the top ten young actors taking the movie industry by storm

From Robert Pattinson's transformation from vampire to buzz cut in The Rover, Jamie Dornan's super-male-model to the lead in the steamy 50 Shades of Grey and Jack O'Connell's British lad to Hollywood star in Angelina Jolie's latest film Unbroken, the...

by Tom Seymour
12 August 2014, 11:15am

Matt Jones

Michael B. Jordan
"Where's Wallace String?" Jordan broke through as Wallace from The Wire, the project hopper with the wide eyes and the big heart, used as pawn by Avon Barksdale's Baltimore cartel. Now 27, the Californian is slowly making his way towards the big time. He plays The Human Torch in the latest rendition of The Fantastic Four series, and sparked a national debate with his portrayal of Oscar Grant, the black man only two weeks older than Jordan, who was murdered by police on New Years Eve, 2009, at Fruitvale Station (which became the title for the film). 

Grigoriy Dobrygin
Dobrygin, 27, is currently unheard of in Western cinema. He grew up in Kamchatka Krai, a "federal subject" of Russia on the far-eastern seaboard, whose ethnically diverse peoples have traditionally been subjugated by Moscow. Not many people from Kamchatka Krai make it in the movie business, so expect to hear a lot about Dobrygin. He's pivotal to the success of A Most Wanted Man, the Anton Corbijn-directed terrorist-procedural starring Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final role. Dobrygin plays the 'is he, isn't he' Chechnyan dissident, and he's briefly equal, on the screen, to the finest actor of his generation. He's currently shooting opposite Jude Law in Kevin Macdonald's new "submarine thriller" Black Sea. Expect more. 

Jamie Dornan
Slowed-down Beyoncé, Sam Taylor-Johnson aping Basic Instinct, Dakota Johnson with bangles. Yes, it's 50 Shades of Grey. Jamie Dornan is Christian Grey, the rich businessman whose effortless good looks have somehow sustained all the 14-hour shifts, cocaine binges, the global financial crisis and the sheer misery of hanging out with other really rich people all the time. If the 32-year-old from the Belfast suburbs who dropped out of Teesside University to move to London to try and chase the acting dream may make his name via handcuffs, lashes and silk ties, he's not going to dine out on it. He's already signed up to play Irish Commandant Pat Quinlan on a thriller based on the 1961 siege of 150 UN Irish soldiers, who held off 3,000 local militia in the Congo after the Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba was assassinated. His tastes, it seems, are very singular. You wouldn't understand. 

Jack O'Connell
The bad lad from Derby will, despite his best intentions, always be drug-dealing, girl-playing James Cook for a lot of twenty-somethings who's teenage years were wasted away by E4's Skins. But anyone lucky enough to have seen Starred Up this year will realise what a stunningly good leading man O'Connell has become. O'Connell plays a lost cause, lethally violent, deeply traumatised teenager who is starring up - that is, moving from a juvenile facility to a maximum security penitentiary full of the most hardened cons. Try and rip your eyes from him. Angelina Jolie evidently couldn't, because she cast him as the lead in her new film, a survival story called Unbroken

Kodi Smit McPhee
The Boy in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, whom Robert Duvall's blind man mistakes for an angel, the Adelaide-born McPhee also starred opposite Chloe Moretz in Matt Reeves' take on Let The Right One In. Now 18, he's backing up a small role in Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes with a lead role opposite Michael Fassbender in John Maclean's period thriller Slow West

Jack Huston
Jack Huston has royal blood. He's the grandson of John Huston and nephew of Danny Huston. Trace it back, and Huston's descended from Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. But the 31-year-old, who lives in New York with his wife and small child, hasn't found fame as early as others - that's not to say it won't come. He's still best known for a performance that doesn't even show his whole face - The Tin Man/Richard Harrow, in HBO's Boardwalk Empire, a traumatised WW1 veteran turned lethal assassin. Huston injected so much life into the Beatnik movie Kill Your Darlings, playing Jack Kerouac opposite Daniel Radcliffe's Allen Ginsberg. He's next seen in Lulu Wang's Posthumous, starring opposite Brit Marling.

John Boyega
John Boyega, the 21-year-old from Peckham, first broke out as the silently charismatic Moses in Joe Cornish's Attack the Block. Early this year, he premiered his new film Imperial Dreams at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, and was heralded as a genuine A-list star. Boyega is the youngest of a new vanguard of black British actors to push at a long-held status quo; that mainstream movies don't have to reflect the perspectives of the white majority and he made headlines this year when he was cast in J.J. Abrams' adaption of Star Wars

Anton Yelchin
Anton Viktorovich Yelchin, 25, was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the son of a pair figure skaters of the Leningrad Ice Ballet for 15 years, who left Russia in exile because of their Jewish heritage. He has acted in feature movies and TV series' since he was nine years old. His biggest films include Zack Mazursky in Alpha Dog, Pavel Chekov in the modern installment of Star Trek, and Kyle Reese in the (pretty dreadful) modern reboot Terminator: Salvation, and Fright Night (2011). But he's also finding his niche in independent cinema, with the Japanese film Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (2010) and the improvised film Like Crazy, in which he has the difficult choice of holding down a long distance relationship with Felicity Jones, or just plumping for his homegirl Jennifer Lawrence. He currently has six films in the works, each independent, among them Dying of the Light, directed by Paul Schrader and starring Nicolas Cage. 

Hunter McCracken
Not much is known about Hunter McCracken, beyond the fact he put in one of the greatest performances from a child actor in recent years, in Terence Malick's semi-autobiographical, and almost too beautiful Tree of Life. The film was released over three years ago, yet it remains his one and only acting credit. May this be a call of action. Hunter, if you're out there somewhere, please make another movie. 

Robert Pattinson

The weirder the role, the better he gets. Twilight earned R-Patz enough money to cancel out world debt, so here's hoping he never gets sucked in again. Keep working with Cronenberg, lad. Keep keeping us guessing. The mainstream might have chewed him up, but he spat himself out. Werner Herzog's next, and I for one can't wait. 


Text Tom Seymour
Photography Alastair McLellan, Olivia Rose, William Selden and Matt Jones

Think Pieces
Robert Pattinson
Tom Seymour
John Boyega
William Selden
Anton Yelchin
Michael B. Jordan
Alasdair McLellan
Jack Huston
Jamie Dornan
matt jones
jack o'connell
olivia rose
grigoriy dobrygin
hunter mccracken
kodi smit mcphee