‘Band of Brothers’ Actors Who Later Became Big-Time Stars

Photo Credit: Crane / HBO / Dreamworks Pictures / MovieStillsDB
Photo Credit: Crane / HBO / Dreamworks Pictures / MovieStillsDB

Band of Brothers was a television landmark that featured a star-studded cast of actors. Made in the days before movie quality, writer-led drama really took hold, it was a must-watch event. In 2001 – three years after their brutal and emotionally-charged epic, Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks reunited, producing a saga about the young men who put everything on the line to fight the Germans.

Based on the book by historian Stephen E. Ambrose, it was part-produced by Spielberg’s Dreamworks Pictures and aired on HBO. As befitting a multi-million dollar production and A-list pedigree, the cast was dazzling. Made up of relatively unknown stars-to-be, such as Damian Lewis (Homeland) and household names like David Schwimmer (Friends), these performers conveyed what the brave individuals of Easy Company went through in service of their country and the world.

In fact, there are so many names involved, it’s easy to overlook the sheer quality of the acting talent on display. Here are 10 actors you probably didn’t know were in Band of Brothers, and who later went on to have incredibly successful Hollywood careers.

Andrew Scott

Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in 'Sherlock'
Sherlock, 2010-17. (Photo Credit: Yaut / BBC / MovieStillsDB)

Featuring in the episode “Day of Days” as paratrooper Pvt. John “Cowboy” Hall was future screen villain, Andrew Scott. However, in Band of Brothers, the actor was fighting for the good guys. Almost a decade later, he terrified audiences as Jim Moriarty in BBC’s Sherlock (2010-17), something 007’s producers must have seen and taken notice of, as he was cast as the oily Max Denbigh (aka “C”) in 2015’s Spectre.

In the second season of Fleabag (2016-19), Scott warmed – and, indeed, broke – hearts as the series’ “hot priest,” opposite new James Bond writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. He also returned to the battlefield in Sam Mendes’ 2019 World War I drama, 1917.

Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon sitting at his desk on the set of 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon'
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, 2014-present. (Photo Credit: Todd Owyoung / NBC / Getty Images)

Jimmy Fallon might be better known today as an alumnus of Saturday Night Live (1975-present) and the present host of The Tonight Show (2014-present), but back in the day, he was a small-time actor looking to make his mark on Hollywood. He was among the many actors to have a minor role in Band of Brothers, bringing Second Lt. George C. Rice to the small screen in the episode, “Crossroads.”

As his career has progressed, Fallon has become a mainstay of Late Night. Prior to taking over hosting duties on The Tonight Show, he was the host of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009-14). While he’s largely portrayed himself in recent movie and television productions, he did showcase his acting chops in the likes of Fever Pitch (2005), Taxi (2004) and Doogal (2006).

James McAvoy

James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein in 'Victor Frankenstein'
Victor Frankenstein, 2015. (Photo Credit: Hope74 / Twentieth Century Fox / MovieStillsDB)

Actor James McAvoy played James W. Miller in the Band of Brothers episode, “Replacements.” The versatile actor went on to be a big star Hollywood, and is best known for portraying Prof. Xavier in the X-Men franchise. He’d portrayed the mutant leader for almost a decade, relinquishing the role in 2019’s Dark Phoenix.

McAvoy has a string of other credits to his name, such as It: Chapter Two (2019) and Victor Frankenstein (2015). He was also Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials (2019-22). Not only was the series produced by Band of Brothers’ distributor HBO, Andrew Scott also featured. Like McAvoy, he plays an explorer looking into parallel worlds.

Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg as Gary King in 'The World's End'
The World’s End, 2013. (Photo Credit: slidemen / Focus Features / MovieStillsDB)

While not necessarily the smallest actor when he appeared as First Sgt. William S. Evans in two episodes of Band of Brothers, Simon Pegg deserves a mention on this list, given just how much his star as grown in the decades since the miniseries’ release. Best known for his comedic films Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007), he’s since gone on to star alongside action movie icon Tom Cruise in the Mission: Impossible franchise.

When he’s not acting, Pegg can be found penning new films and series, as well as producing them. The man has made a name for himself as not just an actor who’s able to transcend genres, but also as someone who’s able to bring new and fresh content to the big and small screens.

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender as Magneto in 'X-Men: First Class'
X-Men: First Class, 2011. (Photo Credit: Zayne / Twentieth Century Fox / Marvel Entertainment / MovieStillsDB)

Burton “Pat” Christenson was the television debut role for a youthful Michael Fassbender. Band of Brothers had 10 episodes, and he appeared in seven of them. He went on to develop a successful career as a bold actor, taking on other real-life roles, including Bobby Sands in Hunger (2008) and Steve Jobs in the 2015 movie of the same name.

Fassbender joined James McAvoy as Prof Xavier’s friend/nemesis Magneto in the X-Men franchise. The actor also entered the Alien franchise as android David in the prequels Prometheus (2012) and Covenant (2017).

Colin Hanks

Colin Hanks as Egil Krogh in 'Elvis & Nixon'
Elvis & Nixon, 2016. (Photo Credit: japon123 / MovieStillsDB)

The son of one of the men involved in bringing Band of Brothers to life, Colin Hanks appeared as First Lt. Henry S. Jones in the HBO miniseries. It was his second foray into television, having played a main role in the first two seasons of the series, Roswell (1999-2002), and it served as the role that helped elevate his star power.

While some could associate nepotism with Hanks’ success in Hollywood, the actor has made a name for himself in his own right over the years. Along with being cast in some big-name movies – Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), King Kong (2005) and W. (2008) – he’s also made a name for himself on television, securing main roles in the likes of Fargo (2014-present), Life in Pieces (2015-19) and The Offer (2022).

Stephen Graham

Stephen Graham as Baby Face Nelson in 'Public Enemies'
Public Enemies, 2009. (Photo Credit: Hope72 / Universal Studios / MovieStillsDB)

Before facing off against Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in The Irishman (2019), actor Stephen Graham appeared as Sgt. Myron “Mike” Ranney in the first two episodes of Band of Brothers.

Graham is a powerful presence who’s given his talent to larger-than-life gangster roles, such as Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire (2010-14) and Baby Face Nelson in the 2009 Johnny Depp movie, Public Enemies. He also accompanied Depp on some exciting voyages for two Pirates of the Caribbean films: 2011’s On Stranger Tides and 2017’s Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock in 'Venom'
Venom, 2018. (Photo Credit: auflosen / Marvel Entertainment / Columbia Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

One of the United Kingdom’s most intense and beloved actors is Tom Hardy. His big break, television-wise, was in the episode “Why We Fight.” He portrayed Pvt. John Janovec, who made a memorable entrance, minus his uniform!

Hardy has gone on to work with visionary directors like Christopher Nolan, with whom he’s made three movies. The most recent of these was 2017’s World War II epic, Dunkirk, which saw him take to the skies.

As with many of his Band of Brothers cast mates, Hardy has been involved with comic book franchises. He portrayed Batman villain Bane in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, and, in 2018, Sony hired him as the tortured title character in Marvel’s Venom.

Luke Roberts

Luke Roberts as Henry Norris in 'Wolf Hall'
Wolf Hall, 2015. (Photo Credit: Hope74 / MovieStillsDB)

Better known among British audiences, Luke Roberts’ first ever on-screen role came on Band of Brothers. He portrayed Herbert J. Suerth in the episode, “Crossroads.” Funnily enough, his next role would be on a British soap opera that was called… Wait for it… Crossroads (2001-03)!

Since Band of Brothers, Roberts has made a number of television and movie appearances. He played the captain of the guard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011); Thomas Wayne in The Batman (2022); Joseph Byrne on Holby City (1999-2022); and Eric Beaumont in Ransom (2017-19). Most recently, he portrayed Steve in the 2023 film, Seagrass.

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks behind-the-scenes of 'Band of Brothers'
Behind-the-scenes of Band of Brothers, 2001. (Photo Credit: andrewz / HBO / Dreamworks Pictures / MovieStillsDB)

We know who Tom Hanks was before Band of Brothers, and while the actor’s work behind-the-scenes is known, he also made a few cameos. He appeared a couple of times, as both a British and French officer. Hanks also directed the episode, “Crossroads,” and co-wrote the opening instalment, “Currahee.”

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Hanks’ body of work with Steven Spielberg has become the stuff of legend. After Band of Brothers, he starred in Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Terminal (2004), Bridge of Spies (2015) and The Post (2017). Separate from Spielberg, the actor also starred in Greyhound (2020), a WWII-era story adapted from C.S. Forester’s The Good Shepherd.