Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Craig, George Clooney: Hunks Who Got Their Start in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Films (PHOTOS)

Of all the harsh realities made clear by the gender gap, perhaps the truest is that – as of this Friday – girlfriends everywhere will be dragged reluctantly to see The Hobbit. This time, however, Peter Jackson’s journey through Middle Earth has been stripped of its eye-candy, swapping Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen for a handful of dwarves, Dr. Watson and a geezer. While the movie will no doubt be epic, the real scenery will undoubtedly be just that: the actual scenery.

All of which made us consider just how many dramatic, respected and handsome leading men – prime examples of non-nerd masculinity – actually made some of their biggest breakthroughs in sci-fi, fantasy and all-around geek adventures. Read on to find out…

Click here to launch the gallery of gorgeous leading men who made their bones in genre movies.

Many of the actors on Celebuzz’ list certainly had credits prior to their turns in fantasy films – Mortensen worked steadily as a supporting player for more than a decade before striking paydirt with the Lord of the Rings series, for example.

And although many of them have gone on to even greater glories, they first became popular in the public consciousness because of these projects. On the other hand, some of them may never surpass the success they enjoyed with these films and film series. But as cinephiles and avid filmgoers, we’re only too happy to celebrate – and maybe in a few cases, reintroduce – the sci-fi-, horror and fantasy films that helped the world fall in love with them.

Which of these hunks is your favorite — or which appeared in your favorite fantasy film? Keep the discussion going in the comments section after watching the theatrical trailer for The Hobbit below!

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Flashback Friday: ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ (VIDEO)

From X-Men to Star Wars, Spiderman to Batman and Twilight to Bourne, the multimillion dollar empire that is epic movie trilogies seldom disappoints.

As the newest saga to storm the nation, The Hobbit, is expected to do just the same.

And it won’t tread lightly.

The first installment of Peter Jackson’s three-part fantasy-adventure series has been years in the making. And as a a prequel to his critically-acclaimed cinematic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, the film already has the support of a devoted cult following.

In a much-anticipated film-adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s 1937 children’s novel, hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), a central fixture from the LOTR series, journeys across Middle-earth at the request of the great wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to reclaim The Lonely Mountain from Smaug, the dragon.

But before you check out Jackson’s latest fantasy film, brush up on your hobbit knowledge with a flashback to the movie that started it all.

Set 60 years later, 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring chronicles the journey of Bilbo’s nephew, Frodo (Elijah Wood), as he and a crew of supporters set out to destroy the “One Ring” and the Dark Lord Sauron, whom it belongs to.

In this telltale scene, the fellowship convenes to assert that the ring must be destroyed.

For a glance back at the epic tale that perpetuated the cult-craze, watch the clip above. And don’t miss The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,in theaters Friday.