Road to being a star!

New in the Hollywood industry? Here’s how to make it to the top!

You just got your first background character role, and you’re wondering how you should play your moves to become Hollywood’s most famous actor or actress? Then you stumbled on the right website: in the following sections, you’ll learn to organize your career, who to play with, what kind of film to star in and other tricks to boost your popularity to the top!

Fame definition

When can somebody be considered a Hollywood star? The philosophical answer to this question is out of the scope of this analysis. However, we decide to use a numerical value downloadable from The Numbers. Their ranking is based on the Box-Office revenue (BOR) of the films each actor played in during the past three years.

This metric follows the idea that when an actor has played in a movie that generated a large BOR, the movie has a lot of visibility which increases the fame of the cast.

We group movies by lustrum (1 lustrum = 5 years) to ease comparisons and for better visualisation purposes. We define 'becoming famous' as the first lustrum in which you appear in The Numbers, after which you are considered famous for the rest of your life. We also added a weight decaying over time, to represent that a recent high BOR movie will have a greater impact on your fame than an old movie.

comparison with google trends comparison with google trends


Now that we have a basis on the metric for fame, we are able to give you tips and tricks to reach the top of the Hollywood food chain. But how? We will first have a look at the attributes of movies that have a revelation, as well as attributes of actors·resses when they are revealed. Then we will look at which actors·resses boosted others to give you advice about the cast. We will also show how important it is to stay strongly connected to other actors. Then we will give you hints on what to do once you become famous, namely how to stay famous. Finally, we will predict who you should play with based on your attributes, to maximise your chances to become famous.

What kind of films will make you famous?

The first thing to say is that you should start with films that have the biggest audience. Comedy or action films are, as shown on the graph below, the 2 most appropriate genres, regardless of whether you’re male or female.

Film genre revelation

Now, let’s perform a logistic regression to have a better idea of what co-acting attributes contribute most to revealing actors and actresses. The graph on the left shows the parameters that help actors become famous, and on the right we can see how these parameters evolved in the second film after an actor·ress’ revelation. This way you know what to focus on to become famous, but also what you should pay attention to when preparing your next movie.

Becoming famous

ladder graph revelation features

There’s a lot to say and see on the previous graph. The second feature says a lot about our society; As there are more famous male actors in the revelation movies, you have more chances to be revealed by actors than by actresses. Even worse, the median score of the male casting of the RM has a positive weight while the median score of the female casting of the RM has a negative weight!

The casting’s average score in RM has a relatively large positive weight, so you would be tempted to play with a lot of famous actors. But be careful, the ratio of famous actors in the RM has a negative weight so a trade-off has to be made regarding the number of famous actors to star with in order to be revealed. The average score of all actors that played within the past three years have a strong negative weight, which strengthens the point of being careful when choosing the famous actors you’d like to play with.

Now that I am famous, how shall I choose my next performance?

ladder graph revelation features

The number of famous male actors you should play with is even more important now to stay at the top.

We can note that the total number of famous actors the revealed actor has played with within the past three years has dropped dramatically. Famous actors may now out-shadow you, so be careful about that now that you’re at the top.

The weight of the number of famous male actors is now even higher than before while the one of female actors is constant. However, the importance of the median score of the male casting has decreased, likewise for the female casting, but the latter is still negative!

Last but not least, the weight of the number of famous actors in the RM is one of the features that has the largest increase! This shows that networking has a major impact in this industry. Remember how you had to be careful about the number of famous actors you played with when you were unknown? Now you should look for large casts with a lot of famous actors!

Who are the career boosters?

Let’s start with definitions:

  • A career booster is an actor·ress that is already famous during a given lustrum and has co-acted with an actor·ress that has been revealed during that lustrum.
  • The degree centrality is defined as the number of links incident upon a node. In this analysis the nodes are actors and the links (also called edges) are the films that link two actors.

By selecting the lustrum and the PCA genre in the dropdown buttons below, actors with the highest degree centrality for a given lustrum and PCA genre are displayed. By hovering over the bars, different attributes of this career booster are displayed.

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How does fame evolve over time ?

Let’s guide you through the following animation. The subset of films having the PCA genre Thriller, Crime Thriller, Action, Mystery is taken to lighten the graph and help visualize what’s happening. The nodes represent the actors and actresses and the films connecting those actors are the edges. Nodes change color according to the popularity of the actor for a given year.

The nodes are at first invisible. When the actor·ress plays his·her first film, the nodes becomes grey. A node then
becomes orange upon becoming famous. The year after the node becomes red since he·she is famous. It is interesting to see that a lot of revelations start directly in orange meaning that they are revealed in their first movie! A second observation is that the heart of the graph is very strongly connected, which emphasizes the importance of networking in this industry.

connectivity evolution gif

Now it’s your turn

Year is 2013. You don’t know it yet, but you belong to the set of people that are made to be a star. We provide you this tool in order for you to estimate how good a film could be for your career given its casting.



The take home advices to become famous is that it’s important to stay connected to famous people. However, you may stay in the shadow of the too famous ones, hence don’t go for a movie where the star of the show is way out of your league. Finally, aim for a comedy or an action film, and don’t loose hope if you don’t make it after your first film, as the second one might be the good one.