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On The Rise 2012: 10 Actors We're Tipping For Stardom In The Future

by Oliver Lyttelton
March 29, 2012 3:30 PM
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Last week, we took a look at the relative dearth of leading men in Hollywood: why Tom Cruise, Will Smith, et al. remain at the top of the tree and why so few serious competitors have emerged since. But one of the most exciting things about our job is getting to watch the new names that emerge, breakouts who have the potential to join the A-listers, or at the very least, deliver a host of hugely exciting performances for decades to come.

So we've decided to kick off our On The Rise selection for 2012 by looking at some of the actors who we're tipping for big things in the next few years. Last time we made these kinds of picks and predictions we did pretty well, listing the likes of Joel Edgerton, Edgar Ramirez, Jason Sudeikis, Adam Scott, Jake Johnson and David Oyelowo who have all gone on to become much-sought-after names, and we're feeling just as confident about the folks we've gone with this time around.

It's hard to know who qualifies for a list like this, but we wanted to lean towards new faces, rather than picking out names you've likely been hearing a lot about recently. Guys like Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Benjamin Walker (the star of this year's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter") and Joel Kinnaman (who will be the new "RoboCop") all have parts in big movies on the way, and will form the next wave of stars for sure, but these actors are right behind them. Have a look below, let us know who you think you could break out soon, and stay tuned for our look at the actresses tomorrow. So, in alphabetical order...

Diego Boneta
Diego Boneta
Adam Shankman's jukebox musical "Rock of Ages" has one of the oddest, most intriguing casts of the summer, with Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti and Bryan Cranston all donning leather and mullet wigs in what's increasingly looking like a guilty pleasure. But none of them are actually the film's lead, as the central couple is played by Julianne Hough ("Footloose") and Latin music star Diego Boneta. And it's the latter who looks like he could break out in a big way if the film's a hit. The 23-year-old Mexican actor started out in telenovelas and as a teen singing sensation, with two hit records to date, before crossing the border to take recurring roles in teen shows "Pretty Little Liars" and "90210." Last year, he got some attention for playing the male lead in the direct-to-video sequel "Mean Girls 2." Shankman says that when Boneta auditioned to play busboy and aspiring rock star Drew Boley in his film, he had "that feeling you get when you realized you've discovered lightning in a bottle." And while Boneta's skills haven't yet been glimpsed in trailers, it's clear others have been impressed -- he was going to play Adam in Alex Proyas' "Paradise Lost" before the film was cancelled. Breaking out from a musical isn't the easiest thing, but there's a distinct lack of young Hispanic leading men, and Boneta could well be the person to fill that gap.

Dane DeHann
Dane DeHaan
One of the more startling images in the movies so far this year was of Andrew, the bullied, troubled teen in "Chronicle," sitting in a junkyard crushing a car with his newfound telekenetic powers, eyes as dark as night. The clip was front and center in the marketing, and it's undoubtedly seared Dane DeHaan, who played the character, onto the eyes of many. The 25-year-old got his big break with a stunning performance as gay adopted teen Jesse in the final season of HBO's "In Treatment," and followed it up swiftly with a recurring role in "True Blood." The movies were always going to come calling after that, and "Chronicle," in which he gave a performance simultaneously sympathetic and terrifying, the true heart of the film, is the first of four movies that'll hit before the end of 2012. Next up is the male lead in lesbian werewolf indie "Jack and Diane" alongside Juno Temple and Riley Keough, but the latter part of the year will see him with key roles in two of our most anticipated films of the year. He's playing Shia LaBoeuf's rickets-stricken best friend in John Hillcoat's Prohibition-era gangster tale "Lawless," and will follow that up swiftly with Derek Cianfrance's crime tale "The Place Beyond the Pines," in which he'll star in the film's final segment as the son of Ryan Gosling's motorcycle stunt rider, continuing the generational feud with the son of the cop-turned politician (Bradley Cooper) who tormented his father. And at present, he's joined fellow bright young things Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston and Elizabeth Olsen as troubled poet Lucien Carr in beat-era murder mystery "Kill Your Darlings." Rest assured, it's not just his resemblance to the actor that's put him on the path to becoming the next Leonardo DiCaprio.

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  • jl | August 24, 2012 12:59 AMReply

    Where is Tom Hardy that man its going to become a legend.

  • JD | April 12, 2012 3:45 AMReply

    Chadwick Boseman, Lance Gross, Michael B Jordan

  • Tishy | April 3, 2012 2:44 PMReply

    Benedict Cumberbatch. Between what he's done with Sherlock on the BBC and the new Star Trek movie, I hope he'll get more roles.

  • Gweninterrupted | April 3, 2012 1:17 AMReply

    Dane DeHaan is an amazing actor and I can't wait to see what kinds of roles he chooses to play in the future. A few of my other favorite actors on the rise over the last few years are Anton Yelchin, Kyle Gallner, and especially Ezra Miller. I've seen every movie that Ezra has been in starting with Afterschool when he was only 14, and I think he's one of the most interesting and intriguing actors to grace a screen in recent times.

  • Casper | April 3, 2012 12:26 AMReply

    No females? Well, at least you got the token black guy in there...

  • Oliver Lyttelton | April 3, 2012 4:19 AM

    Paragraph 3: "stay tuned for our look at the actresses tomorrow." And so we did - . I'm all for commenting, but please read the actual piece before you do so, otherwise you look like a jackass.

  • Michael | April 2, 2012 9:05 PMReply

    Seriously who gives a shit!Its far to much damn effort to remember all these actors names a majority of them aren't even worth mentioning and the causal movie watcher won't care who they are either even if some of them hit it big they won't go on to gain causal movie fan's heart.Its only obsessed online move buffs like ourselves that make a point to remember these type of people the causal movie watchers will just look at you funny if you tried mentioning all these actors to them in one conversion.Logan Marshall-Green and Dane DeHaan are two actors that I've seen in one movie or another that I liked the other ones on the list I could care a less about.

  • Gweninterrupted | April 3, 2012 12:58 AM

    If you don't give a sh*t, why in the world did you read the article?

  • Bruce | April 2, 2012 8:34 PMReply

    ever hear of Jim Parrack? You will.

  • Bobsnore | April 2, 2012 1:24 PMReply

    This is going to be the breakout year for JASON CLARKE. He has 3 major roles coming up this year that I think could lead to heaps of critical acclaim- he is the lead in Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden movie; he plays THE pivotal role of 'George Wilson' in Baz Luhrman's "The Great Gatsby"; and he gives an incredibly powerful performance in the indie "Yelling to the Sky" opposite Zoe Kravitz.

  • Lee | April 2, 2012 9:49 AMReply

    I almost thought I missed something about Tom Hardy joining Prometheus. woah.

    I wish Kieran Culkin could be in this list. That guy is awesome.

  • LR | April 2, 2012 3:54 AMReply

    Wow... just skimmed the bold words after you kinda ruined the ending to "Place Beyond the Pines." Hopefully I'll just forget that down the road

  • Leonardo | April 2, 2012 4:58 AM

    How does he know the ending of thee movie, did he saw a preliminary cut?

  • Mimi | March 30, 2012 5:46 PMReply

    After seeing Nowhere Boy with Aaron Johnson as John Lennon, I immediately knew he was headed places and sure enough he is picking up starring roles right and left. He is doing Savages and the next adaption of Anna Karenina as Count Vronsky and he is only 21. He played Lennon when he was 19 and his performance was magnetic; I couldn't take my eyes of of him as he showed the emotional roller coaster Lennon was on in his teens. I am looking forward to seeing much more of him in the future and think he may do well. Glad he is choosing his projects wisely now, though the lure of LA LA Land may be too great and he may end up in the next super hero movie. Hope not, he is great doing what he is right now, just not as much money in it.

  • idealj | March 30, 2012 9:58 AMReply

    "He's got all the talent (if not more so) than his brother"

    Since 21 Jump Street, the media and blogsphere seem to take glee in bashing the older Franco by setting up a comparison between the two.

    But I can't help but take issue on the statement. Except for 21 Jump street, all of Dave's parts were basically a cameo(His screen time in them were less than 5 mins each. His part in Scrubs was just a sketch comedy). He simply has not shown enough to prove anything, much less to prove whether he is as talented as his brother. Are you saying that whatever talent Dave has shown in one movie is equivalent or better than what James has shown in all of James’ work? James, whose work spans more than a decade ranging from James Dean, Milk, 127 hours, Howl to Pineapple Express?

    I am sure Dave has the potential to be a leading man. James may never become a leading man/movie star in the traditional Hollywood mold by his own choice. But do not subtly suggest James is not talented (or overrated) actor by matching his bro who has given exactly one good performance.

  • maja | March 30, 2012 4:21 AMReply

    I think I'll stick with Will Smith and Tom Cruise.

  • jingmei | March 30, 2012 2:59 AMReply

    Kind of a fresh list, except people who are like Dave Franco. Scoot McNairy is awesome, this dude already appeared in something like Art School Confidential. Meanwhile this list gave names supposed to appear in current blockbusters, and they usually played sidekick roles, now time is for becoming big stars. But how about those always pretty low profile real stars, such as one of my favorite Sam Riley.

  • Juliana25 | March 30, 2012 1:12 AMReply

    I agree that Dave Franco has a promising future but I certainly wouldn't write off bro James. He is already a movie star who isn't afraid to try other things and be in movies that wouldn't be considered "mainstream". He can do both comedy (Pineapple Express) and drama (127 Hours, James Dean) equally well. The "weirdness" factor is perpetuated by the gossip mags. Hes just a smart guy doing what he wants and loves. If only we all were so lucky.
    Also, the press seems bent on Trying to set up a competition between these brothers as evidenced by several articles since 21 Jump Street came out. Luckily there's room enough for them both.

  • NHK | March 29, 2012 11:21 PMReply

    Come on. There is never a lack of leading men, at least not white leading men. Maybe more accurate...there is never a lack of effort on Hollywood's part to create an endless selection of leading white men. Given those numerous opportunities it should not be any surprise that there are plentiful of talented leading white men getting loads of filmwork. What the writer should have probably stated instead was that there is a dearth of true male movie stars. That may be true. Interesting enough using Tom Cruise and Will Smith as examples simply points out that one doesn't necessarily have to be great actors to achieve great box office success.

  • John | April 2, 2012 9:08 PM

    Stop talking.

  • Sneha | April 2, 2012 5:54 PM

    leading and flopping are what is common in hollywood. Bankability is key. As for your last comment, I don't know about Smith but you are WRONG about Cruise. He is extremely talented and charismatic. Check out his filmography and actually watch movies like Magnolia, A Few Good Men, Collatearl and then define what a great actor is.

  • Lucy | March 29, 2012 10:22 PMReply

    Logan Marshall- Green is Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy is Logan Marshall-Green. lol Woah twins indeed. I hope he gets more roles. I saw him on stage and he really pulls you in. I like this list!

  • Chase L. | March 29, 2012 5:26 PMReply

    How about Josh Hutcherson? He's a great actor, and he's very charismatic.

  • Lee | April 2, 2012 9:44 AM

    not bad, but he played in too many family-friendly movies. Need more daring roles.

  • had2besaid | March 29, 2012 4:55 PMReply

    James Franco is one of the best versatile actors working today and I would but him ahead of guys like Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy, Benjamin Walker, Joel Kinnaman and any other younger actors from his age group. Infact, I find it insulting that he keeps being left out his No. 1 in my humble opinion.

    I know there was a hate campaign against him last year, but however weird he might be or not at times, again he's the best of the best and the one to follow.

    You have got to be kidding me re but the jury is still out on whether it'll work out? WTH, you mean the guy who nailed following performances James Dean (I repeat James Dean), 127 Hours, Milk, Howl, Pineapple Express and yes HELPED ensure Rise of the Planet of the Apes WAS (but just gave enough emotional edge to his peformance that didn't take anything away from Andy Serkis brilliant performance) a hit too, plus the best thing about Date Night and The Green Hornet (seriously, check out that performance) still has the jury out on him? Don't know how to explain this again he played James Dean, he wins period.

    Oh, by the way, if you can also find me an actor that looks like the following people James Dean, Adam Ant, Paul Newman, Jeff Buckley, Tim Buckley, Robert Mapplethorne, Che and at this very moment K-Fed/Riff Raff (don't ask), then I would say you are correct in your assessment.

    James Franco is the No. 1 person to go to for bio movies for his age group and I see him developing into Johnny Depp/Daniel Day Lewis/Robert De Niro kind of actor as he grows.

    Anyway, Dave Franco is a Franco so obviously going to succeed as an leading actor (his brother is not his competition also but other actors) as well as Dane DeHann just again my opinion.

  • HAD2BESAID | April 2, 2012 10:57 PM

    The truth is out there for all to see and hope this further statement is not deleted. James Franco IS A MOVIE STAR and much much more with his additional side projects. 1. Sergei Polunin the James Dean of the ballet world quoted the following: Putrov chooses to remain mysterious about the duet – “come and see it”. But the solo is Polunin’s tribute to James Dean, the perennial outsider whom he discovered through a film starring James Franco. “It is amazing acting in that film, one of my favourites. After that I did the tattoo on my shoulder of James Dean’s name without seeing the actual James Dean movie. Since then I bought lots of T-shirts of his and I watched the movies and I just liked his spiritual mood. That is what the solo is going to be about, what he is feeling inside.” He was also fantastic in Tristan and Isolde - underrated 2. James Franco has had songs written about him by Hoodie Allen - "James Franco" and by Childish Gambino - Hold You Down with lyrics Iwon't stop until they say, "James Franco is the white Donald Glover" THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT STATEMENT. 3. James Franco got Oscar nom for 127, which in my opinion he should have had further nods for Pineapple Express, Milk and Howl plus if James Dean wasn't a TV movie he would have gotten a nod there too for an Oscar but did WIN a Golden Globe . 4. Not sure how many people watched City By The Sea with Robert De Niro but a great movie very underrated (Chlotrudis Award Best Supporting Actor nom to James Franco nothing for De Niro but for James). 5. Howl note following awards COFCA Award Actor of the Year, nominated GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Film - Limited Release, Won Freedom of Expression Award. 6. Milk - Won Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Male. 7. Pineapple Express - nominated Golden Globe Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy. 8. THIS LIST COULD GO ON. The point is James Franco is not average actor (let's not forget his TV work on Freaks and Geeks, one of the best guests on 30 Rock - Kimiko and SNL). I see what the media is trying to do, twist things to upgrade another actor in favour of James (shouldn't the another actor's work speak for themselves??), and NOW using his brother to try and bring him down. If he wasn't a brilliant actor and No.1, they wouldn't bother. 9. Again, YOU don't get all the above by being just average person and I'm just stating FACTS, people can watch all his movies and see for themselves. 10. Lastly, regarding the quote by the author of this article re but without the restlessness, which seems like a formula for success to us, maybe he would like to address this further. Do you mean that because James CAN think outside the box (not a Hollywood robot) and is involved with various outside projects, because of this it makes him not be a good actor? If so, that's pretty stupid point (HIS BROTHER SHOULD FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE IN TERMS OF ACTING BUT IN HIS OWN STYLE), James HAS already proven himself as a movie star who will last/remembered as an amazing actor for a VERY long time. SORRY, I HAD TO GIVE HATERS REMINDERS WHY James Franco is UNIQUE. I love many actors/actresses not just Franco but I hate what's happening regarding him and the media and feel strongly to express my opinion. Hope more people tweet this article.

  • Danny | April 2, 2012 9:09 PM

    Ha ha no James Franco is an average actor at best you moronic fool..get off Franco's dick!

  • sp | March 29, 2012 4:40 PMReply

    Mark my words, Sullivan Stapleton is another Aussie that will take over Hollyweird. He has the X-factor, has loads of charm, very masculine , he is very watchable, and he can believably portray a bad guy.

  • Oogle monster | March 29, 2012 4:34 PMReply

    As much as I like (looking) at Dave Franco, I think you guys are being a little tough on his bro. James can dink around with side projects because he IS a movie star. He's an Oscar nominated actor who has done work in big blockbusters (Spiderman, Apes), comedy (Date Night, Pineapple Express, Knocked Up) and has shown his range in smaller fare (Milk, the James Dean biopic, and arguably his best performance to date 127 Hours). If that doesn't make him a movie star.... well, I give up then.

  • L. | March 29, 2012 4:27 PMReply

    Are you going to do a follow-up with up-and-coming actresses? Would be much appreciated!

  • R | March 29, 2012 4:11 PMReply

    Joel Kinnaman!

  • The Playlist | March 29, 2012 5:05 PM

    He's noted in the intro as one of the on the rise actors that has arguably *just* peaked past this list now that he's gonna be "RoboCop." We *almost* included him here, but he seems like he's on his way.

  • Zack | March 29, 2012 4:03 PMReply

    Dear God, please don't ever say "noughties" as though it's a thing again.

  • Michael | April 2, 2012 9:11 PM

    I agree it made the writer look like a damn idiot!

  • sasha | March 29, 2012 3:57 PMReply

    lol Dave Franco

  • KT | March 29, 2012 3:45 PMReply

    Logan Marshall-Green =/= Tom Hardy

    Therefore he's probably fucked.

  • M | March 29, 2012 3:36 PMReply

    Hopefully a couple of these men do turn out good, because there has been a lack of male stars. The younger male generation is lacking in the acting ability.

    Damn Logan looks so much like Tom Hardy, my word. They could be twins. Although Logan already has a twin

  • viola | March 30, 2012 9:30 AM

    Dave Franco looks like the joker in the pack. Famous actors who have that quirky little brother like John Travolta's bro Joey. Could somebody please get Tom Hardy and Logan M-G into the same room. The suspense of comparing them is killing me.

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