Movies and sport have more in common than you may initially think. They both tell a story — one is scripted, one is not. For example, this year's Euro 2020 tournament will be filled with surprise outcomes, nail-biting tension, and games that go down to the wire. That's why millions of people from right around the world will head online to bet on Euro 2020 matches and follow along on live streams.
This may be their final appearance in a major international tournament for some older players like Spain’s Sergio Ramos, Portugal’s
, and Croatia’s Luka Modric. If it is, they’ll likely have one eye on their next move after they hang up their boots.
When they stop competing, some athletes keep busy by moving into a commentary or punditry role for television. Others work as a coach or manager. Some set up a business while simply enjoying the quiet life.
Occasionally, athletes go into the acting business instead. This shouldn’t necessarily be too much of a surprise since the two professions are actually very similar. They require you to live in the public eye, perform on camera, and work long and grueling schedules. Actors and athletes also typically have to work hard to stay in shape.
You may not realize it, but many actors actually began their careers as athletes. Here are some of them.
English actor Jason Statham began acting in 1993, typically playing tough nut antiheroes in action films. He’s famous for starring in movies like The Transporter, The Italian Job, Death Race, Revolver, and Cellular.
More recently, he’s worked on films like Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, The Meg, Mechanic: Resurrection,
3, and Spy.
However, Statham actually began his career as a diver, competing for England in the 10-meter, 3-meter, and 1-meter categories. He took part in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand, though he didn’t pick up any medals.
His best finish was in the 1-meter springboard competition, where he finished 8th. He placed outside of the top ten for the other categories that he entered.
After this, he took up work as a model, working with brands like Tommy Hilfiger and
. During this time, he was introduced to
, who gave him his big break in the 1998 film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, though he was reportedly paid just £5,000 for the part of “Bacon.”
Perhaps best known for the yogurt-loving sergeant in the hit sit-com Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Terry Crews is another actor that started his working life as an athlete.
Crews spent five years as an American football player, entering the 1991 NFL Draft where he was overall 281st pick in the 11th round. He played for the Los Angeles Rams for two years before moving to the Green Bay Packers. However, his time in Wisconsin was cut short, getting dropped by the Green And Gold right before the 1993 season began.
Two days later, Crews moved to the San Diego Chargers, where he spent another two years. In 1995, he moved to the World League of American Football team Rhein Fire and then the Washington Redskins. In 1996 he signed for the Philadelphia Eagles but played no games, ending his time in professional football quite anticlimactically.
After retiring from football, Crews almost immediately packed his bags and headed West to Los Angeles, where he began trying to make it as an actor. This wasn’t his first venture into show business though; Crews co-wrote an independent film that he later described as “horrible.”
He got his first professional acting gig as T-Money in the TV show Battle Dome. Two years later, he secured some smaller roles in advertisements and music videos before landing his big break in Friday After Next, a comedy film that starred . This then led to roles in White Chicks, The Longest Yard, Everybody Hates Chris, and Are We There Yet.
After becoming a household name, Crews got his own reality series that follows him and his wife in their home.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American actor who has had more career changes than most people. He is perhaps best known for his role as The Terminator. When he first appeared as the Skynet machine, Schwarzenegger was 37 and had already had several different jobs.
He began working as a builder. His initial idea was to charge for a “topless bricklaying service” because he had already spent many years lifting weights as an amateur and had built up a buff physique. However, he found there was no demand for such an offering. Instead, he quickly pivoted and saw huge success by operating his own “specialty European bricklaying” company.
Shortly afterward, Schwarzenegger entered the world of professional bodybuilding, earning the titles of Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia on several occasions. He took gold in the 1966 International Powerlifting Championships and the 1968 German Powerlifting Championships.
A few years later, in 1970, Schwarzenegger began his acting career, starring Hercules in
. He picked up several other roles in the following years but was repeatedly turned down for big parts because of his thick accent and bold physique.
The 1977 film Pumping Iron helped boost his career, leading to several guest appearances in The San Pedro Beach Bums and The Streets of San Francisco. His big break fame in 1982 with Conan the Barbarian helped open the door to his role in The Terminator.
He’s since appeared in countless other films, including True Lies, Eraser, End of Days, The 6th Day, The Running Man, The Expendables 2,
and Collateral Damage.
However, acting wasn’t enough for Schwarzenegger. He took a break from acting in 2003 to run for election as Governor of California. He won the election with 48.6% of the vote and was comically dubbed “The Governator” by the press. Some people hinted at him making a run for President of the United States, but his dual Austrian-US citizenship prevented him from standing.
After leaving office, Schwarzenegger returned to acting and doesn’t appear to have any plans to retire any time soon.