10 Great Debut Film Performances by Non-Actors

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A look at the unknown actors who were plucked from obscurity and achieved cinematic greatness

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It's release day for Haywire, Steven Soderbergh's uncommonly smart, disarmingly taut, ridiculously entertaining action/spy picture, an unexpectedly frisky exception to the rule that January releases are generally terrible.

The reason for its creation—and a big part of its success—is the leading performance of MMA fighter Gina Carano (more on her later). Though she had a minor role in one previous film, Gina's terrific starring turn got us thinking about other non-actors who made a big splash in their debuts.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Image credit: Alluvial Film Co.

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Jason Bailey is the film editor at Flavorwire, and has also written for Slate, Salon, and the Village Voice.

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