For the past few years, there has been a surge of novels–turned–films targeted at both teenagers and adults. However, the film adaptation of young adults novels and coming-of-age films have always been the ones that introduced us to some young, new actors with great potential to excel in their acting career. Some of these actors were even in the entertainment industry since they were kids and their acting skills have only gotten better with time.
These younger actors are lucky to realise their dream earlier than the rest, but for those who started acting in their twenties, they’ve succeeded in surprising the audience with their breakthrough performances through the TV series or the feature films they’ve starred in. These young actors will be fondly remembered for their memorable film roles.
Without further ado, check out the young actors that you might be seeing a lot of in the coming years:
1. Isaac Hempstead-Wright
- Age: 15 (April 9, 1999)
- Film debut: “The Awakening” (2011)
- TV debut: “Game of Thrones” (2011)
- Upcoming films/TV series: –
Most of us know Isaac Hempstead-Wright for his breakthrough role as Bran Stark in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. In the TV series, he’s always seen together with his trusted companion, Hodor (played by Kristian Nairn). Little did most people know, the young actor actually started acting in some TV commercials way before he was known as Bran Stark. He studied acting at the Kent Youth Theatre in Canterbury, England and made his screen debut through the British horror film, “The Awakening”.
His breakthrough role in “Game of Thrones” earned him various prestigious award nominations including Screen Actors Guild Awards, Young Artist Awards, and Scream Awards. In 2013, Isaac reunited with “The Awakening” actress Rebecca Hall for the British-American crime thriller “Closed Circuit”. Just recently, the actor provided the voice for the character Eggs in the American 3D stop motion animated fantasy-comedy film “The Boxtrolls” , a film based on the novel “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow.
2. Tye Sheridan
- Age: 18 (November 11, 1996)
- Film debut: “The Tree of Life” (2011)
- TV debut: “Last Man Standing” (2014)
- Upcoming films/TV Series: “Last Days in the Desert” (2014), “Dark Places” (2015), “Scouts vs. Zombies” (2015), “Entertainment” (2015), “The Yellow Birds”, “The Stanford Prison Experiment” (Unknown)
At the age of 18, Tye Sheridan’s professional acting career outshone others because of his appearance in films that also starred other award-winning actors. The actor made his screen debut as the youngest son of Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain through Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” in 2011. Having only acted in numerous plays in his school, the actor has the potential to be an all-time great as he was chosen out of 10,000 boys for his debut role.
However, his big break only came when he was cast as Ellis in Jeff Nichols’ “Mud“. Both Sheridan and his co-star Jacob Lofland played their roles superbly, displaying a sense of maturity in their personalities. The film also starred award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon. Due to his outstanding performances in “Mud” and “Joe” (also starred Nicolas Cage), the young actor received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for best upcoming young actor at 70th Venice International Film Festival. Some of his highly-anticipated films include “Dark Places” (starring Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Nicholas Hoult), “Last Days in the Desert” (starring Ewan McGregor, Ciarán Hinds, and Ayelet Zurer) and the film adaptation of Kevin Powers’ novel, “The Yellow Birds” (starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Poulter).
3. Ezra Miller
- Age: 22 (September 30, 1992)
- Film debut:”Afterschool” (2008)
- TV debut: “Californication” (2008)
- Upcoming films/TV series: “Trainwreck” (2015), “The Stanford Prison Experiment” (2015), “The Flash” (2018)
When Warner Bros announced that Ezra Miller will play The Flash in the DC Cinematic Universe, the reactions ranged from confusion to disbelief to disappointment. Most people were confused about Warner Bros and DC’s decision to cast Miller as The Flash because another actor, Grant Gustin was already playing The Flash in DC’s TV Universe.
However, it should be exciting to see the lad in a superhero role as he was known for his outstanding performances in films such as “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson) and “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (starring Tilda Swinton).
His professional acting career began through his performance in the US premiere of Philip Glass’s contemporary opera “White Raven”. His performance in the opera helped him score a TV debut through Showtime’s series, “Californication”, and a film debut through Antonio Campos’s “Afterschool”. He is often described as an indie darling after appearing as a troubled teen in various independent films. Besides “Another Happy Day”, his portrayal of a troubled teen in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” won him praises from critics and he eventually became a Cannes Film Festival sensation.
While he’s not working as an actor, Miller sings and plays the drum for his band called “Sons of an Illustrious Father”. He has also labeled himself as queer but specifically said that “the way he would choose to identify himself wouldn’t be gay” and has been “attracted mostly to ‘shes’”.
4. Thomas Brodie-Sangster
- Age: 24 (May 16, 1990)
- Film debut: “Love Actually” (2003)
- TV debut: “Station Jim” (2001)
- Upcoming films: “Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” (2015), “Thunderbirds Are Go!” (2015)
Despite his short-lived appearance in “Game of Thrones”, British actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster is well known for his role as Jojen Reed in the HBO hit TV series. It came as no surprise that he has an interest in both music and acting as his father is a musician and film editor. He has been playing the bass and the guitar since a young age but in the feature film “Nowhere Boy”, he played a left-handed guitar to portray the left-handed Paul McCartney.
“Nowhere Film” is not his debut film though, as he has previously debuted through his role as Sam in Richard Curtis’ “Love Actually”. He also made various TV appearances and was the voice of Ferb Fletcher in Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb”. After his role as Jojen Reed in “Game of Thrones”, the actor had another breakthrough moment through his role as Newt in the 2014 film, “The Maze Runner“.
5. Alfred Enoch
- Age: 26 (December 2, 1988)
- Film debut: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)
- TV debut: “National Theatre Live” (2012)
- Upcoming films/TV Series: “How to Get Away with Murder” (2014-2015)
Potterheads should be able to recognise Alfred Enoch through his recurring role as Dean Thomas in the “Harry Potter” film series. He started playing Dean Thomas since he was 11 years old and has appeared in 7 of the 8 “Harry Potter” films. He went on appearing in several plays throughout London and made cameo appearances in several television series including “Sherlock”, “Broadchurch”, and “Mount Pleasant”.
However, the actor is better known for his leading role as one of the many law students in the American serial legal drama series, “How to Get Away With Murder”. Produced by Shonda Rhimes, the series is about a distinctive criminal defense professor (played by Viola Davis) who becomes involved in a twisted murder plot, alongside her group of ambitious law students. In the series, Enoch plays Wes Gibbins who desperately tries to impress his professor.
6. Michael B.Jordan
- Age: 27 (February 9, 1987)
- Film debut: “Hardball” (2001)
- TV debut: “The Sopranos” (1999)
- Upcoming films/TV series: “Creed”, “The Fantastic Four” (2015), “The Fantastic Four 2” (2017)
When The Hollywood Reporter film critic Todd McCarthy wrote that Michael B.Jordan reminded him of “a young Denzel Washington“, you know this young actor is definitely the one to look out for. Despite his longevity in showbiz, the actor is experiencing a steady rise in fame after his outstanding performance as Oscar Grant, a shooting victim in Ryan Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station”.
He has since become one of Time‘s 30 people under 30 who are changing the world and was named one of 2013’s Breakout Stars by Entertainment Weekly and GQ. He was also named one of the actors to watch by People and Variety. Other than “Fruitvale Station”, Jordan is also known for his role as a teenage drug dealer, Wallace in HBO’s “The Wire”. In 2012, both Dane DeHaan and himself cinched leading roles in the American science fiction thriller film, “Chronicle”. Having guest-starred in various TV series, Jordan had a leading role as Vince Howard in the NBC drama “Friday Night Lights” and a recurring role as Haddie Braverman’s love interest in the NBC show “Parenthood”. In 2015, Jordan will play The Human Torch in the reboot of “The Fantastic Four”.
7. Evan Peters
- Age: 27 (January 20, 1987)
- Film debut: “Clipping Adam” (2004)
- TV debut: “The Days” (2004)
- Upcoming films/TV series: “X-Men: Apocalypse” (2016), “Lazarus” (2015), “Safelight” (2015), American Horror Story (2011-2015)
Before appearing as Quicksilver in “X-Men: Days of Future Past“, Evan Peters was already the talk in town for his breakthrough performances in Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story”. From a teenage sociopathic murderer Tate Langdon to a wrongly accused murderer Kit Walker, to a frat boy-turned monster Kyle Spencer, Evan Peters is one of the most versatile actors in his generation.
However, it was his role as Adam Sheppard in “Clipping Adam” that earned him an award for “Best Breakthrough Performance” at the Phoenix Film Festival. He has also appeared in several TV commercials and most recently appeared in Carl’s Jr’s in his “X-Men” role:
“American Horror Story” isn’t the only TV series he had appeared in as he was previously seen in “The Days as Cooper Day”, “Invasion”, “One Tree Hill”, “Phil of the Future”, “The Mentalist”, “The Office” and so on. One of his famed characters in a film is Todd Haynes, the main character’s best friend in “Kick-Ass” but he did not reprise the role in the sequel due to scheduling conflicts with the second season of “American Horror Story”.
He will, however, reprise his role as Quicksilver in “X-Men: Apocalypse” but no details were given about the plot of the film yet.
8. Dane DeHaan
- Age: 28 (February 6, 1986)
- Film debut: “Gil” (2010)
- TV debut: Special guest for an episode of “Law & Order Special Victims Unit” in 2008
- Upcoming films/TV series: “Life” (2015), “Tulip Fever” (2015)
It’s easy to notice the rise in Dane DeHaan’s popularity as he bears a striking resemblance to the multi award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio. However, it wasn’t just his looks that caught people’s attention; people are starting to pay attention to this young actor due to his brilliant performances in his prime roles as Lucien Carr in American biographical drama film “Kill Your Darlings” and Harry Osbourne in Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2“.
He began his acting career through his on-stage presence as Haley Joel Osment’s understudy in the short-lived Broadway revival of “American Buffalo”. He later made his TV debut through an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victim Unit” and appeared in several episodes of HBO’s “True Blood” and “In Treatment”. Dane DeHaan is also set to portray Hollywood icon James Dean in an upcoming drama film “Life” alongside Robert Pattinson.
We would’ve put Jack Gleeson into the list if the young actor didn’t announce that he is going to retire after the end of “Game of Thrones”. Although he portrayed one of the most hated characters on TV, Jack Gleeson has given us such a phenomenal performance as King Joffrey in “Game of Thrones”. In an interview with GQ, the actor said that his performance in the series is heavily influenced by Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Commodus in “Gladiator”.
Sometimes when I’m sitting on my throne, I think of Phoenix sitting on his, with that smirk on his face.
Contrary to popular belief, “Game of Thrones” executive producer Dan Weiss told Entertainment Weekly that the actor is “the nicest person on earth probably and is so thoughtful; he’s funny, he’s decent to people.” However, his vicious end in the series also temporarily concluded the end of his acting career as he announced that he will retire to focus on his academic career. The video below is one such example that shows how Jack Gleeson became one of the characters we loved to hate in the series:
As we’ve previously mentioned, it is almost impossible to put everyone in the list but here are some other actors that we think might go far in the upcoming years:
- Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham)
- Robert Pattinson (Water Elephant)
- Dakota Goyo (Real Steel)
- Timothee Chalamet (Interstellar)
- Charlie Rowe (Red Band Society)
- Nat Wolff (The Fault in Our Stars)
- Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars)
- Cory Michael Smith (Gotham)
- Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire)
- Aaron Taylor Johnson (Kick-Ass/King Kong/Avengers: Age of Ultron)
- Dylan O’Brien (The Maze Runner)
- Nicholas Hoult (X-Men/Warm Bodies)
- Ki Hong Lee (The Maze Runner)
- Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi)
- Will Poulter (We’re the Millers)
- Rohan Chand (The Hundred-Foot Journey)
- Taron Egerton
Who else do you think should be in the list? Think that there are some other underrated actors that should’ve been in the list? Share your list of young actors to look out for in the comments box below!