Hallmark's Eric Johnson Got His Big Break Playing A Young Brad Pitt

Hallmark fans may have first met Eric Johnson playing store manager Jake Finley in the beloved "Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle" in 2010, but the actor was already a movie veteran at that point. Johnson was born in Canada, and at age nine, the would-be-actor found his calling and quickly took to life in the theater. By age 12, his mother wanted him to act only as a "backup plan," but Johnson was sold on Hollywood (via Yahoo!).

He was focused on becoming Los Angeles famous and starring in an American movie by the age of 16. Johnson achieved this feat two years early, playing a teenage Brad Pitt in the Academy Award-winning 1994 western movie "Legends of the Fall." In a chat with the Edmonton Journal, Johnson reflected that the experience was an important part of his journey from a 14-year-old with dreams to an actor, as Hollywood no longer seemed like a distant dream. "Even though I was here, it wasn't unattainable."

Eric Johnson was on Smallville for two seasons

Eric Johnson secured his second big break seven years after playing Brad Pitt, joining the cast of "Smallville" as an antagonist to the famous comic book character, Clark Kent. He played the high school jock Whitney Fordman, who rivaled Clark Kent for his love interest, Lana Lang. Johnson played his character to the tee and gave Kent a run for his money in the charm department. Fordman was initially a bad guy, but he eventually switched sides and joined the army. He even became a hero before his death in the second season. Fun fact: Johnson might not have won Lana Lang's heart, but he met his future wife, Adria Budd Johnson, on the "Smallville" set.

A few years after "Smallville," Johnson snagged a role in "Flash Gordon," playing the main character in the series. In an interview with IGN TV, the actor stated that the role was pressure-free despite it being his first chance at playing a lead character. Sadly, his run on the space travel series ended after only one season due to terrible ratings and low viewership.

Eric Johnson has starred in three Hallmark movies

Eric Johnson's acting resume includes three Hallmark movies, his most popular being "Call Me Mrs. Miracle." However, the star has acted in some not-so-beloved flicks too. In 2013, he played a school teacher in "Fir Crazy," which made The List's ranking of the 10 worst Hallmark holiday movies. He's also appeared in "Valentine Ever After," released in 2016.

However, Johnson has appeared in other movies with roles that paint a stark contrast to his Hallmark personas. A year after his Valentine movie, he played the despicable Jack Hyde in the franchise movie "Fifty Shades Darker." In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Johnson admitted that his role as the romance movie villain was odd for him. "I think the weirdest part [of playing this kind of character is] getting in that head space and trying to understand how somebody could be like that in their life." Johnson also sweetly revealed that he apologized to his co-star Dakota Johnson for his words and actions while in character.