For every Jake
this summer, there are countless actors trying to become those household names -- and ‘tis the season for the latter to propel themselves to the former; for a ‘That’s that guy from that movie’ to become a ‘No last name necessary.’ Here are the up-and-comers -- not to be confused with unknowns -- we expect to take one giant leap forward during Blockbuster Season 2010.
Where You’ve Seen Him: In Death at a Funeral, the (British) version that nobody saw. Indeed, more than likely you’ll recognize this Brit from his lead role as Darcy, opposite Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth, in the critically beloved 2005 adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Depending on TV viewers’ degree of anglophilia -- and cable package -- he’ll also ring a bell with fans of the BBC show MI-5.
Soon to Break Out In: Robin Hood. He plays a pretty central role (the Sheriff of Nottingham) … alongside some pretty big names (Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett) … in a pretty highly anticipated flick. Pretty good summer.
Next Up: A lead role in Michael Winterbottom’s political thriller The Promised Land and an almost-wrapped TV adaptation of Ken Follett’s book series The Pillars of the Earth.
Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson
Where You’ve Seen Him: In the ring, as a champion mixed martial artist primarily in the Ultimate Fighting Championship league. Those with an eagle eye might’ve also spotted his brief appearances on both the big (Miss March) and small (King of Queens) screen.
Soon to Break Out In: The A-Team. Rampage is stepping in for Mr. T as Sgt. B.A. “Bad Attitude” Baracus in the Joe Carnahan-directed update of the TV show of the same name. Not a bad breakout gig.
Next Up: As of now, it’ll be a steady diet of A-Team promotion and more UFC fights (including a long-delayed bout with Rashad Evans). And probably some protein powder.
Where You’ve Seen Him: As a surprisingly credible and emotion-provoking son to his real-life father, Will Smith, in The Pursuit of Happyness; as an unsurprisingly annoying supporting character in the neo, er, Neo Day the Earth Stood Still; and on many a red carpet with Will and Jada.
Soon to Break Out In: The Karate Kid. And is he not a twin of the original Danielson, Ralph Macchio?! All kidding aside, the reboot of the franchise ushers in a whole new vibe -- not to mention character name: Dre -- and little Jaden has landed the most coveted role in the ‘tweenage-acting circle. Because, well … franchise potential!
Next Up: Jaden will probably have his pick of the litter as far as roles, but he apparently remains attached to the long-dormant, Will-produced action-adventure movie Amulet.
Where You’ve Seen Him: You probably haven’t. Anywhere. Ever. Unless you’re a family member or friend -- or casting director.
Soon to Break Out In: The Last Airbender. Ringer,12, landed the lead role -- and his first of any kind -- after a casting call conducted by Airbender director M. Night Shyamalan, who knows a thing or two about picking the right child actors. Ringer plays Aang, who must stop the Fire nation from enslaving the Air, Water and Earth nations. Much more simply put, though, he’s carrying the movie.
Next Up: His high-profile Airebender role helped him snag a part in one of Hollywood’s buzziest preproduction asset, Cowboys & Aliens.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Where You’ve Seen Her: Where haven’t you seen her? She’s been in everything from bad horror (Black Christmas) to bad TV (the justifiably short-lived Wolf Lake), but Winstead’s meatiest role to date came as the lead in 2006’s Final Destination 3. Her key, albeit brief, turn as a pseudo-cheerleader in Quentin Tarantino’s half of Grindhouse was easily her coolest flick -- until now.
Soon to Break Out In: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. She’s had plenty of opportunities to bust out of relative anonymity, but Winstead has never been gifted with a character like heartbreaker/sorta-superheroine Ramona V. Flowers, a role to potentially endear her to the fanboy contingency for all eternity.
Next Up: It’s safe to assume she’s already fielding offers, but in the meantime she’ll be the lead damsel-in-distress in the remake of John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Where You’ve Seen Her: If you’re a Briton, almost everywhere, for a good while now -- but for Americans she burst onto the scene quickly and, well, hotly, as Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace. We recently caught another glimpse of Arterton in the not-so-little remake of Clash of the Titans, currently raking in the box office dough. So, yeah, file her under “Set for a Major Breakout.”
Soon to Break Out In: Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. She matches Jake Gyllenhaal in not only the looks department but also in screen time -- well, almost. Arterton plays a high priestess in the Bruckheimerized video-game adaptation, which really could be headed for Pirates of the Caribbean-like big things; a theme-park ride seems like a foregone conclusion even before Prince of Persia has been released.
Next Up: So far, just Stephen Frears’ quaint Tamara Drewe, a much smaller adaptation, by comparison, than Persia. But she’ll have to keep her schedule open for an all-but-guaranteed franchise situation.
Where You’ve Seen Her: As one of the few survivors in I Am Legend (one of the others, of course, being Will Smith) and more recently starring opposite Jude Law in March’s Repo Men. In the past two years, she has also appeared in the star-studded dud Crossing Over, the uber- weird Blindness, and David Mamet’s Redbelt.
Soon to Break Out In: Predators. The Brazilian actress plays a Special Forces sniper-turned-jungle prey in the conceived-last-century sequel to the onetime Schwarzenegger vehicle, co-produced by Robert Rodriguez. Braga is pretty much front and center, for the first time in her career.
Next Up: No roles lined up just yet.
Where You’ve Seen Him: Unless you’ve paid close attention to the end credits on Shrek the Third or a few episodes of SpongeBob Squarepants, or you’re in the DreamWorks inner circle, you’ve probably never heard of, let alone seen, Dohrn. He has heretofore only worked behind the scenes, and often very behind the scenes.
Soon to Break Out In: Shrek Forever After. Dohrn’s first-ever “starring” role (aside from a tiny voice part in the previous Shrek installment) is a biggie -- and it came about only after DreamWorks bigwig Jeffrey Katzenberg found Dohrn’s voice irresistible as a placeholder in an early version of this summer’s big fourquel. He’s the villainous Rumpelstiltskin!
Next Up: Don’t be surprised if Dohrn seamlessly slips back into his behind-the-scenes comfort zone following Shrek-mania. But also don’t be surprised if the vocally gifted animator turns up in other non-live-actioners down the road!