The Flix List: Five noteworthy young actors (under 30)

Talk about perfect timing. I had been jotting down this list when I saw yesterday’s assignment from Castor’s 31DBBB event is to make a list post! It’s day 2 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project a bunch of movie bloggers are doing together in an attempt to improve our blogs and help each other become better bloggers.

Inspired by my recent ‘discovery‘ of Robert Pattinson’s talent, it got me thinking what other actors under 30 who’ve caught my attention. So inevitably he made the list, along with four other young male actors who’ve made an impression on me in the past decade:

  1. Robert Pattinson (24)
    I never thought of including this London-born actor on this list until I saw Remember Me. Sure, Twilight made him astar and gained him a bazillion fans, but acting-wise the franchise doesn’t do him any favors. Thankfully he seeks out understated rolesin smaller movies to showcase his acting chops. Let’s hope he continues to mix things up and learn from people like Leo DiCaprio who successfully shed his matinee idol image and become a formidable actor.
  2. Jamie Bell (24)
    The English actor first won me over in the acclaimed dancing drama Billy Elliot, he even beat Tom Hanks (Cast Away) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator) at 2001’s BAFTA! Since then been playing mostly under-the-radar roles: King Kong, Jumper, Defiance. Yet, even in supporting roles, it’s clear Bell is one talented young man. I haven’t seen Jumper but my husband who saw it kept saying how he stole every scene from Hayden Christensen, who got the movie’s top billing. He also won raves in the little-seen Hallam Foe, but hopefully his next movie, Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson’s The Adventures of Tintin will rightfully put him on the Hollywood map.
  3. Daniel Radcliffe (21)
    I had just recently discovered Harry Potter, which was an entertaining franchise to catch up on (all six movies in 2 weeks!). The movies are well-written and well-acted, mixing complete unknowns with award-winning thespians. Radcliffe obviously had the formidable job of portraying such a beloved literary character, and I think he pulls it off quite well, growing more comfortable as an actor as the franchise went on. He’s been known to take some risks in his roles as well, probably hoping to shed his innocent-boy image so he can have a fruitful career post HP. He took on the bizarre role in the play Equus, playing a boy with a pathological fascination with horses, even willing to strip nude on stage! He’s set to star in a Hammer horror flick Woman in Black. After that, he reportedly plans on going back to theater in a Broadway play How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Pretty versatile guy I’d say.
  4. Shia LaBeouf (24)
    Probably known most as the Transformers boy who’s the envy of every adolescent boy for getting to snog Megan Fox, I actually think this guy can act. He was rather good in Disturbia, which was a decent thriller, though its similarities to Hitchcock’s Rear Window got the studios in some legal troubles. Spielberg reportedly was quite taken with him, hence casting him in the sequel that should not have been made. Obviously the inept script didn’t give him a chance to do much of anything in that movie. Hopefully his next movie, which happens to be another sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleep, will fare better.
  5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (29)
    Gordon-Levitt is pretty much in a whole different league amongst his 20-something peers, having proven his craft in solid roles one after another: The Lookout, Stop-Loss, Brick, and the refreshingly-smart rom-com (500) Days of Summer. The phenomenal success of Inception will no doubt help his career even further. Though with talent like his, he hardly needs a blockbuster to get us to notice.Β The best thing about Gordon-Levitt is that he’s reliable, we can always expect an excellent performance out of him and not be disappointed.

Honorable Mentions (added 8/11):

  • Henry Cavill (I talked about this guy quite a lot, so it’s simply an oversight for not mentioning him. Thanks Dez!)
  • Freddie Highmore (He may only be 18, but this kid’s resume is impressive. He’s done some great work in Finding Neverland, A Good Year, and August Rush, among others)
  • Rupert Friend (Won me over in The Young Victoria)
  • Ben Wishaw (Bright Star didn’t blow me away, but can’t deny Wishaw’s acting chops)
  • Andrew Garfield (I confess I haven’t seen any movie of his, but I’m making an exception as he’s impressed me in three trailers: The Red Riding trilogy, The Social Network and Never Let Me Go. No doubt we’ll be hearing more about this kid in the future, especially now that he’s been cast as Spiderman).

Ok folks, your turn. Which young actor(s) have impressed you lately?

47 thoughts on “The Flix List: Five noteworthy young actors (under 30)

  1. Ben Whishaw, just freakishly talented; Rupert Grint, favourite of the young Potter cast; Aaron Johnson, I found him to be excellent in Nowhere Boy; Rupert Friend (a bit of an Orlando Bloom doppelganger (not that that’s bad), he shows promise and Ben Foster who should be bigger by now…shouldn’t he?

    1. Ah right, Ben Whishaw, though I wasn’t too impressed with him in Bright Star as I was with Abbie Cornish. Rupert Grint was great to watch in HP, though I like Radcliffe a tad more. Haven’t seen any of Aaron Johnson flicks yet, but I take your word for it. Aaargh, how could I forget Rupert Friend!! He is far better than Orlando Bloom, he was so affecting in Young Victoria. See my answer about Ben Foster above…

  2. Oh man, I’m going to have to re-do my “under 30” list because some of them have had birthdays! I was going to say James McAvoy, but he’s now 30. Otherwise, you’ve covered my remaining faves (Shia and JoGo), although props to the above-mentioned Ben Foster!

    1. I know! I had to make sure I got the age right. McAvoy would’ve made the list a few years ago. I also miss Ryan Gossling who’s turning 30 in Nov. Heh, I probably should make another list of notable actors turning 30 this year! πŸ™‚

      He..he.. I searched for quite a while to find that photo of JGL, he’s a nice looking young man.

        1. He was good in LMS I agree. Now, I’m going to use trailers again which give you a glimpse of what an actor is capable of. Dano looks great in The Good Heart with Brian Cox, and from the bits and pieces I saw in There Will Be Blood, too.

  3. Great list although I probably would have included Ben Foster somewhere. I’m not sure about Robert Pattinson but since you raved about him in your previous post, I will take your word for it πŸ™‚

    1. Y’know I thought that Ben is older than 30, that’s why he’s missing from this list. But after checking IMDb, he will turn 30 this October, so is Ben Whishaw. He stole scenes in 3:10 to Yuma, which is impressive considering the lead actors are Russell Crowe and Christian Bale!

      Don’t take my word for it about R-Patz, watch him in Remember Me. Heck, he was even good in that one Harry Potter movie, it barely scratched the surface of what he could do, but still waaay better than his Twilight role.

        1. Goblet of Fire, that’s it. I keep forgetting the name of the movie as we did a marathon in 2 wks! That one just might be my fave of the HP movies, lots of intense action stuff and the ending is breathtaking. Nothing wrong at all with liking Cedric Diggory, he pretty much upstaged Harry in this one. I’d love to see that list of HP kids, so get right on it Andrew πŸ™‚

    1. Never heard of that one, but yeah I can see how a certain show might negatively affect how you feel about a certain actor. There are a bunch of actors that creep me out, now that should make an interesting list πŸ™‚

  4. Julian

    I don’t see how anyone could give a good performance in twilight with such crappy characters.

    Anyways, as for notable actors. None immediately come to mind, but i will say that after watching Youth in Revolt, i think Michael Cera has more acting talent than he appears to have. This is because in the movie he did two roles, one was in the typical awkward teenage boy vein that people have come to expect from him, but the other role is where he really shined.

    In this other role he was confidence, rebellious, and was nothing like any prior role he’s taken. And that is why i believe he has the potential to do much more than the awkward teen role, and i sincerely hope that he breaks out of that real soon because i don’t think he can do it much longer and still have a career.

    I also think Thomas Decker deserves more attention. He gave good performances in both Heroes and in the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

    Thats all i can think of for now

    1. Exactly. Even Kristen Stewart who’s great in other movies are reduced to being a whiny, crabby mess. It boggles the mind to see how popular the movies are.

      Y’know, I actually thought about Michael Cera as I just watched the Scott Pilgrim trailer. Truthfully I just don’t see what’s the fuss about him, he seems to have the same expression in everything. I read reviews about how good he was in Youth in Revolt but I never have interest in seeing it so I’d have to take your word for it. I’m curious to see if he can break out of that awkward teen role like you said, as other kids his age have been much more versatile.

      Oh right, Thomas Dekker. I like him in Sarah Connor (too bad that show didn’t last long as I love Lena Heady, too) and though he’s almost too pretty, I don’t get that Ken-doll image about him the way I see say, Zac Effron.

      1. Julian

        After watching the movie I think he does have versatility, he just doesn’t seem motivated find roles that use it. But i think people are getting tired of the same akward teen roles, and i think he needs to do something drastically different soon to keep his career going.

        1. That’s strange why some actors don’t try to be more versatile, kind of like Will Ferrel who’s great in more dramatic roles like Stranger than Fiction, but he almost always go for the silliest, slapstick ones. Oh well, I bet they get more $$$ for those type of roles.

          1. Julian

            Yeah, they probably get more money for those roles. Its also possible that they just get too comfortable with one character type and don’t feel motivated to try others.

            And are you going to do a list for young actresses?

            1. WOW, you read my mind Julian! I was just thinking about ’em as I was cooking a few minutes ago! Yes, stay tuned for that! πŸ™‚

      2. Ooooh Ooooh Paul Dano. I really liked Little Miss Sunshine and I think he was the best thing in it (with the least dialogue. How random.)

        The reason I thought of him is because I think he’s a talented version of Michael Cera…why do I dislike Cera? Good question…I don’t have answer.

  5. I’m not a fan of Jamie Bell but your other choices are spot on. Although, I haven’t been won over by Pattinson – I’ve only seen him in Harry Potter and Twilight – he seems like a down to earth person and hasn’t let super stardom get the better of him…yet.

    1. Not a fan of Jamie Bell? That’s a first, may I ask why? I’m not trying to be defensive of him, just curious that’s all. Well, if you want to see what Rob can do, those two movies definitely aren’t going to showcase that. I’ve only seen a couple of interviews with him, he just seems very nervous but lighthearted about the whole fame thing, which is nice to see. Let’s hope he continues with that attitude and just concentrate on getting decent roles in the future.

  6. I must admit the only one whom I find talented in this list is Jamie Bell. Gordon Lewitt is also great (but I mostly loved him as Tommy in 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN), while I don’t even consider Daniel an actor and can’t stand anything connected with TWILIGHT.
    I do love lots of young actors and actresses, you can always see them mentioned over at HOLLYWOOD SPY.
    Rupert Friends yes, Whishaw yes, Ben Foster yes…. Simon Woods, Henry Cavill also a big yesssss …..

    1. For crying out loud, I left out Henry??!? What in the world is wrong with me?? Thanks for setting me straight Dez, sheesh I knew I was forgetting a few but Henry is usually on my radar!

      Daniel hasn’t been able to show what he’s capable of yet as he’s only got a few projects outside of HP, but I think he’s got great potential. Y’know, I’m with you about Twilight, that’s why I was reluctant to see Remember Me, but glad to say it change my mind about Robert. Don’t think I ever will about the kid werewolf though, hiiih he just makes me cringe so much, that’s why I was so happy he didn’t end up cast in X-Men: First Class.

      I don’t generally like younger actors (younger than me I mean), I tend to go for actors in their 30s or 40s, or even older for some reason.

      1. and we should not forget the handsome boys Chris Evans, Channing Tatum, Alex Petyfer, Chris Hemsworth, Hugh Dancy, James Franco, Shane West, Sterling Knight, Zachary Quinto ….. :))

  7. Mike B.

    Hmmmm. A post about young male actors getting lots of comments. Why am I not surprised about that one?!?!?

    Well, as a father with 2 tween daughters, my money is on that Zac Efron dude. He seems to be moving from Disney flicks to actual “movies” pretty quickly. Seems like a smart kid. Perhaps like Shia he can continue on with that. Nice to have a pre-existing fan-base.

    1. Interestingly enough, I get most comments from guys πŸ™‚ Well teen girls obviously have totally different taste than a grown woman like me… I think Zac is too pretty, and his new ‘breakout’ film doesn’t appeal to me at all, so I guess I’m nowhere close to being sold on him yet.

  8. Mine would have to be Ryan Gosling. He plays such different characters in The Believer, compared to The Notebook and both are credible. Go Ryan!

    1. I think Ryan is 30 already, but yeah he is a versatile actor. Though I’m probably the only chick who’s not into The Notebook.

  9. I really liked this list. I think Zac Effron is really trying to be a better actor and if Me and Orson Welles is any indication than he’s doing a good job but otherwise your list is spot on. I think JGL is growing on me more and more each day. Sometimes I forget that he’s young at all. Sometimes I think he’s been doing this for fourty years. Or at least his experience and his acting talent is showing that.

    1. Hey Travis! Yeah, JGL is like an old soul, that’s what I keep thinking every time I see him in movies. Well, I don’t really dislike Zac, I do hope he comes out of his comfort zone every once in a while and do a movie where he has to look ugly so what we see is purely his performance.

      1. Julian

        I don’t think Zac(or any actor) has to choose a “ugly” role to show there talent. A character could call for the actor to dress down and still be a crappy character. Zac just needs to take roles that have depth and complexity to them

        1. Well-said Julian, I was just saying that ’cause the dude is too pretty πŸ˜€ But yes, just ’cause they look ‘ugly’ doesn’t guarantee a beautiful performance. In any case, like Travis said, I give him credit for at least trying to be a good actor.

  10. Gordon-Levitt for sure. Nice one. I can’t back you up on Pattinson at all though. Sorry. Radcliffe will only get better. Saw him on Broadway a couple of years ago in “Equus” and he was fantastic. Nice list, girl…

    1. I was just recently sold on Pattinson myself, but I stand by what I said that he’s got great potential with the right script. WOW, you saw Equus on Broadway? Were there a lot of HP fans? No, I’m not gonna ask you how Daniel looks in his b’day suit πŸ™‚

  11. I’ve always liked Daniel Radcliffe, he has an awkward charisma that is charming without feeling overbearing. Playing Harry Potter probably helps with that though. Another interesting post Ruth. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Ronan! It’s amazing how much Daniel has grown (physically and as an actor), I hope to see more interesting roles for this talented young man.

    1. Yeah, the little tyke’s all grown up! He’s so boyish looking that he still looks about 14 or 15 though, but yeah, VERY talented kid indeed. So you must be excited for Wall Street 2 then, Shia was interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel a while ago and said he actually got into trading himself to prepare for the role and ended up making some profit!

      1. Talented and humble…that’s what I like the most about Freddie.

        Shia in wallstreet? hehe I didn’t know, the word wallstreet doesn’t make me interested at all, so I never checked who are in it. Now that I know Shia is in it, I’ll better check it out

  12. Christian

    If anyone is looking for a 13 year-old actress african-american 5ft.That is me please send me a e-mail because i’m looking for parts or plays movies anything i’m up for it please just give me a chance I CAN ACT

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