOMs have produced some of the current generation’s most famous stars.
From Oscar winners to today’s top pop icons, here are some of today’s most famous celebrities who got their start in Disney Channel Original movies.
Stars Whose Career Was Kicked Off by Starring in Disney Channel Original Movies
Before she became the Captain Marvel that she’s very much known for now, Brie Larson starred alongside Beverly Mitchell in the DCOM Right on Track. The movie was based on drag racer sisters Courtney and Erica Enders, the former being played by Larson.
Larson then proceeded to play supporting and leading roles in several films, until she landed the role of Joy “Ma” Newsome in the 2015 drama film Room, which garnered her an Oscar for best actress in a leading role.
Before she was Ugly Betty, America Ferrera was Yolanda “Yoli” Vargas in Gotta Kick It Up! Yoli is a Latina cheerleader who wanted to make it to a major competition. She then went on to star in several other films until she got the role of Berry Suarez on Ugly Betty and as Amy on the NBC sitcom Superstore.
Ferrera is a recipient of a Golden Globe for Best Actress-Television Series Musical or Comedy, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, becoming the first Latina to do so, for her performance on Ugly Betty.
He is now very well known as Dandy Mott on the FX series American Horror Story: Freak Show, but before he got that role, Finn Wittrock was Cody in Halloweentown High, the third installment of the Disney Channel Original movie series Halloweentown. Cody is a new student at a high school where Kimberly Brown’s character, Marnie, goes, and later becomes her love interest.
Wittrock didn’t appear in any movie after Halloweentown High, not until six years later. He then went on to star in acclaimed TV series, particularly the American Horror Story: Freak Show, for which he gained a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie. He also appeared on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story as Jeff Trail, for which he received a second Emmy nomination.
Campbell is now an acclaimed actress, known for playing Davina Claire on The Originals and for playing Kayla Powell on Tell Me a Story. Little do people know, Campbell got her start in one the famous Disney Channel Original movies, StarStruck. In it, she played a town girl who develops a crush and later falls in love with a Hollywood pop star.
No list would ever be complete without the pop singer Vanessa Hudgens. Before she became the superstar that she is now, Hudgens got her start in the Disney Channel Original movie High School Musical. The movie launched her career both as an actress and as a singer. The first installment was followed by two more, which were also a success. From a small star, Vanessa Hudgens is now one of the music industry’s pillars.
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