It feels strange to herald Hailee Steinfeld as a fresh cinematic supernova, considering her Oscar nominated turn as True Grit’s Mattie Ross was as far back as 2010. Since then she has carved out a wonderful niche as a supporting actress, often stealing the films from under the nose of the likes of Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect 2), whilst also sustaining what the kids tell me is a pretty good pop career.
She isn’t alone in terms of adolescent ascension to the big-screen. There are a raft of young talented actors clamouring to be a part of the next generation. Swerving the obvious firmly established stars, such as Tom Holland, J-Law, or K-Stew, we take a look at the next wave of names that’ll be abbreviated to text speech before you know it.
Nominated for this year’s BAFTA Rising Star award, Taylor-Joy cast a spell on audiences in Robert Egger’s The Witch. Carrying that film to places (campfire lunacy and talking sheep) which could have derailed audience investment had she not been so damned hypnotic to watch.
It was then backed up with M. Night Shyamalan’s sleeper hit, Split, in which she held her own in the shadow of James McAvoy’s grandstanding performance. Taylor-Joy seems to have that unerring ability to say more with those dark eyes than most actors could with reams of dialogue. Up next is, at the time of writing, 100% Rotten Tomatoes rated Thoroughbred, which appears to be another indication that Taylor-Joy will fast become synonymous with quality cinema.
We need to talk about Ezra Miller. The wider audience will know him from the briefest of cameos in Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, which preface his oft-delayed solo outing as Barry Allen, aka The Flash. Or perhaps from that Justice League Comic-Con trailer, in which he was some much needed levity in that po-faced universe. We’ll finally get to see him don the red suit when that film is released in November, so for now we’ll look upon his past glories for an indication of the bright future.
He was underused in Fantastic Beasts, but thrived as Emma Watson’s confidante in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, honing his off-kilter charm and awkward vulnerability. However, it was Lynne Ramsay’s bleak domestic drama in which he made the most indelible impression. So much about that film haunts your waking thoughts, and most of that can be attributed to Miller’s dead-eyed performance.
Already on the radar thanks to YA weepy, The Fault in Our Stars, Elgort has also had a stab at Sci-Fi fare with the law of diminishing returns Divergent series. Baby Driver was the talk of SXSW (read our review here), and it appears his brand of cool had a lot to do with that. Who needs a Millennium Falcon and Chewbacca when you have a red Subaru and Lily James?
LOST fans will recognise Minnette for his season 6 appearance as Jack Shephard’s alt-verse son, and it’s his return to the small screen that warrants his inclusion on this list, headlining this month’s Netflix drama, 13 Reasons Why. In it he plays Clay, a young boy dealing with the fallout of the suicide of his high school crush, who has left behind thirteen audio tapes detailing her depression.
It’ll cap a decent twelve months for the young Goosebumps actor, who also starred in 2016’s sleeper hit, Don’t Breathe, and up next he can be seen alongside an all-star cast in James Franco’s much talked about directorial effort, The Disaster Artist.
Also fresh from working with James Franco on 2018’s The Pretenders is Shameik Moore. Dope was a breakout movie for so much incredible talent, including Zoe Kravitz, (who almost made this rundown) and Kiersey Clemons, but as Malcolm, the geek from the street, Moore was the heart of Rick Famuyiwa’s film.
The 21 year-old then packed away his twitchy nervousness, but continued the hood life subversion, to play a different kind of cool in Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix opus, The Get Down. For all of that show’s flabby showing off, it was Moore’s Shaolin Fantastic who soared above the beats and visual tics every time he leapt onscreen. He almost makes you want to sit through a second season, which will stream from 7th April 2017.
Ever since she had us transfixed on that train platform in J.J. Abrams Super 8, Elle Fanning has held our gaze. Dakota’s little sister is one of those rarest of actors whose mere appearance in a film will exponentially increase its quality. Bringing a quiet sadness to all of her roles, whether it’s fluff such as We Bought a Zoo, divisive rubbish/genius like The Neon Demon, or this year’s criminally underrated 20th Century Women, she has talent beyond her years, and a real unforced star quality.
Next up, amongst a slew of titles listed on her imdb page, Fanning can be seen playing the titular character in Frankenstein biography, Mary Shelley.
It’s clear to see, the Kids Are Alright.
Catch up with Hailee Steinfeld with The Edge of Seventeen, out to Download from Saturday and on DVD Monday 27th March