Don’t you love it when people surprise you with a hidden talent? You think you know somebody, and suddenly they blow you away in the most unexpected way. Even better is when you blow someone away with your own undeniable skill set. Here is a list of stars best known for their acting, but who clearly have pursued other talents as well–albeit some are unique and unusual.

Athletic Skills

Mexican actress Salma Hayek trained as a gymnast, and was invited to compete for the Mexican Olympic team. However, Salma’s father refused to allow his daughter to join the team which freed her up to later star in movies such as Frida.

Geena Davis is so adept with a bow and arrow that she tried out for the 1999 U.S. Olympic women’s archery team–and placed 24th. Although her ranking was impressive, she did not qualify for the team.

Ed O’Neill, best known as Al Bundy in Married with Children, holds a black belt in Jiu Jitsu martial arts. Glee‘s Chris Colfer is proficient with the sai, a Japanese martial arts weapon. And Taylor Lautner is a martial arts champion who received his black belt at the age of eight. Here he is competing with a Bo staff.

Matthew Perry who played Chandler on the sitcom Friends grew up with a passion for tennis; he was a top-ranked tennis player in the junior tennis circuit before his career as an actor. Academy Award-winning Susan Sarandon has won ping-pong championships, and she’s now a part owner of SpiN, a New York ping pong club.

Circus Skills

Who’d ever think that unicycle riding was so popular? Acclaimed British actress Rachel Weisz learned to ride the unicycle in two weeks for a role in the film The Brothers Bloom. And funny girl Leslie Mann is adept on the unicycle as she’s been riding since she was ten years old. Pierce Brosnan is best known for playing secret agent James Bond, but before he set his sights on acting he worked with a circus for three years where he trained to be a fire eater. On the set of Tomb Raider Angelina Jolie is said to have honed her knife-throwing skills. And while Kristen Stewart can juggle,  Patrick Dempsey can be described as a crazy juggling fool.

Musical Abilities

Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks has a passion for playing the accordion. “I always loved that instrument. It’s so romantic and it’s got this full, rich sound,” she once shared. But she’s not alone; Lucy Liu from Charlie’s Angels also plays the accordion. Actress Jennifer Garner has been described as a former high school band geek who plays the saxophone; Academy Award-winning Halle Berry plays the flute; and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, while best known for both his acting and wrestling abilities, is said to have a beautiful singing voice. Bruce Willis is famous for his blockbuster action-hero roles, but he started his entertainment career as a harmonica player in a R&B band, and he continues to masterfully play it in numerous solo albums. And many of you might be aware that funny man Steve Martin is an accomplished Bluegrass banjo player. But did you know he won a Grammy for his album The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo?

Other Talents

Harrison Ford pilots both fixed-wing aircraft and hellicopters, and has even helped to rescue stranded hikers on several occasions. Can you imagine needing to be rescued, only to discover your liberator is Harrison Ford? All the while, Grey’s Anatomy actor Patrick Dempsey deeply enjoys race car driving whenever he finds the time; he says it compels him even more than his passion for acting.

David Arquette enjoys the hobby of knitting as does Amanda Seyfried. And besides his martial arts expertise, Taylor Lautner enjoys the unusual hobby of catching grapes in his mouth from distances up to 30 feet away. Similarly unexpected, Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson can make impressive cricket noises.

You never know which of your abilities will get you noticed, which will help you land a role, or even which will help you fill out a role. Neil Patrick Harris is a big fan of magic and even serves as the President of the Board of Directors of Hollywood’s Magic Castle; he has found a way to include magic tricks in several of his acting roles. And Christina Hendricks played her accordion as she performed in Mad Men. As you know, Taylor Lautner displayed his martial arts abilities in many of his performances too.

What hidden talents do you have? Whatever they are, make sure they are not hidden from casting directors! Add them all to your Casting Frontier actor profile. Our Special Skill Wizard offers the ability to check off your level of ability whether you’re a beginner, or exhibit intermediate or advanced skill sets. You can immediately increase your chances of being called in for auditions based on specific skill requirements that you already have. The more skills you list, the more likely you will get an audition. So give yourself every chance you can to get discovered and achieve your acting goals.

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