Name: Luke Evans
Born: April 1979 in Pontypool, Wales, UK
Credits: Immortals / The Three Musketeers / Robin Hood / Clash of the Titans
Interest: I first noticed Luke Evans when he was cast as the god Apollo in the remake of Clash of the Titans. Here was an unknown actor who had to stand toe-to-toe against Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. His name really didn’t register when he was cast and after the film hardly was ever mentioned. He then played a thug in Ridley Scott’s extremely painful Robin Hood.
Then there was Luc Besson’s Three Musketeers and Tarsem Singh’s Immortals. But really Hollywood never mentioned the man’s name unless they were talking about loincloths and togas. Evans is going to be the next Viggo Mortensen mark my words.
Future projects: In 2012, Evans will guide John Cusack’s Edgar Allan Poe on a hunt for a serial killer in this March’s The Raven. There is no mention if Evans will be in the Clash of the Titans sequel. I am guessing he does uncredited.
After that next Christmas, Evans will become the iconic Tolkien hero Bard the Bowman in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit films. Bard is as important to that story as Aragorn was important to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I think he’s Jackson’s best kept secret when casting the Rings films. Evans will be huge after The Hobbit and we are gonna see a lot of this actor.
What he needs to succeed: He’s doing it. He is poised to take Hollywood by storm and really he’s got the potential for blue chip stock possibility. When Jackson cast him he probably said here’s Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen all rolled into one. Evans has got the looks and the talent for the long haul.
Name: Taylor Kitsch
Born: April 8, 1981 in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
Credits: Bang Bang Club / X-Men Origins: Wolverine / The Covenant / Friday Night Lights
Interest: I first noticed Taylor Kitsch in The Covenant. He was probably one of the best reasons to see the movie if you have to. He made an impact. But it was Friday Night Lights that really proved he was an actor.
Kitsch for me was one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed Friday Night Lights so much week to week. He surprised me. When he is the huge football star and the attitude to match, you really hated the guy. Then slowly the writers ripped apart his character bit by bit starting with his family. The longer the series went on the more we were concerned if Kitsch would find his way. Friday Night Lights was one of those series that was just too good for TV. It is one that I hope even more viewers find on DVD or in reruns. It was magical. I wish I could go back and rediscover the show all over again because it was such a strong ride.
Friday Night Lights lasted from 2006 to 2011 but fell to satellite TV for its last three season. While Kitsch was waiting for the series to end he starred in some forgettable films like Gospel Hill with Danny Glover and Bang, Bang Club with Ryan Phillippe. The only movie he did away from FNL that put him on the Hollywood radar was X-Men Origins: Wolverine where he played the Marvel Comics hero Gambit.
Future projects: 2012 is the year of the Kitsch. This year will either make or break the star. He is front in centre in two of the year’s potentially biggest films. First up is the reimagining of Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars epic, John Carter, directed by Andrew Stanton (Wall-E). Kitsch plays the titular hero who is accidentally transported to Mars and becomes involved in a civil war. The book was written in 1917, almost a century ago, which means that it has influenced almost all sci-fi up to this point in pop culture including the heavily inspired AVATAR. After that Kitsch will star alongside Liam Neeson and Rihanna as they battle aliens in the Hasbro game adaptation, Battleship, directed by Peter Berg. If these two movies are the hits Hollywood hopes (at least they aren’t sequels or remakes) then Kitsch will suddenly become a Hollywood A-lister.
What he needs to succeed: There is one thing Kitsch could work on to better prepare him to branch out his career and that’s working on accents. The two times he has needed an accent he kind of crumbled. His accent was atrocious in Wolverine and even worse in Bang, Bang Club. Invest, Mr Kitsch in your career long term. You are pushing 40 those good guy looks can only take you so far. This year is going to a testing ground for Kitsch. If the Hollywood system works then he’s poised to explode. But for every Jeremy Renner there is a Gerard Butler.
Name: Andrew Russell Garfield
Born: August 20, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA
Credits: The Social Network / Never Let Me Go / The Other Boleyn Girl / Lions for Lambs
Interest: When I went to see The Social Network in 2010, I already knew Garfield had been cast as Spider-Man so while you are watching you are wondering if he will make a good Spider-Man. Is he dorky enough? His performance in the film was quite restrained and yes he was an awkward nerd but was he enough to be Peter Parker.
Fanboys were up in arms when Andrew Garfield was cast as Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man reboot because he was British. It was interesting to learn that in fact he was raised in England but was actually born in the US. American fanboys gotta hate that little piece of trivia.
He hasn’t made another film since Social Network. He has been tied down with closely developing Spider-Man with director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and then the reshoots for the film. There is a two-year gap in his career which is an eternity for the gossip rags. Spider-Man is going to break or make this guy’s career.
Future projects: The Amazing Spider-Man, the reboot of the superhero franchise, is scheduled to drop in the summer of 2012 and ranked as the third or fourth most anticipated film of the year. But will it have the strength to open as well as the previous three films? Will fans embrace a reboot not even a decade after the last film? It is a gamble but the studio does have faith since a sequel is already prepped for 2014 and Garfield is signed for a minimum of three films.
What he needs to succeed: Besides Spider-Man, Garfield’s resume has been pretty cold. He is starring in a low scale drama called Back Roads with Jennifer Garner and directed by Adrian Lyne. But besides that he’s not that busy. I think this is a sign to see how Spider-Man does and shows Garfield isn’t a proven commodity just yet. What can he do? Get his face and name out there! Do another project even if he isn’t headlining before Spider-Man 2 begins filming.
Name: Joshua Ryan Hutcherson
Born: October 12, 1992 in Union, Kentucky, USA
Credits: Kids Are All Right / Journey to the Center of the Earth / Bridge to Terabithia / Zathura / Kicking & Screaming
Interest: I first noticed Josh Hutcherson as the son of Will Ferrell in the 2006 soccer comedy Kicking and Screaming. Hutcherson has been kicking around Hollywood for over seven years now and he’s always one of those actors who plays the kid to some star or some misunderstood teen.
I remember him opposite Kirsten Stewart in Zathura, the sequel to Jumanji, directed by Jon Favreau. He was in the family films Bridge to Terabithia, Firehouse Dog and Journey to the Center of the Earth.
He was even in Cirque Du Freak. The interesting thing about Cirque was if Hutcherson would have played the lead in the film then I bet the film would have done miles better at the box office. He also did a really great performance in The Kids Are All Right with Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.
What broke the mold for me when it came to Josh Hutcherson as a potential leading man was when he publicly auditioned for the lead role in The Amazing Spider-Man back in 2010. Sony had just announced that they were going to reboot the franchise and Josh Hutcherson publicly stated he wanted to be considered. He released his audition tape to Youtube and it caused a stir among the fanboy community. You can watch it HERE. He didn’t get the role but the audacity to go after something like that so publicly really made me stand up and notice him.
Future projects: Hutcherson will star alongside The Rock next month in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island where he carries on the Journey franchise without Brendan Fraser. In March, he will star alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the heavily anticipated The Hunger Games which he was cast in not long after he released his Spider-Man audition tape. And finally later this year we will see him star with Chris Hemsworth in the remake of Red Dawn.
What he needs to succeed: Hutcherson has the gall and charisma to make it in Hollywood but its all going to come down to the success of Hunger Games. He never backs away from a challenge so Hunger Games is a great gamble for him.
Name: Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill
Born: May 5, 1983 in Jersey, Channel Islands
Credits: Immortals / Whatever Works / Stardust / Tristan + Isolde / The Tudors
Interest: Cavill has been kicking around Hollywood since as early as 2001.
In 2002, he played Guy Pearce’s brother in The Count of Monte Cristo. Then had significant roles in Tristan + Isolde, Stardust and Whatever Works almost five years later.
It wasn’t until Cavill donned the leotards and high collars again for the epic Showtime series The Tudors that I really started to notice him. Cavill played one of Henry the 8th’s brother-in-law and friend. Cavill’s performance alongside Jonathan Rhys Meyers made the show electric. Cavill was more the straight man to outlandish style of Meyers but his performances were just as engaging.
Cavill’s performance in the hit series led him to be cast in the mythological epic Immortals co-starring Luke Evans and Freida Pinto. Cavill was at the heart of the film as the hero Theseus who has to slay many creatures and disturbed men in the film. It was his presence on-screen that led Zack Snyder to try him out in the Superman suit. And boom we have a worthy candidate to carry on the legacy of Christopher Reeve.
Future projects: I might be saying this exact same thing come 2013. Cavill is a star on the rise but his real big break thru film Zack Snyder’s reboot of Superman, Man of Steel doesn’t come out until Summer 2013. I still say he is the biggest name to be thrown around Hollywood at the moment. Even though he only has one movie coming in 2013, Cold Light of Day in April. I really can’t wait for a trailer for Man of Steel since it has been in production for what seems like forever now. But given that one promo photo of Cavill in the costume and Nolan’s supervision, it is already one of the most anticipated superhero film post-Avengers and Dark Knight Rises.
What he needs to succeed: It would be nice to see more of Cavill before Man of Steel arrives and with such a long gap in projects it does threaten his image in the public eye. Like Andrew Garfield, Cavill is taking a huge risk by doing Man of Steel. But I just have a feeling that this Superman film is going to work vs. Bryan Singer’s limp 2006 version. Sadly we have a year and a half to find out.