It seems everyone has their favorite actor. And, it’s so great when they start popping up in new projects. It was recently confirmed Australian actor Ben Mendelssohn is set to take on a lead role in the forthcoming TV series adaptation of Stephen King‘s 2018 novel The Outsider. His previous work typically landed him in supportive roles; we’re excited to see him step into the spotlight.
We can even include BBC America’s Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) and Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch) as actors who made the jump, with the two women taking the lead in their shows Killing Eve and Doctor Who, respectively.
Here are 9 actors whose work we thoroughly enjoy and would like to see more of — front and center:
1. Mark Strong
Mark Strong is a regular on Anglo, starring in some our favorite ensemble films like 2008’s RocknRolla and 2011’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He’s been a major force in the Kingsman franchise (2014, 2017), taking on the role of an advisor to the recruits.
Instead of the right-hand man, can he be THE man.
2. Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy has won our heart over, multiple times. Going back to 2003’s Love Actually when he played a slightly down-and-out pop singer and more recently as a loving dad to Domhnall Gleeson in 2013’s About Time. We should mention, in About Time, his character possessed the ability to time travel.
We could see him captaining a sci-fi TV series, for sure.
3. Emily Watson
Emily Watson did take the lead in 2013’s The Politician’s Husband, with David Tennant playing the supportive spouse. As of late, we’ve seen her play wife to Albert Einstein in 2017’s Genius and Marmee March in The Little Women miniseries, also in 2017.
We’d like to go back to her on-screen parliament days: we vote for Watson for lead!!
4. Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga was definitely on-screen a lot in Bates Motel (2013-2017), being mother to Freddie Highmore‘s Norman Bates, which won her an Emmy nomination in 2013. The Psycho spinoff revolves around Norma and Norman’s relationship, ultimately providing insight into her creepy killer offspring’s psychology.
As well, we really enjoyed her as Alex Goran in 2009’s Up in the Air as George Clooney‘s travel companion-turned-love interest (also winning her an Oscar nod), but… it was mostly about his character.
With that said, we’d like to see Farmiga, playing a rounded-out character, examining her needs and wants!! She’s earned household name status by this point.
5. Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell won a 2018 Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. And just this year, he was nominated for a 2019 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Vice, where he plays George W. Bush. Okay, okay, he’s doing something right, clearly.
Even so, it would be interesting to see him take the lead, with the other actors playing off of his powerhouse performance. With that said, we should mention, it was just recently announced Rockwell is set to portray famed choreographer and director Bob Fosse, who won an Academy Award for his 1972 film adaptation of Cabaret.
OK, that box is checked, he is taking the lead, and we can confidently say… we weren’t wrong.
6. Rose Byrne
Rose Byrne has been on our watch list for a while, but it seems like she’s a little under the radar. She starred in the 2011 breakout hit Bridesmaids, as Kristen Wiig‘s rival maid of honor. Also in 2011, she joined the X-Men franchise as Dr. Moira MacTaggert, a champion of the mutant superheroes. She also popped up as a Google executive in the 2013 buddy film The Internship, starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. In 2015, she starred opposite Melissa McCarthy in the comedy-action flick Spy as the resident baddie.
She’s racking up a plethora of solid roles, but we think it’s Rose’s time to rise.
7. Vincent Cassel
Vincent Cassel is one of those actors who looks familiar, but it might be hard to place him. In 2004, he starred in Ocean’s Twelve as François Toulour, a professional thief. He returned to the franchise in 2013 for Ocean’s Thirteen to reprise the role. We saw him as the unseemly ballet director in 2010’s Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman in the title role. He also popped up in 2016’s Jason Bourne as the elite agent’s (Matt Damon) nemesis, who went by Asset.
Hmm, maybe switch gears to make the leap to lead. Say, possibly as a teacher at a public school, helping the kids flourish (giving up the bad boy reputation).
8. Thandie Newton
We were first introduced to Thandie Newton in 2000’s Mission Impossible II, opposite Tom Cruise. In 20024, she had a scene-stealing role in the much talked about Crash. We caught up with her in 2007 when she starred opposite Simon Pegg in the romantic comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run, as the love interest. She currently stars in the mega hit TV series Westworld as a renegade android.
Newton is currently booked, but when she’s free, we see her at the top, like a CEO of a company, where bad, bad things are happening (we have killer-thrillers on the brain).
9. Yvonne Strahovski
Yvonne Strahovski caught our eye in the 2007 spy series Chuck, as Sarah Walker. She continued on a TV trek starring in Dexter (2012-2013) as Hannah McKay, 24: Live Another Day (2014) as Kate Morgan, and The Astronaut Wives Club (2015) as Rene Carpenter. But, it was The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Elisabeth Moss, where she really made her mark as Serena Joy Waterford, wife to the Commander (Joseph Fiennes).
The Handmaid’s Tale is preparing for a third season, and it’s yet to be confirmed who of the cast will be returning. But if and when Strahovski does find herself available to take on new material, possibly she’ll need a break from the seriousness of it all. Like, starring in a romantic comedy where she can let her hair down (literally!).
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