There are the Tom Hiddlestons and Benedict Cumberbatches of the world, but you know what: We don’t want to focus only on our favorites. So let’s spread the love and put the spotlight on some talent we think are really going places — with some new faces, and some already well on their way.
Here’s just some of the stars who look set to light up our screens next year and take a big leap up on that career ladder (in no particular order):
1. Riz Ahmed
Chances are this chap’s already on your radar after his performance in HBO’s The Night Of, not to mention his roles in Jason Bourne, Nightcrawler, and, even further back still, Four Lions. His talent isn’t confined to acting, either: In the U.K. he’s also known as Riz MC, a rapper alter ego with which he released critically-acclaimed records like 2011’s Microscope and this year’s Englistan. 2017 is set to be the year he hits the big-time in the U.S. however, thanks in no small part to Rogue One, the Star Wars spin-off in which he plays pilot Bodhi Rook.
2. Ruth Negga
Long known to Anglophenia readers for her roles in shows such as Misfits and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Irish actress Ruth Nega recently took up a starring role in AMC’s Preacher, alongside long-time beau Dominic Cooper. But it’s her performance as Mildred Loving in director Jeff Nichols‘ film about a real-life interracial couple in 1950’s Virginia that’s got people talking, not to mention nominating her for awards galore. Don’t be surprised if it bags her a nod from the Academy, either.
3. Joe Alwyn
The word “newcomer” doesn’t really do justice to newcomer Joe Alwyn. Still studying at London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama when he was cast as the lead in Ang Lee‘s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, he had never even stepped in front of a camera before auditioning. Needless to say, the 25-year-old has already bagged two more roles for 2017: One in A Sense of an Ending alongside an impressive cast of Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery, and Emily Mortimer, and another in psychological thriller Keepers with Gerard Butler.
4. Kaya Scodelario
Skins‘ Effy Stonem has come a long way since leaving Roundview College, with the lead role in Andrea Arnold‘s 2011 adaptation of Wuthering Heights and a recurring one in the Maze Runner movies. Next year sees her star in the next installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, and in The King’s Daughter alongside a bewigged Pierce Brosnan, who, by the looks of this Instagram post, was rather taken with his co-star.
5. Dan Stevens
Now here’s a man who needs no introduction. 2017 might be the year he finally shakes off that “Downton‘s Matthew Crawley” appellation, however, with a lead role in Marvel TV series Legion and no fewer than five films in the offing, including one of the year’s very biggest: Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.
6. Georgina Campbell
Her breakout role in Murdered by My Boyfriend won her a BAFTA last year, and since then she’s popped up in British TV shows like One of Us and Flowers. Next year sees her star in one of the most anticipated yet, season three of Broadchurch, and as a prostitute called Kay in Guy Ritchie‘s swashbuckling extravaganza King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.
7. Jack Lowden
Jack Lowden has a few TV and film roles to his name already, but 2017 looks set to be the year he becomes a household name, with his roles in Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming war blockbuster Dunkirk, historical drama A United Kingdom, and his portrayal of The Smiths frontman Morrissey in Steven all bound to grab our attention.
8. Fionn Whitehead
Lowden is not the only new face to look for in next year’s Dunkirk, and, as we know, director Christopher Nolan has a knack for spotting talent (he made a star of Tom Hardy when he cast him in Inception), so his decision to cast newcomer Fionn (pronounced “Finn”) Whitehead in the lead role speaks volumes. Whitehead is so new, he doesn’t have a Wikipedia page yet, or even U.S. representation, according to ScreenDaily. For now he seems content with roles in British supernatural thriller Him and Richard Eyre‘s much-anticipated adaptation of The Children Act by Ian McEwan, but we doubt it’ll be long before Hollywood comes knocking.
9. Tom Hughes
All eyes will be on Doctor Who alumnus Jenna Coleman when Victoria finally starts airing on PBS next year, but look out for Tom Hughes, who plays Queen Victoria‘s beloved husband Prince Albert. He’s not been called “the next Benedict Cumberbatch” for nothing.
10. Gal Gadot
Gal Gadot finally takes center stage in her own standalone Wonder Woman movie next year, followed by her role in DC Comics’ mega-movie Justice League, clinching a deal that should see her a household name in and outside the superhero world after roles in Triple 9 and Criminal.
Who are you looking forward to seeing more of?