26 Famous Celebrities and the First R-Rated Films They Starred In

Plenty of celebrities have R-rated movies now. It’s not as big of a surprise today as it was decades ago. Back in the late ’60s the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which is now the MPA, was formed when different kinds of films began hitting the scene. From then on, films had ratings. With this strange dynamic, many upcoming child stars were beginning to appear in films that were rated inappropriate for them to even watch. The stigma of actors doing rated-R movies slowly mounted, and could be seen as something to negatively affect their chances of doing more wholesome movies later in their career. But many actors found it hard to cross over into the mainstream without doing these more risqué films. Ever wondered which famous celebs appeared in these kinds of movies? Here are 26 famous celebrities and the first R-Rated films they starred in. 

Leonardo DiCaprio: This Boy’s Life

Back in 1993, Leonardo DiCaprio starred in This Boy’s Life, which was his first R-rated role. It is actually his second role, his first being a quick appearance in Poison Ivy. But the role was very short-lived. He played Tobias Wolff, a writer, in the film which is about the childhood of the author who wandered around the country with his mother. It was an interesting role first rated R movie for DiCaprio, as he was playing opposite Hollywood veteran Robert De Niro, who played Wolff’s violent stepfather. 

Kerri Washington: Our Song

Kerri Washington’s first rated R film was also her debut as an actress in a major film. She starred in Our song in 2000. The setting is Brooklyn for the film, and it centers on three best friends who are teenagers with their lives intertwined. Even though the movie was not the most appreciated movies of the 2000s, it did earn Kerry Washington some wonderful feedback from critics. She went on to star in Save the Last Dance. 

Natalie Portman: Leon: The Professional

Natalie Portman starred in Leon in 1994. She played Matilda, who is orphaned after her whole family is murdered. She shows at such a young age that she is worthy of playing such a complicated role, having played this role at the very young age of 11 years old. Portman held her own playing along character’s life hitmen and the likes. 

Elisabeth Moss: Separate Lives

During the filming of her first rated R movie, Separate Lives, Elisabeth Moss was only 12 years old. She starred alongside Jim Belushi and Linda Hamilton in this mystery  film about multiple personalities. She got her start in acting with film Suburban Commando, which also starred Hulk Hogan. 

Jennifer Lopez: My Family

Who thought that Jennifer Lopez would go from a professional dancer to an actress to a pop star, all in the span of just 10 years? She started as a “Fly Girl,” a background dancer for In Living Color. She went on to star in her first R rated movie called My Family in 1995. The film is the story of a three generational Mexican-American family. Lopez is the younger version of the matriarch Maria Sanchez. Sanchez is deported back to Mexico and has to find her way back across the border with her child. 

Amy Adams: Cruel Intentions

One of seven children, Amy Adams had a tumultuous childhood that all seemed to make her an even better actor. Although she did not start her with a rated R movie, she did star in one early in her career, the sequel to Cruel Intentions. It was a direct to video movie, which starred Adams as the replacement for Sarah Michelle Gellar, as the lead character Kathryn Merteuil. 

Selena Gomez: Spring Breakers

When she was ready to shed her goody-goody role as a Disney kid actor, Selena Gomez starred in her first rated R film called Spring Breakers. She apparently was ready to take on a more serious role and establish herself as a serious actor. 

Zac Efron: The Paperboy

The Paperboy was a standout film for Zac Efron, who was also ready to shed his squeaky clean Disney image as well. He was the title character of the rated R film, who helps his brother, played by Mathew McConaughey, investigate a death row case. He also falls in love with an older woman. 

Jennifer Lawrence: The Poker House

Jennifer Lawrence’s first rated R film was Winter’s Bone in many people’s minds, but it was actually The Poker House. She plays in this film about Lori Petty’s autobiographical story, alongside David Alan Grier. 

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