By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 29, 2012 at 3:30PM
In between all the writing and directing and poetry and whatnot, James Franco is also trying to be a bona-fide movie star, but the jury is still out on whether it'll work out: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was a big hit, but not really down to the actor, and one can't help but feel he's been spread a little thin with some of his turns. We'll get the best test so far in a year when the actor headlines Disney and Sam Raimi's "Oz: The Great and Powerful," but could the star be surpassed by his 26-year-old brother Dave in the meantime? Dave was once best known for Funny or Die videos with his brother, but he's been consistently gathering steam across the last few years. A regular role on the last season of "Scrubs" led to supporting turns in "Charlie St. Cloud," "Greenberg" and last summer's "Fright Night," but he made his biggest impression to date in the hit "21 Jump Street," giving his popular kid drug dealer unexpected subtlety and nuances that many actors would have skipped over. Clearly word got out before it even hit theaters, as he's got a number of very promising projects in the works for early 2013 -- he'll play the boyfriend of lead Teresa Palmer in Jonathan Levine's zombie romance "Warm Bodies"; he's just one in an excellent ensemble cast, including Jesse Eisenberg, Melanie Laurent, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Common and Woody Harrelson in Louis Letterier's magician heist movie "Now You See Me"; and he's playing none another than Romeo in Fox's Shakesperean re-do "Rosaline." He's got all the talent (if not more so) than his brother, but without the restlessness, which seems like a formula for success to us.
Having a famous actor for a dad might help open a few doors, but there's plenty of celebrity offspring who never managed to make it last, let alone generate the kind of excitement that Domhnall Gleeson is whisking up these days. The son of Irish character actor favorite Brendan Gleeson (and brother of Brian Gleeson, who's playing one of the dwarves in "Snow White and the Huntsman"), spell-check nemesis Domhnall starred alongside his father in "Studs" and Martin McDonagh's Oscar-winning short "Six Shooter" before picking up a Tony nomination at 23 for his Broadway role in McDonagh's "The Lieutenant of Inishmore." Since then, the lanky, long-haired actor has cropped up in many unexpected places: he and Andrea Riseborough touchingly played older donors Rodney and Chrissie in Mark Romanek's "Never Let Me Go"; he was adventurous Weasley brother Bill in both parts of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"; embodied Live Aid mastermind Bob Geldof in the TV drama "When Harvey Met Bob"; and unrecognizably played outlaw Moon in the impossibly tense scene that marked the highlight of the Coen Brothers' "True Grit." Coming up is a reunion with Riseborough in James Marsh's acclaimed Sundance thriller "Shadow Dancer" and as one of the villains in comic book tale "Dredd." But it's Working Title who'll be providing him with the two parts that look to make him a bona-fide star: he's playing Konstantin Levin in Joe Wright's adaptation of "Anna Karenina," and he's just bagged the lead opposite Zooey Deschanel in Richard Curtis' "About Time." We'd wager that within a year or two, everyone will know how to spell Domhnall.
For some blessed actors, stardom is something that comes overnight and effortlessly. For others, it can take decades to really get your name out there. In the case of 49-year-old Frank Grillo, it's firmly the latter. He's been acting for twenty years, racking up credits in the likes of daytime soap "Guiding Light" and action drama "Prison Break," among others, alongside tiny roles in "Minority Report" and "The Sweetest Thing." But for the last six months or so, he's been lining up role after role. First was "Warrior," where even among a superb cast, he shone as Frank Campana, the trainer of Joel Edgerton's Brendan. Then he repeated the trick, standing out in another excellent ensemble as the defiant, argumentative Diaz in Joe Carnahan's survival drama "The Grey." Carnahan's already announced that he's writing a part for Grillo in his "Death Wish" remake, and he's not the only one to fall for the actor, as Grillo is in virtually everything hitting in theaters for the rest of the year: Stephen Frears' "Lay the Favorite"; David Ayer's found-footage cop flick "End of Watch"; the ensemble drama "Disconnect" and the period blockbuster "The Gangster Squad." And at long last, he's getting to play a lead -- starring alongside Jaimie Alexander in "Intersection," an actioner helmed by "Enemy of the State" writer David Marconi. Will it be the first of many? We suspect it could well be.