Best known this side of the Atlantic for his gritty and gut-wrenching performance as James Cook in Skins, O’Connell made it clear that he has the charisma and talent to carry a feature in David Mackenzie’s prison drama Starred Up. A take of $150.2 million at the box office for Unbroken proved that O’Connell can carry a major motion picture. Expect to see more of the man who introduced himself to our screens by showing the teachers in Skins the tattoo on his penis.
With only five feature film credits to her name, you could be forgiven for thinking that Shailene Woodley is nothing but a newcomer, but since her breakout as Alex King in The Descendants, Woodley’s star has only risen. Showing a keen eye for the balance between blockbusters and indie darlings, her performance in The Spectacular Now beside fellow future superstar Miles Teller remains her career highlight to this date. With Woodley rumoured to be playing Edward Snowden’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills in Oliver Stone’s upcoming project about the WikiLeaks scandal, that may be about to change.
Michael B. Jordan
Best remembered as the tragic Wallace and the inspirational Vince in cult shows The Wire and Friday Night Lights, Jordan’s star has steadily risen since Vince Howard threw that state championship-winning touchdown pass. Winner of five awards for his portrayal of Oscar Grant, a man fatally shot by police in Oakland, California, in Fruitvale Station, Howard looks set to step into the mainstream with this year’s Fantastic Four reboot. 20th Century Fox showed bravery in casting a black actor as the Human Torch (yes it is ridiculous that this is considered brave, but the reality is that it unfortunately is to be considered so), the smart money’s on their gamble paying off.
Not an on-screen talent like the three above, but last year’s debut Dear White People showed Justin Simien to be one of the most exciting young directors and screenwriters in film today. Following on in the footsteps of Spike Jonze in making what he refers to as “these types of black movies”, the mixture of biting satire and the search for identity in Dear White People, while not perfect, was enough evidence that we might be witnessing the start of something special.
Odrán de Bhaldraithe
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