I saw this list on Variety on 10 Actors To Watch in 2015 and I realized I dropped the ball on this Actor Discoveries post last year. I mentioned in the first post back in 2012 that one of the joys of watching movies is discovering new talents. I planned on making this post an annual thing but alas, the last time I did this post was in 2013.
On that list, I included Lake Bell, Daniel Brühl, Riz Ahmed, Andrea Riseborough and David Oyelowo. Since then, most of them have been getting more prominent roles, with the exception of Riseborough which I think is so criminally under-utilized. Since I didn’t make a list last year, certainly Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Sam Reid would’ve made my 2014 shortlist.
So, based on this year’s viewings (not exclusive to movies released last year) , here are five new-to-me actors I’d like to see working more in Hollywood.
[In alphabetical order]
The Oscars not only dropped the ball on several counts when it comes to SELMA last year. Much was made about the omission of Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo from the nomination list, but I think Carmen Ejogo was equally deserving to be amongst the Best Supporting Actress nominees.
Like his co-star, she’s from the UK but she effortlessly portrayed an American. She’s been working in a variety of TV and film, so I feel kinda bad that I hadn’t seen her until this year. There’s a certain elegance and tortured soul about her that makes her so intriguing to watch. I’m hoping her career would benefit from the Oscar buzz and that she’d be getting more and more prominent roles.
What’s Next: Jazz biopic Born to Be Blue with Ethan Hawke
I noticed Jack Huston when I saw American Hustle, but it wasn’t until Night Train in Lisbon that I became a fan. Huston has quite a Hollywood pedigree, being the grandson of famed filmmaker John Huston and nephew of Anjelica Huston. But the 32-year-old Londoner is a talented actor in his own right.
I like that he has one of those *ethnically hard to pin down* look about him that makes him suitable to play different kinds of ethnicity. In Night Train to Lisbon he played a Portuguese doctor and an American mobster in American Hustle. As many actors who grew up in the UK, he’s got a knack for accents which makes him even more versatile. I wasn’t thrilled at all when they announced they’re remaking Ben-Hur, but since they cast Huston in the titular role, I’m actually intrigued! I’d love to see more of him in a variety of roles, as he’s far more interesting to watch than a lot of Hollywood A-listers working today.
What’s Next: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (as Mr. Wickham) and the Ben-Hur remake
My friend Ashley had told me about the Starz’s miniseries The White Queen a while back, but I haven’t got around to seeing it. Well, it’s on the top of my Amazon Prime queue now after I saw Rebecca in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. I really couldn’t shut up about how impressed I was with her in that role. It was surely a kick-ass performance but she didn’t just pull off the physicality of the role, but she elevates the role into so much more. She’s equally as intriguing as Tom Cruise if not more so, and no doubt she’s the most memorable part about that film.
As I’ve blogged about here, I’m thrilled to see her cast in The Girl on the Train and I’m glad she didn’t end up becoming Channing Tatum’s love interest in Gambit. She’s so much more interesting to be pigeonholed into action roles, and so I hope Hollywood realizes that.
What’s Next: She’ll be in the upcoming espionage drama Despite The Falling Snow. She’ll be starring with Sam Reid, wahoo!!
Sometimes it only takes a single film for you to become an instant fan of a performer. That’s the case with Sarah Snook, who single-handedly stole the time travel sci-fi film Predestination with her outstanding performance.
As I mentioned in my review, it was a revelatory performance from the Aussie actress whose educated at National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. It’s quite a complex role with multiple layers but it’s so rewarding to see how she tackles each one convincingly and with so much heart.
What’s Next: She has a small role in the Aussie-set drama starring Kate Winslet, The Dressmaker. She’s also in the Steve Jobs film with Michael Fassbender. I hope she lands a leading role soon, she deserves it!
Well I think this one doesn’t need much introduction if you’ve been reading my blog this year. I have mentioned him practically every week since I discovered him on April 5 in the Scottish rom-com Not Another Happy Ending (yes I even remembered the date!). It’s one of those spellbound moments that doesn’t happen very often, but once it did, well, it’s REALLY hard to snap out of it 😛
I’ve posted a full tribute for him here that list five of my favorite roles of his so far. It takes more than a pretty face for me to be obsessed with someone, and Stanley certainly is a dedicated actor who can handle stage, TV AND film roles, in fact that’s what he’s juggling this year alone. I LOVE actors who loves to mix things up and not afraid to look unglamorous for a role. It’d be tough to make this Frenchman look ugly though, I mean he’s still so beautiful even with THIS haircut for his upcoming role as a Jesuit priest in Pilgrimage.
What’s Next: I can’t freakin’ wait to see Stanley in STARZ’s Outlander season 2, the adventure drama Pilgrimage, and the French WWII drama L’origine de la violence. Hopefully all of them will be out next year!!
I hadn’t heard of any of these five impressive performers prior to 2015, but I’m glad I saw them and I hope they continue to find prominent roles in Hollywood.
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
The Swedish actress seems to have had quite an astronomical rise to stardom in Hollywood. She had been working in her native country until about 2012 when she was cast with Mads Mikkelsen in A Royal Affair. I didn’t see Anna Karenina until earlier this year on the plane, in which she had a small role, but it wasn’t until Ex Machina that I really took notice of her. She has this delicate physique but a formidable screen charisma that makes her so lovely to watch. It’s no surprise she is one busy girl, with three more films scheduled to open later this year, as well as the untitled Bourne film with Matt Damon next year.
Grigoriy Dobrygin (A Most Wanted Man)
As I was watching the John le Carré spy drama, one of the performances that intrigued me was by the actor who portrayed the mysterious Issa Karpov. I found out later that Dobrygin is a Russian actor who’s a classically-trained ballet dancer. He apparently won a Silver Bear award for Best Actor at Berlin Film Festival for Russian film How I Ended This Summer.
I definitely would love to see more of him in Hollywood, hopefully he will continue acting and not go back to go back to ballet. Per The Guardian, he has just finished on Susanna White’s Our Kind of Traitor, with Ewan McGregor, Damian Lewis and Naomie Harris.
Karidja Touré (Girlhood)
Another French actor who caught my eye and this was her feature film debut! The 21-year-old has that undeniable charm and screen presence on top of her acting talent. Her parents are from the Ivory Coast but she was born in France and grew up in Paris. I hope she’d get the same opportunities as fellow French actor from north African origin, Omar Sy, who had a breakout role in The Intouchables. He’s gone to big budget route such as Jurassic World, but I’d like to see Touré in smaller films that would offer her a chance to show what she’s capable of.
Maika Monroe (The Guest)
The Guest feature two awesome performances from relative newcomers. I’m already familiar with Dan Stevens from his period drama days in the UK, though most Americans probably saw him here for the first time. I hadn’t seen Monroe before however, and right away I thought she has an uncanny resemblance to Gwen Stefani. She also has that cool factor, that effortless swagger of a rock star that makes her fun to watch. She’s also in the buzzed-about horror flick It Follows, so I think the 22-year-old Californian has a long career ahead of her.
Taron Egerton (Kingsman)
Speaking of swagger, there’s plenty of that to be found on the 25-year-old Welsh native. There’s a devil-may-care attitude in him that I find endearing, which reminds me a bit of Tom Hardy when I first saw him on screen. I haven’t seen him in a serious drama yet so I’m curious to see how he fares in that. Hollywood’s certainly taken notice of him, as he’s been cast as the Robin Hood reboot. We’ll also see him along with Hardy in LEGEND later this year.
Matthias Schoenaerts (Far from the Madding Crowd)
The Belgian actor has been working pretty steadily since the early 2000s but for some reason I just never got around to seeing any of his films until earlier this year. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting him in the role of Gabriel Oak, a classic romantic hero in Victorian England, but he won me over with his sensitive portrayal. He’s all doe-eyed with a hint of smolder… not the steamy kind of smolder, but one infused with such sincerity that makes it easy to root for him. I said in my review that he reminds me a bit of Viggo Mortensen, and that’s a good thing. Curious to see what role he’d tackle next, but I probably should go back and check out his older films.
Thoughts on any of these actors? Are you a fan of their work?
30 thoughts on “Five new-to-me actors I’d love to see more of – based on 2015 viewings”
Great to see Sarah Snook get recognized. She blew me away in Predestination, look forward to what she can do in other types of roles.
Hello Tom! Oh I can’t NOT have her on the list, she’s phenomenal! I think she can handle a variety of roles if given the chance. She already looks so different in The Dressmaker.
Hi Ruth! Great work here. I totally agree on Rebecca Ferguson. I saw Testament of Youth, which stars Alicia Vikander and Taron Egerton, last week (so good!), and I’m really intrigued to see what happens with their careers.
Ooooh I really want to see Testament of Youth. I forgot Taron is in that as well. I will rent it for sure. Never seen anything by Kit Harrington as I don’t watch GoT but he’s massively popular.
I’m so with you on Ejogo! LOVE HER!!!
Go Ejogo!! [sorry can’t help myself] I’m REALLY surprised she’s not as busy as other black British actresses as she’s clearly very talented AND beautiful.
What a fun post, Ruth. I think they all are interesting. Rebecca Ferguson–I think she’s powerful on the screen. I hope she has a fruitful career. The new Julianne Moore? Taron Egerton does have a swagger. The verdict is still out for me. I’d be happy to see Stanley more since your initial ravings! 😉
Thanks Cindy! I still can’t believe I didn’t do this post last year since I discovered the lovely Gugu Mbatha-Raw. I actually like Ferguson more than Moore, well based on all the stuff I’ve seen Moore did. She’s a good actress, just not one of my faves. I’m curious to see what else Taron can do, but he’s showing much promise. As for Stanley, well I’ve seen him in nearly a dozen films now, and he’s played a French king, a Saxon warrior, a French publisher, a French artist/painter, an Italian psychopath, and a Portuguese sailor, among others. So yeah, he’s talented, versatile and VERRRY easy on the eye 😀
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I LOVE Jack Huston. He was amazing on Boardwalk Empire, he was my favorite character. He’s really good in Kill Your Darlings too.
YAY!! Glad to hear! I saw a clip of him as Richard Harrow in BE, that’s quite a juicy role! I can’t wait to see him in Kill Your Darlings, I also like Dan DeHaan whom I discovered last year in Chronicle.
I definitely would love to see Rebecca Ferguson in more leading roles, as long as her agents won’t send her scripts like potential junk like the Gambit movie. Hopefully she’ll have a healthy career in Hollywood for years to come.
Vikander and Egerton are the only other actors I’m familiar with, they’re young and as long as they choose the right scripts, they’ll have a good career in La La Land.
Rebecca seems to be making wise choices, I mean she turned down the Gambit role (or took herself out of consideration) and opt for The Girl on the Train. So yeah, hopefully Hollywood won’t waste her in damsel-in-distress types of roles.
Excellent choices Ruth, especially like your picks Sarah Snook and Rebecca Ferguson, who both gave amazing performances. Agree that Maika Monroe is also interesting. Although I didn’t immediately thought she looked like Gwen Stefani I get your point. She really has a convincing screen presence and was excellent in her role in The Guest.
Thanks Nostra. Actually a few people mentioned about the Gwen Stefani resemblance to me, and now that I thought about it, she certainly has a similar edgy-ness about her. I hope these three talented ladies get more prominent roles in Hollywood!
Vikander is right up there for me. She’s on a great run at the moment and it’s only a matter of time before she hits the next level. She’s also very beautiful which helps!
Hi Mark! I think out of these actors listed, Vikander is the one who’ve been discovered by Hollywood and I think she’ll go far. She is beautiful for sure, but there’s also something mysteriously alluring about her that not every pretty actress possesses.
Ruth– This is a great list. I especially like Rebecca. She’s my girl crush right now. I also really like Carmen. I first saw her years ago in a television movie about Sally Hemings. I knew she was something special then and now. I also enjoyed her work in ‘Purge 2.’ The Purge movies are actually better than most people think they are.
When I saw ‘A Most Wanted Man,’ the first thought I had was who is Grigoriy? He was incredible.
Hi Mariah! Yes Rebecca is my girl crush too now, and last year it was Gugu Mbatha-Raw. I’m surprised Carmen isn’t more famous, I mean she is obviously beautiful & talented, I hope she gets more roles in the future.
YES!! Someone else noticed Grigoriy in A Most Wanted Man!! He has that quiet grace about him. I thought he was a Brit or German actor, but when I found out he’s Russian AND a ballet dancer, wow that’s cool!!
I really hope Maika Monroe is gonna be big – she is so gorgeous and her movies are so great, I hope she continues to star in smaller, smart films like It Follows but it looks Hollywood already realized how hot she is and she is doing some gigantic movie next
Hi Margaret! It seems that the tendencies for young actors after they get discovered is to do big blockbusters. I mean I get that their agents probably push for that to get more exposure but yeah I hope she continues to do smaller films. She is fun to watch and definitely gorgeous!
Cool picks. Not super familiar with most of your 2015 choices, but I have to say I love your ones for 2013. I would love to see more from Alicia Vikander and especially Matthias Schoenaerts. He was superb in Rust and Bone.
Hi Fernando! I’m glad most of my 2013 actor discoveries are working steadily now. I still need to see more of Matthias’ work. Oh Rust & Bone is the one w/ Marion Cotillard right? LOVE her!
Yep. My favorite film of 2012. Marion is incredible in that, as well.
Stanley Weber… who thought he’d be on the list? 😝 Love Alicia Vikander and Mattias Schoenaarts.
Well he IS good in everything I’ve seen him so he absolutely deserves to be on my list. Looks alone can only get an actor so far, but luckily Stanley is so much more than a pretty face 😀
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