THEY are some of the world’s biggest stars – but they weren’t always so rich, famous . . . and confident.
GARTH PEARCE, a former Fleet Street entertainment editor, has been interviewing Hollywood actors since 1976.
And during the current movie shutdown he has opened his files on some of his Famous First interviews.
They reveal fascinating glimpses of our A-listers when they were still young and naive about stardom
'The sexiest thing I have is pyjamas'
When: April 25, 1995.
Why: The release of her film, Seven.
Gwyneth was just 22 when she made her breakthrough movie with then-boyfriend Brad Pitt.
Her career then took off, with hits including Emma and Sliding Doors before she won a Best Actress Oscar for Shakespeare In Love in 1999.
She is now wed to her second husband, writer and producer Brad Falchuk, following her divorce from Coldplay’s Chris Martin after 13 years of marriage.
"It was love at second sight with Brad.
"We first met in Los Angeles but when we met up to film Seven it was immediate attraction.
"Maybe the time had not been right before?
"I had just come out of a relationship, so it was really a surprise.
"The first date was an Italian restaurant in LA, where we were left alone by photographers – probably because they didn’t know us.
"What’s he got? Everything.
"He is incredibly sensitive and intelligent.
"Completely down to earth and close to his family, which is important to me.
"He’s also a perfect gentleman.
"When we finished Seven, he went to Philadelphia to do a movie and I went to Reno.
"It was hard to be apart and distance can make things difficult at the start.
"There were lots of letters and that is much better.
" You can interpret things in the wrong way over the phone.
"Up to that point I’d never written letters.
"Everyone is saying Brad is the “sexiest man alive” (he had been voted so that year in People magazine in the US) but I voted for Morgan Freeman, who is also in Seven.
"He is such a charmer, just heaven.
"Is Brad my biggest love so far? Hard to answer. But I have never been happier.
"I don’t think I am particularly sexy.
"The sexiest thing in my wardrobe is my pyjamas – made of flannel.
"The part of my body I like most are my wrists, because they are little. Like least? The rest of me.
"I won’t be appearing in any frank love scenes.
"I have turned down lots of movies which have them.
"But the real reason is that the material is exploitive by nature.
"I can’t do it to my grandfather, Buster Paltrow – who I love more than anyone in the world – my father, my uncle and my brother. They would be horrified.
"Family life is very important to me.
"My grandparents have been married for 54 years and my parents 25 years.
"I think anyone goes in to marriage hoping to stay together.
"All my best friends are still married, along with my family. So it is the only thing I know.
"My very first memory is as a baby.
"My father (Bruce Paltrow) would come home from work and play with my building blocks on the floor. I couldn’t even talk at that point.
"I also have a best friend, Mary Wigmore, who I met on the first day of kindergarten, both aged four.
"She is my soul mate and funniest person I know.
"So people I’ve known for a long time and can trust are very important.
"On my next movie (Emma), I have been offered an assistant.
"I feel silly because I do not know who to choose.
"If the person is older than me then it would feel wrong.
"But I would not choose a friend, either.
"I am young and I have to be careful.
"I am not the type of person who can ask easily for someone to do things for me."
'Getting tattoos has become an addiction'
When: April 15, 1996.
Why: Release of her film Hackers, made at Pinewood Studios the previous year.
Angelina was 20 and had wed her first husband, Trainspotting star Jonny Lee Miller, just two weeks before our interview.
They had met while filming Hackers. The pair separated after 18 months and were divorced in 1999.
She went on to also marry – and divorce – actors Billy Bob Thornton and Brad Pitt.
"Jonny and I were having a relationship during the movie, but thought that once the film was over we would say goodbye and go our separate ways.
"I had never had an on-set romance.
"But I had reached the stage in my life where I didn’t care.
"We were in a hotel and I am sure we were booked in rooms opposite on purpose.
"I have heard that happens a lot on film sets if the characters are supposed to be romantically linked.
"The risk was that we had a relationship and things could have gone badly – and that would have been bad for the film.
"In Hackers there was a scene – cut out – where I am supposedly making love to Jonny’s character and all the film crew see my breasts.
"I am very angular, with a D-cup breast, and all the guys started looking away.
"I was there with my top off but the male crew were embarrassed and they didn’t want to stare.
"Jonny and I kept things quiet about what was happening between us because it was still important that the guys in the film would feel they could hang out with me.
"Everyone could see we liked each other, but nothing more.
"Neither of us thought that it would lead to anything after filming was over. And for several months nothing happened.
"Then Jonny phoned when he was coming over to Los Angeles.
"Things moved very quickly after that.
"We both proposed to each other and both had questions to ask.
"I wondered if we should stay engaged for a while, since he was going to be in Britain and I would stay in LA.
"But we went for a quick wedding.
"I went in black leather pants.
"I had pants with a zipper that goes back to front.
"He stuck a veil on me at the last second and put a garter on the pants.
"We are both into tattoos.
"I have a big cross above my bikini line, two Borneo tribal designs over my rear, I have “bravery” on my forearm – which he has on his upper arm – and “death” on my shoulders.
"We started having them on Hackers and it has become this addiction.
"We wake up in the morning and think, ‘What can we do?
"Let’s get tattooed.’ We seem to have them all over the place.
"Jonny is pretty wild.
"It is good when you are with someone you love and can feel safe with.
"There’s a certain area which can’t be crossed because, deep down, you love each other.
"You can abuse each other more than anything, not just physically, but people who love each other can hurt each other too."
'I slept on the floor in one room with eight guys'
When: March 29, 1989.
Where: Budapest, Hungary.
Why: Visiting his fiancee, actress Jill Schoelen, on her film set. Brad went out for dinner with Jill on this night – and was dumped. She told him she’d fallen in love with someone else.
Brad, then 25, was just another struggling actor, who had appeared in four episodes of the TV series Dallas in a minor role.
Now the Oscar winner is one of the biggest stars in the world.
"I scraped every bit of money I had and turned up in Hollywood two years ago, wanting to be in movies.
"I was sleeping on a floor.
"I had a friend in Missouri who said his father had a place in Burbank and I could stay.
"There were eight guys in one room, no furniture, with their own clothes stacked up and their own sheet on the floor.
"It’s been like that for most of my time there so far.
"I did some film jobs as an extra and did anything I could to get by.
"I delivered refrigerators, dressed up as a chicken for a restaurant opening and drove strippers around for a while.
"It was a rude awakening for a boy from Missouri.
"I was employed by an office which hired out the strippers for private parties.
"I would do the driving, play the music, try and make the deal and get the strippers out with their clothes, and safely.
"We went to events like bachelor parties.
"Sometimes they did three shows a night.
"The girls were all actresses – supposedly.
"They were not the kind of girls who you’d take home to Mom.
"They were small-town girls in a big city.
"I was a small-town boy in that same city. I knew how they felt.
"The first proper acting job for me was Dallas about a year ago.
"I’d done a few walk-on parts in movies – but no words. My characters didn’t even have a name.
"So what is my position now? Waiting for work – and broke.
"But my background has shaped me.
"I was brought up to walk quietly, never talk much about myself, don’t be boastful – and not show off.
"My dad wouldn’t take any nonsense.
"I remember I was playing tennis as a kid in a summer tournament and had a wicked badass temper.
"I was throwing the racket down and screaming obscenities.
"I then saw my father coming over and thought, ‘I am in trouble.’
"He said, ‘Do you have a problem?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Good. If you have, just don’t play.’
"It was his way of saying don’t misbehave – and if you are not enjoying something, then find a way of enjoying it.
"So when I was at college (University of Missouri) I was majoring in a subject I did not like (journalism) and knew that I was not cut out for it.
"It was like: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’
"I wanted to be an actor, so gave everything up before graduation to move to California and give it a shot.
"You can talk all you want but I believe it’s action that counts."
'I asked the crew for a 'love pillow''
When: November 11, 1995.
Where: Santa Monica, California.
Why: Her breakthrough movie, Money Train, co-starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes.
Jennifer, 50, is now a superstar singer and actress who has been married and divorced three times.
But 25 years ago the unknown ex-dancer was nervously making her big film debut while dating childhood sweetheart David Cruz, who tragically died of heart disease, aged 51, in March.
"I was nervous about the love scene with Wesley Snipes.
"I have to always watch my weight and my boyfriend had asked: ‘Are you going to show your body to the whole world?’
"So I spoke to some actor friends of mine and one of them said: ‘Ask about the love pillow.’
"He had been in a naked scene when the actress had asked for a pillow to be put between them.
"I made the request to wardrobe people, but they had never heard of it.
"Finally, the wardrobe department made three – one tiny for the bottom half and bigger ones for the rest of me.
"Wesley was cool about it. But the scene took all day – 12 hours.
"I was still very nervous about being naked in front of people and acting like that.
"The first couple of drafts of the script didn’t have it in and it was added.
"I called my manager and asked: ‘Do I have a nudity clause?’ I didn’t.
"It worried my boyfriend David.
"We met at 15 when I was in high school and have been with each other since, apart from a break when I worked in LA.
"We got together at a school dance and he says that he fell in love with me at first sight.
"After meeting, he sent a dozen roses to my house, which in the Bronx in New York is very romantic! He is only a year older than me and a real sweetheart.
"I nearly didn’t get the part in this film. The director (Joseph Ruben) thought I was too young.
"But Woody and Wesley were youthful and you would not want to see them with anyone too much older. My screen test finally clinched it. Wesley looked at it and said, ‘Smoking’."
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