If you’re under 17, you can’t see R-rated movies without an adult, but there are no rules about acting in them.
Some of the industry’s most famous faces starred in some very adult movies at a young age while others were a little more patient.
Disney sweetheart Gomez and ABC Family star Benson were surprising additions to director Harmony Korine's lurid tale of guns and sex in sun-soaked Florida, Spring Breakers. For both young actresses their decision to take part was based on doing something different and more adult.
Efron appeared in 2012's The Paperboy as the film's title character who falls for an older woman while helping his brother, a journalist, investigate a case involving a death row inmate. The Disney star did 10 movies before committing to his R-rated feature.
Hathaway wasted little time shedding her Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted image by appearing in the critically-panned Havoc in 2005. Her character has several nude scenes and talks tough while hanging out with gang members and drug dealers in inner-city LA.
In Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke's directorial debut, she cast three future stars in Hudgens, Wood, and Reed (who wrote the film). Hudgens' role is small, while Wood and Reed discover drugs, sex, and larceny as two 13-year-olds trying to grow up too fast.
Another Spring Breakers star, Franco, made his R-rated debut in 2002's Deuces Wild, as a Brooklyn greaser named Tino Verona. The Palo Alto native pulled off the New Yorker attitude but the movie remains one of his more obscure projects.
Gosling turned heads in a major way with his first R-rated role, as a conflicted Jewish Nazi in 2001'sThe Believer. Shedding his Tiger Beat image, Gosling shaved his head, bulked up, and issued several violent beatings while delivering an acclaimed multi-layered performance.
In 2001, Wet Hot American Summer starred some seriously funny young actors. Two of them were going R for the first time, Poehler and Cooper. They share several scenes as the movie's summer camp talent show producers, but Cooper's character is most remembered for a very weird makeout session with Michael Ian Black.
In 1999, Alba was an unknown TV actress breaking into feature film work with a scantily-clad horror role like so many other young actresses do early in their careers. But she stood out like a lone tulip in a bed of dirt in the film and was on her way to stardom.
The Wilson brothers starred in Wes Anderson's first feature, Bottle Rocket, which Owen also co-wrote, in 1996. The two play best friends who devise a scheme to rob a factory, but the real story is the film's smart casual humour and Owen's great performance as Dignan.
In 1995, a 10-year-old Scarlett Johansson appeared in the frightening serial killer thriller Just Cause alongside Sean Connery and a menacing Ed Harris, who kidnaps the youngster near the end. Scarlett must have liked the intensity because her next two roles were rated R as well (Manny & Lo, If Lucy Fell).
Dazed jump-started the careers of three Hollywood mainstays in McConaughey, Affleck, and Zelwegger, who barely appears in the film but you can see her at left walking by Don, Wooderson, Pink, and Mitch (she also holds the funnel for Parker Posey at the beer blast).
Megastars Roberts and Damon made their first appearances in an R feature in the coming-of-age film, Mystic Pizza. Upon its release, Roger Ebert said the film 'may someday become known for the movie stars it showcased back before they became stars.' Smart dude.
Like Dazed and Confused in the '90s, Fast Times was the seminal high school flick of the '80s. Eventual Best Actor Oscar winners Penn and Cage tackled their first R film along with Stoltz. The latter two have tiny roles, but Penn's Jeff Spicoli is a Hollywood stoner icon.
Meryl Streep had an impressive R-rated debut on the silver screen, starring as Linda in Michael Cimino's Best Picture-winning The Deer Hunter in 1978. She was 28 at the time having moved into film late after a successful stage career.
Foster, who was 12 during filming, plays a prostitute in Martin Scorsese's American classic Taxi Driver. To work around the more explicit scenes in the film, her sister Connie (who was 19), was used as a body double.
Death Wish is remembered as Charles Bronson's signature film, but it also starred two up-and-comers as New York City thugs. Washington has a small scene, but Goldblum has an especially crucial role as one of the young hoods who terrorize Bronson's family.
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