Starting his career in Billy Crystal comedy City Slickers at the age of 11, Gyllenhaal was even then no stranger to the world of showbusiness. The son of TV director Stephen Gyllenhaal (Losing Isaiah) and screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal (Bee Season) Jake, along with his sister Maggie, was never likely to end up anywhere other than Hollywood. The Gyllenhaal clan even collaborated on Gyllenhaal senior’s 1993 film A Dangerous Woman, with mom writing the script and the two siblings appearing in supporting roles.
Taking the lead role in 1999’s whimsical October Sky, Gyllenhaal started to make waves in the industry, but it wasn’t until Donnie Darko was released two years later that his career began to skyrocket.
Raised in St Thomas, Ontario, the highly talented McAdams began her lifelong love of performing at the age of four competing in figure skating competitions. By the age of 13 she was appearing in summer theatre camp productions of Shakespeare plays, her love of acting leading to her studying theatre at York University in Toronto. After graduating, McAdams began her career appearing in the Disney series The Famous Jett Jackson and went on to take various other small parts in short-lived television shows.
It was a part in, of all things, a Rob Schneider comedy that got her noticed by the Hollywood bigwigs. The Hot Chick was basically Freaky Friday for adults
A direct descendent of John Witherspoon, one of the men who signed the United States Declaration of Independence, Reese is also looking to achieve great things. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, this Southern Belle started early, modelling and appearing in TV commercials from the age of seven. In her mid-teens Witherspoon landed her first major role in a little seen film called The Man in the Moon, before opting to put her acting career on hold in 1994 and to study literature at Stanford University.
Reese didn’t stay in college for long, however, and was soon seen appearing alongside Mark Wahlberg in 1996 thriller Fear. Although this film could hardly be called a hit, Reese was soon moving on to more successful projects.
Named after the tragic Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, Ledger was born in Perth and grew up in Western Australia. Leaving for Sydney at the age of 16 to pursue a career in acting, Heath scored his first big role as gay cyclist Snowy Bowles in TV series Sweat. His next major gig was a starring role in the 20th Century Fox funded TV series Roar in which Ledger played Connor, the leader of a group of rebels taking on the Roman Empire in fourth century Ireland. Roar was cancelled after just one season, but soon Ledger managed to make his first foray into feature films.
His starring role in crime caper Two Hands and a smaller part in teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You announced his arrival in 1999.