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Young actors who’ve grabbed me lately.

November 4, 2011

Ever get the feeling watching mainstream films, especially Hollywood ones, that when movies are cast they only really ever consult a short and utterly predictable list of tried and tested actors?

For instance: girl-next-door/relatable rom-com type female = Jennifer Aniston; hoity-toity rom-com type actress who will be taken down a peg or two by a rascal (probably her ex) = Katherine Heigl (or possibly the inexplicably popular [?] Kate Hudson). Hipster twentysomething: cute and asexual = Ellen Page, or pretty and hetero = Natalie Portman, Ann Hathaway  or – if its a quirky indie – Zooey Deschanel. See what I mean? Now that Jennifer Lawrence is deemed up-and-coming she will appear in a veritable swarm of movies, some serious and indie (she was in Winter’s Bone after all). But amidst the flood of expecteds there are a few originals. I’m not saying these are necessarily excellent actresses, or that they are like, alternative, and won’t become popular. No, all I’m saying is that they have that star oomph; that edge lacking in the Hathaways and the Portmans (yes, despite the Oscar). Yes, they are all women. I find it hard to recall any noteworthy male performances lately with the exception of Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go [wow]. maybe that’s just me? I mean, yes, there’s Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt et al. But they are established. Establishment even. Edgy is so In these days.

The future is well-worn.

1) Carey Mulligan. She’s in everything, ok, I know that. But yowza, what an actress. She’s vulnerable in ways Michelle Williams can only dream of. Never let Me Go was a fantastically measured, restrained and moving performance. Shame looks incredible. An Education. Drive. The Great Gatsby. The Brits just outclass the Yanks without even trying. Its all about craft, no flash. With American actors they really Act. The Brits become; they truly assume roles. (ditto for Garfield)

2) Saoirse Ronan. Hannah is one of my favourite newish films. The character is so mysterious, so physical. Utterly believable and so strangely innocent, yet competent at the same time. Believable as a genetically engineered uber-assassin. Ronan was also the best thing about Atonement (yes, even with James McAvoy being so gorgeous in that beautifully-shot film).

Now This is a vampire.

3) Chloe Moretz. This little girl blows my socks off. She’s possibly my favourite on the list. She was the only really memorable aspect of the disappointingly slight Kick Ass (ok, it was a fun performance for the nearly always embarrassing Nicholas Cage). Let me in (yes, I am a huge fan of endlessly creepy Let the Right One In, but I don’t mind US remakes too much if they are respectful) was amazing principally because of her (and the fact it was a pretty damn good horror film. I celebrate the return of the scary bestial vampire after the pretty but toothless Twilight). Most significantly, Moretz seems an odd girl, and takes interesting roles. Definitely edgy. I’m expecting great things but I sense she may stay Indie.

4) Noomi Rapace. If my heart can possibly stand it Noomi Rapace will be in Ridley Scott’s Promotheus along with Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender. Has any film line-up looked this exciting? I mean its an Alien movie, by Scott!Now if they could just find a role for dear Sigourney my life would be complete. But since there are so few convincing kick-ass women actors out there, I feel that Rapace could fill her shoes adequately (if she doesn’t sell out to Hollywood too much.) Her Lizbeth Salander was, in my opinion, the most immersive and committed performance I have ever seen (she created Lizbeth from out of a rather mediocre source novel). She was 100% that character. Which bodes well, if she gets the right scripts. I know, a tough ask. Mainstream Hollywood is death to all actresses at the moment. I’m hoping the popularity of films like Dragon Tattoo will reawaken the days of the woman star vehicle.

5) Kristen Stewart. I know, I know. Back off a minute. This girl is an awesome screen personality even though she is accused of having facial and acting tics and a one-note performance in every role. That just isn’t true. Yes, she is always partly herself: awkward, a little pretentious, not altogether bright, but totally committed to projects she cares about and wonderfully instinctive on film, as well as sultry. There’s a minx in there waiting to emerge. She was great in The Runaways and say what you will, she carries Twilight fair and square alongside the much more stilted Robert Pattinson. Together they enliven the altogether silly narrative. (And I say this loving the films and even the source novel and all things vampire.) She is so hated I do worry about her future onscreen. We will see what becomes of her new Snow White and the Huntsman with Charlize Theron. I’m really looking forward to that one. But I fear if its too light or ‘commercial’ she may waft through it again, like Twilight. But she is a star. She has that thing that surpasses talent or craft.

This could go badly wrong...


From → Actors, Celebrity, Movies

  1. After two years of such work she landed a significant dramatic role as a young Charlize Theron in North Country which got people s attention.

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