"The Rhythm Section" hits theaters on Jan. 31, 2020, and with its release, a new action star is born! The film is a thriller in which Blake Lively's character assumes the identity of an assassin as she attempts to uncover the truth behind a plane crash that killed her family. In honor of the star's big transition, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at more celebs who rebranded themselves as action stars. Keep reading for more…
Chris Pratt had been acting for more than a decade when he underwent a major body transformation and launched his career as an action star with 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy" and 2015's "Jurassic World." In 2018, he reprised those roles in "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kindgom." Before that, his biggest hits were the TV drama "Everwood" and "Parks and Recreation." He also had smaller roles in comedies like "Strangers with Candy," "Bride Wars," "Take Me Home Tonight" and "The Five-Year Engagement."
Once upon a time, Charlize Theron was known exclusively for her work in dramas. She even won an Oscar in 2004 for her work in "Monster." The former model revamped her serious image in the late 2000s, starring in "Æon Flux," "Hancock," "Mad Max: Fury Road" and "The Fate of the Furious." She most recently starred as a take-no-prisoners double agent in 2018's "Atomic Blonde."
RELATED: Our favorite female sci-fi stars
Jennifer Garner stars as a fierce wife and mother who takes justice into her own hands after her family is murdered in "Peppermint," which hits theaters on Sept. 7, 2018. Though previews of the film indicate it could be her most action-packed role yet, the brunette beauty is no stranger to kicking butt on screen. She previously starred as a double agent on "Alias" and as a Marvel assassin in "Elektra," but most recently devoted herself to serious dramatic roles in projects like "Miracles From Heaven."
Channing Tatum made his feature-film debut in 2005. The following year, he appeared in his first two big movies — the comedy "She's the Man" and the dance film "Step Up" — but his turn as an action star was still on the horizon. Eventually, Channing would win lead roles in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "Haywire," "White House Down" and "Jupiter Ascending." And to think he used to be a stripper!
Brie Larson made her acting debut in 1998 and won an Oscar for her performance in 2015's indie drama "Room" before branching into the action genre with two 2017 films: the shoot-em-up crime-comedy "Free Fire" and the monster movie "Kong: Skull Island." She solidified her action-star cred when she was cast as the titular heroine in "Captain Marvel," which is due in 2019.
These days, the world knows Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, but that hasn't always been the case. She earned raves for her work in dramas "Lost in Translation," "Girl with a Pearl Earring" and "Match Point" before she appeared in her first action flick: 2005's "The Island." Scarlett joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2010's "Iron Man 2" and has been a bona fide action star ever since with roles in "Lucy" and "Ghost in the Shell" rounding out her résumé.
It's hard to believe, but Nicolas Cage was a once a very serious and acclaimed actor. He starred in a slew of comedies before receiving an Academy Award for his performance in 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas" and earning his second Oscar nomination for 2002's "Adaptation." Since then, Nic has taken on quite a few action roles in films such as "Ghost Rider," "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" and "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans." In 2018, he'll star as man seeking vengeance in the action-thriller "Mandy."
Helen Mirren was well into her 60s when she won her action-star status with 2010's "RED." The Oscar winner returned to the role of former assassin Victoria Winslow in a 2013 sequel and then had a role in 2017's "The Fate of the Furious." And nothing says "action-packed" like the "Fast & Furious" franchise!
Jennifer Lawrence shot to superstardom playing fierce Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games" film series but stepped away from action roles in the early 2010s. She instead chose to focus on critically acclaimed dramas such as "American Hustle," "Joy" and "Silver Linings Playbook," which earned her an Academy Award for best actress. After a few years away from the action, J.Law is back and kicking more butt than ever! She recently reprised her role as supervillian Mystique in 2016's "X-Men: Apocalypse" and played a lethal Russian spy in 2018's "Red Sparrow."
Never forget: Jake Gyllenhaal's first big movies were "October Sky" (a biopic), "Donnie Darko" (a cult sci-fi drama) and "Bubble Boy" (an outrageous comedy). It wasn't until after he scored an Oscar nomination for his work in 2006's "Brokeback Mountain" that he started making action movies like "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," "Source Code" and "Southpaw." Talk about an actor with range!
Milla Jovovich made her modeling debut at age 9. She transitioned to acting during the '80s and then sealed her fate as an action star in 1997 when "The Fifth Element" debuted. The former model went on to headline the "Resident Evil" franchise as the zombie-killing heroine Alice for 15 years.
Robert Downey Jr. launched his career as an actor in teen comedies and dramas. It wasn't until 2008 — following several setbacks due to his struggles with drugs and alcohol — that he scored a major comeback and became a bona fide action star with the debut of "Iron Man." The following year, he portrayed the titular private detective in "Sherlock Holmes," an action-packed reimagining of the iconic literary character's adventures. The rest is history!
After more than a decade of starring in dramas, Kate Beckinsale officially became an action star when the first installment in the "Underworld" franchise debuted in 2003. Fourteen years and five movies later, it's hard to remember a time when she was anything else!
Keanu Reeves had been acting for nearly a decade when he was cast as Johnny Utah — an FBI agent who goes undercover as an extreme-sports enthusiast to catch a group of bank-robbing surfers — in 1991's "Point Break." Starring roles in the "Speed" and "The Matrix" franchises followed until the "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" actor scored the lead part in the ultimate action flicks: 2014's "John Wick" and 2017's "John Wick: Chapter 2."
Daniel Craig hasn't always been James Bond — that distinction actually came much later in his career. For years, the English actor starred in dramas like "Elizabeth," "Road to Perdition" and "Munich." And before that, he was a theater actor: He starred in a production of "Angels in America" at London's National Theatre back in 1993 — more than a decade before he debuted his version of Bond in 2006's "Casino Royale."
Kevin Costner first came to fame starring in dramas in the late '80s and '90s. He even won two Academy Awards — for best director and best picture — for his critically acclaimed film "Dances With Wolves." Today, however, he's rebranding as an action star. In 2014, Kevin appeared in the spy movie "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" and then played a CIA agent in "3 Days to Kill" and a dangerous con in 2016's "Criminal." Next up, he'll star in the 2019 crime thriller "The Highwaymen."
Will Smith has worn many hats as an actor over the years. The star of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" smoothly transitioned from comedy to action-comedy ("Bad Boys" and "Men in Black") before transitioning into full-blown action with "I, Robot," "I Am Legend," "Hancock" and "Suicide Squad."
Felicity Jones made her acting debut on British TV back in the '90s. She established herself as an indie darling, appearing in "Chéri," "Like Crazy" and "Hysteria" before earning an Oscar nomination for her work in the 2014 drama "The Theory of Everything." She then branched into the action genre with a trio of films that debuted within months of each other in late 2016 and early 2017: "Inferno," "Rogue One" and "Collide."
Colin Firth built his résumé with lovable rom-coms like "Bridget Jones's Diary" and serious acting roles like his Academy Award-winning performance in "The King's Speech." In recent years, however, the British actor revamped his image and successfully tried his hand as an action hero. Colin starred as secret agent Harry Hart in "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and reprised the role in the 2017 sequel "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," solidifying his kick-butt status.
Adrianne Palicki was nearly a decade into her career in 2010 when she branched into action-packed roles toward the end of her run as Tyra Collette on "Friday Night Lights." She appeared in "Legion," "Red Dawn" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" and even portrayed the titular superheroine in a 2011 "Wonder Woman" pilot that never aired. Adrianne also went toe-to-toe with Keanu Reeves in 2014's "John Wick" and portrayed Bobbi "Mockingbird" Morse on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." from 2014 to 2016.
While it might feel like Liam Neeson has always starred in action flicks, it wasn't until recently that he truly earned the title of action star with the "Taken" franchise and movies like "Non-Stop," "The Grey" and "The A-Team." It's pretty crazy to think he's the same guy who scored an Oscar nomination back in 1994 for his role in "Schindler's List."
Try, if you can, to remember the '90s — a time before the "X-Men" franchise kicked off in 2000. Back then, Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine, was just a young theater star whose biggest acting credits were on the drama series "Correlli" in his native Australia and in the London stage revival of the musical "Oklahoma!" Boy have things changed since then for the actor, who frequently returns to his musical theater roots ("Les Misérables," anyone?) in spite of his current status as an action star.
Cara Delevingne launched her career as a model before making her feature-film debut in 2012's "Anna Karenina." She went on to appear in a handful of small dramas and then branched into the action genre with 2016's "Suicide Squad." Her role as Laureline in 2017's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" sealed her fate as one of Hollywood's newest action stars.
Charlie Hunnam cut his teeth on soapy dramas like "Queer as Folk" and "Young Americans," starred on the short-lived comedy series "Undeclared" and had the title role in the 2002 adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby" before he ventured into the action genre on "Sons of Anarchy," which debuted in 2008. Since then, he's appeared primarily in action flicks like "Pacific Rim" and "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword."