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Top 10 Action Stars Who Started Out In Rom Coms

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Alex Crilly-Mckean Actors who started their careers in romantic comedies and chick-flics before making a name for themselves as badass action heroes! WatchMojo presents the top 10 action heroes who started out in rom-coms. But who will take the top spot on our list? Bruce Willis, Gerard Butler, or Chris Evans? Big thanks to MattW128 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Action+Stars+Who+Started+In+Rom+Coms
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Before they were kicking ass, they were spreading the love. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten Action Stars Who Started Out in Rom-Coms.

For this list, we’ll be looking at male actors who - while nowadays are known for their roles in more action-oriented movies – essentially started their careers finding true love in romantic comedies. Their very first films don’t have to be romantic comedies per se, but the genre should show up relatively early or at least prominently in the pursuit of their craft before they became more closely associated with action.

#10: Channing Tatum


Breaking hearts and making us laugh seems to be this former stripper’s forte. While most know him for his hysterical role in the Jump Street series, or even for his more romantic side in films like Dear John and The Vow, it wasn't always this way. Before all that he appeared alongside Amanda Bynes in the Shakespeare-inspired She’s the Man. That may not have been the biggest or most macho of starting points, but with a Tarantino film under his belt and a slate full of action flicks, things seem to be going pretty well for him.

#9: Robert Downey Jr.


Nowadays, we all know and love RDJ for breathing new life into the formerly second-tier character of Tony Stark, a marriage of role and actor that kick-started the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But let’s not forget that Mr. Downey has an extensive filmography that happens to feature plenty of rom-coms. Back in his younger years, films like the The Pick-Up Artist saw him as a hapless, smitten conman while Chances Are saw Downey getting complicated with both Cybill Shepherd and Mary Stuart Masterson. Meanwhile, ‘90s outings like Only You had him light up the screen with future Aunt May, Marisa Tomei.

#8: Chris Pine


Action roles have sort of become this guy’s bread and butter. Known today for films like Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Hell or High Water, and Unstoppable, Chris Pine has even found a place for himself in the DC Cinematic Universe. Yet before all these high-profile roles, Pine was actually most notable for his performances in less action-packed vehicles like The Princess Diaries 2 and Just My Luck. All that changed when he picked up his first phaser as the young, but ever so suave Captain Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek film series, and he's been travelling at high warp ever since.

#7: Chris Pratt


He served as the wisecracking member of the Magnificent Seven, a freaking velociraptor trainer in Jurassic World and of course the one and only Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy. As you can tell, Chris Pratt knows how to mix badass with solid humor, and has done so in a lot of his most successful performances. But before he was lined up for a place in the Infinity War, he was getting caught between Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway in Bride Wars. Pratt's rom-com past also includes the likes of What's Your Number, and 10 Years.

#6: Matthew McConaughey


Alright, alright, alight. While these days, this Academy Award Winner is well known for branching out into more dramatic and violence-oriented flicks such as Killer Joe and Mud, there was a time when Matthew McConaughey was in a class of his own when it came to romantic comedies. Back in the 2000s, he was most famously in what some jokingly dub the “Leaning trilogy”, consisting of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, Failure to Launch and Ghost of Girlfriends Past. There’s nothing wrong them per se, but then these never got him nominated for an Oscar either.

#5: Ryan Gosling


He may have set hearts ablaze in The Notebook, but Hollywood’s golden boy also lent himself to some rather highly successful rom-coms such as Lars and the Real Girl along with Crazy, Stupid, Love. He could easily have continued down this path, but as we all know Ryan Gosling couldn’t stay away from the grittier roles. Drive, Gangster Squad, Only God Forgives all show that this Canadian actor is more than happy to take a punch to that oddly perfect face of his. And sometimes he even does it while making us laugh our asses off, as he did in crime thriller The Nice Guys!

#4: Ryan Reynolds


Is he handsome? Undeniably. Is he funny? One of the funniest! So is it really a shock that Ryan Reynolds has had a whole plethora of rom-coms throughout his career? Granted movies like Just Friends, or The Proposal weren’t exactly the finest films ever produced, and earlier attempts at action films like Blade Trinity and X-Men Origins: Wolverine weren't entirely well received, but Reynolds always showed plenty of promise, and charm. Moving on from Green Lantern, Ryan would eventually find his groove with Safe House. Then when Deadpool came along, it pretty much solidified Ryan Reynolds’ place as a smart-ass action star.

#3: Gerard Butler


Who would have thought that at almost the same time that we got ‘this is Sparta,’ we would also get the heartfelt romance that is P.S I Love You? Well, back in the day it seemed that for every action-fest this Scottish actor threw himself into there seemed to be a rom-com just around the corner. For every Gamer we got an Ugly Truth, for every Law Abiding Citizen we had The Bounty Hunter, and for every Machine Gun Preacher we had Playing for Keeps. Nowadays, he seems to be mostly focusing on the action side of things, which means “P.S. I Love You Too” isn't very likely.

#2: Chris Evans


Forever cemented as the one of the greatest interpretations of Captain America we may ever have, Chris Evans’ transformation into the First Avenger showed that he was no longer the skinny kid from Not Another Teen Movie and was instead a born action star. Granted he’s returned to the rom-com stage in his later career with the likes of What’s Your Number? and Playing It Cool, but with such incredible hits like Snowpiercer and The Winter Solider under his belt, it's hard not to want to keep seeing him kick Nazi ass and keep the MCU safe from spacely threats.


Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honourable mentions.



Andrew Lincoln


Mark Ruffalo



Bradley Cooper





#1: Bruce Willis


Yes, there was a time where Bruce Willis wasn’t shooting his way out of a life or death situation. Before we had John McClane and the Die Hard series there was Blind Date; a flick that had Willis’ character nearly driven insane by the likes of an overly infatuated Kim Basinger. The experience was a negative one to say the least, but luckily for Willis his career picked up and changed direction the next year with Die Hard. Firmly placed on the action map, Willis picked up roles in Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Jackal and Armageddon. Safe to say, it's doubtful we'll see him in back in rom-coms anytime soon.
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