Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Breakout Stars of 2010

Breakout Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Impact: Every year, Hollywood betters foreign relations by praising a foreign actor and inducting them into the American market. In 2007, it was the French actress Marion Cotillard, who shocked viewers with her spot-on impersonation in La Vie en Rose. In 2008, it was the British Indian Dev Patel, who repeatedly fought to be with the girl of his dreams in Slumdog Millionaire. In 2009, it was the Austrian Christoph Waltz, who managed to make a Nazi seem funny without mocking Hitler in Inglorious Basterds. And this year, it was the Swede Noomi Rapace, who successfully recreated one of the most infamous characters in popular contemporary literature. She's not only set the standard for the American actress Rooney Mara, who's been tapped to play the role in the American adaption of the series, but for future Swedes and foreign actors who hail from places most Hollywood actors don't.
Upcoming Films: She has a super secret role in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes sequel; the vampire horror film The Last Voyage of Demeter with Ben Kingsley; and the Alien prequel.

Breakout Film: The Social Network
Impact: He's been a well-kept secret for a while now ever since the jarring British indie Boy A. It wasn't long before critics were applauding him for his work with Robert Redford in Lions for Lambs, Terry Gilliam in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and the indie adaptation Never Let Me Go. And it wasn't clear how much he was being watched and groomed until after David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin's Social Network was released—until it was announced that he would be playing the webbed crusader in the Spider-Man reboot. That's not exactly where anyone thought his career was going. Indie after indie after indie and now a blockbuster franchise. Not to mention, he's British and not American. To purists, it was like hiring an American to play James Bond or a black guy to play Superman. But they're unaware of what Mr. Garfield is capable of. If you see only one film of his, watch Social Network. Watch as he goes from a supportive and protective best friend to a greedy, power-hungry, girl-crazy entrepreneur to an insulted and betrayed victim. While everyone else had dollar signs in their eyes and girls on the brain, he made it clear that his character had one message: I thought we were friends. And no matter the circumstance, that message was ever-present. Who better to play a superhero with burgeoning inner conflicts than a man who can illustrate them with just one look?
Upcoming Films: He's currently filming the new Spider-Man with Emma Stone.

Breakout Film: The Karate Kid
Impact: There is only one non-white actor in Hollywood who can successfully sell a film in all markets and garner huge returns at the box office. You'd imagine that that would be a hard legacy for his children to live up to. You'd imagine that there's no way his kids could be as talented or blockbuster-worthy. You might even imagine that like the Spellings and the Kardashians, they'd just ride on the coattails of their dad's street cred and forgo having any actual talent. That is not the case—not even a little bit. If you rewatch the Karate Kid trilogy, you'll notice that even though Ralph Macchio was 20 at the time, his karate skills suck. And if you watch the remake, you'll notice that the karate skills and stunts done by 12-year-old Jaden DON'T. In fact, you actually believe that Jackie Chan trained him—because he did. That child spent an enormous amount of time building his muscles, stretching his body to the limits, and training with professional martial artists. He has put more effort into filming his first starring role than most actors do in their entire career. Hell, he even put Taylor Lautner to shame. Now studios know what kids are capable of. He's raised the bar tremendously. He's not just Will Smith's son anymore. He's Jaden.
Upcoming Films: He has nothing schedule as of yet, but there are rumblings that there will be a sequel to Karate Kid and he's still training.

Breakout Films: Kick-Ass and Let Me In
Impact: Women are rarely given meaty roles. Young girls are even worse off. They're usually relegated to playing daughters—daughters who are kidnapped, daughters who have died, daughters who are bratty, daughters who are adorably annoying, daughters who are homicidal, etc. They're treated like templates that are inserted into a movie to drive the plot or to create a catalyst. It's rare that a role like a vengeance-seeking, gun-toting badass is given to anyone that isn't Angelina Jolie a 13-year-old—let alone a 13-year-old girl. And even more rare for that girl to be convincing. Watching a child spit out expletives, like "cunt sucker" and "motherfucker," and shoot a gun should be cringe-inducing. Yet you find yourself rooting her on and mentally planning your Halloween costume. Where does a 13-year-old go from here? Disney movies? Playing the daughter of a single-but-reluctantly-searching dad? Signing up for one of the hopelessly romantic teen adaptations? No, playing a lonely preteen vampire in an American remake, and viciously murdering defenseless neighbors. She may not have broke the mold when it comes to casting these young actresses, since that honor goes to Dakota Fanning, but she certainly reinvigorated it.
Upcoming Films: A comedy vignette in the vein of Love Actually called Movie 43 with several well-known actors, including Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin, and Kate Winslet; the crime thriller The Fields with Sam Worthington and Jeffrey Dean Morgan; the Martin Scorsese family mystery Hugo Cabret with Jude Law and Sacha Baron Cohen; the indie drama The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea with Jessica Biel and Zach Braff; the indie drama Hick with Kirsten Dunst; the ballet comedy Dance of the Mirlitons with Kirsten Bell and Jackie Earle Haley; and, of course, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall.

Breakout Film: True Grit
Impact: She's apart of a wave of young ladies who are finally getting meaty roles. Having impressed not only the Coens, but Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, and Matt Damon at only the age of 14 is an impressive feat in and of itself, but to also forgo the Disney-intro into Hollywood for a shoot-'em-up Western just makes her seem fearless. Watch out Chloe Moretz. You've got yourself some competition.
Upcoming Films: Nothing yet, but I'm sure she's fielding offers like a grade-A juggler.

Breakout Film: The Social Network
Impact: If you told a Hollywood exec ten years ago that a Mickey Mouse club alum would one day costar in one of the most pop culture-approved movies in biographical film history, he would've laughed in your face. The key to success in Hollywood is constant reinvention—most importantly to evolve and not devolve, to move into a better project or profession, not lower yourself. Timberlake has found that path and isn't treading it lightly. It's rare for singers-turned-actors to act well, and even more rare for such actors to be male. He went from bringing sexy back to playing the dude who once facilitated the robbery of his music. Now that's called progress.
Upcoming Films: The comedy Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel; the romantic comedy Friends with Benefits with Mila Kunis; and the sci-fi thriller Now with Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, and Olivia Wilde.

Breakout Films: The Kids Are All Right and Alice in Wonderland
Impact: It's been obvious over the last decade or so that the Aussies are the new Brits, and Masikowska is currently benefiting from the new wave of imports. She has a delicate way about her, like a Brit, an exotic look, like a Russian, and an air of curiosity that projects the innocence of a teenage girl despite the fact that she's already 20. This year, she proved that she could pull off fantasy, period pieces, and contemporary indies, adapting effortlessly. She's more of a chameleon than any actress her age, which is a feat that only male actors and older actresses have mastered to date.
Upcoming Films: The adaptation Jane Eyre with Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, and Jamie Bell; the dark romantic drama Restless with the late Dennis Hopper's son Henry; and the Glenn Close-written drama Albert Nobbs with Aaron Johnson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

Breakout Film: Winter's Bone
Impact: I did not watch this film, BUT I can assure you that last year when Lawrence was playing Bill Engvall's mischievous teenage daughter on his self-titled TBS's family comedy, she did not expect to one day be singled out for her starring role in a dramatic indie. She was an unexpected addition to the new young Hollywood. While everyone was gushing over Emma Stone, she snuck in through the back door.
Upcoming Films: The romantic drama Like Crazy with Anton Yelchin; Jodie Foster's indie dramedy The Beaver with Mel Gibson; the prequel X-Men: First Class playing the young Mystique; the horror flick House at the End of the Street with Max Thieriot; and the dramatic indie Truckstop with Jackson Rathbone and Melissa Leo.

Breakout Films: Get Him to the Greek and Cyrus
Impact: You know that fat guy who makes self-deprecating jokes and/or acts as the comic relief in a rom-com or plays a sidekick who wishes to live vicariously through the leading man? What was his name again? Seth Rogen? Danny McBride? Dan Fogler? Josh Gad? Oh yeah!! Jonah Hill!!! They're easily interchangeable. The trick, in Hollywood, is to make yourself indispensable—to introduce a game-changer. Having graduated from the school of Apatow, acing the course "How to turn your weed addiction into a profitable Hollywood career," he's not only managed to prove he can bring a different kind of funny with Cyrus, but that he has larger ambitions, by taking on the task of writing and producing the adaptation of 21 Jump Street.
Upcoming Films: The baseball drama Moneyball with Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman; the family comedy The Sitter with Sam Rockwell and Ari Graynor; and the adaptation 21 Jump Street with Channing Tatum and Juno Temple.

Breakout Films: She's Out of My League, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Impact: Of all the actors who appeared in Judd Apatow's 2007 comedy Knocked Up, one of the least likely to become a leading man was Jay Baruchel. Fortunately, he popped up onto the scene at the same time that audiences were beginning to warm to the idea of a clutzy, scraggily anti-hero due to Shia Labeouf's success with Transformers. So while Labeouf teams up with Gordon Gecko to conquer Wall Street and Jesse Eisenberg invents a communication platform for a generation of narcissists, the roles of the meek, jilted TSA agent who manages to bag the hottest traveler he's ever seen, the scrawny Viking who does the unthinkable and befriends a "vicious" dragon, and the science geek who unleashes an evil sorcerer and must learn magic to defeat him are left up for grabs. Sure, the rom-com bombed and the fantasy flick was critically mocked (mainly because of Nicholas Cage's hair), but he now has an animated franchise to fall back on after every indie dud.
Upcoming Films: The hockey comedy Goon with Liev Schreiber and Sean William Scott.

Breakout Films: Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia, and Tamara Drewe
Impact: Rarely are British actresses introduced as smoking hot. Proper? Yes. Refined? Yes. Scrawny? Almost always. But sultry and seductive? Rarely, if ever, and sometimes only after a few films. Arterton's first big role, however, was as a sex object—a Bond girl no less. And it would seem that every role that followed echoed the last's belief that she was a walking, talking, full-figured inferno.
Upcoming Films: She just got married, so I imagine she's a little busy.

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