Rising stars: a run-down of the hottest new acting talent to look out for on the big screen, post-lockdown

Who are the rising stars to watch when cinemas reopen? Laura Harding gives a run-down of the up-and-comers set for bigger and better things...

Barry Keoghan (left) in Calm With Horses
Laura Harding

WE DO not know when we will be back in cinemas, sinking back in our seats and eating all the popcorn before the trailers have even finished. But, while Hollywood works out ways to make movies again, a whole host of stars are still in the ascendancy, poised to become household names as soon as someone shouts "Action!". Regardless of when we get back into our local cinemas, from tiny arthouses to huge multiplexes, there are plenty of new faces to watch out for.


ANYONE who has seen Dublin actor Barry Keoghan's memorable and intense performances in Dunkirk, The Killing Of The Sacred Deer and American Animals might not think a Marvel film was the inevitable next step, but the Irish star will soon be seen opposite Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden in The Eternals, about a race of immortal beings who lived on Earth and shaped its history and civilisations.

Keoghan (27), who earlier this year appeared with Ned Dennehy in the acclaimed Irish indie thriller Calm With Horses, will also soon be seen in the fantasy horror film The Dark Knight, a fantasy re-telling of the medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.


FLORENCE Pugh is already the critics' darling for her roles in Midsommar, Lady Macbeth and The Little Drummer Girl, and she picked up a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her turn as Amy March in Greta Gerwig's reimagining of Little Women.

She has also made headlines for her relationship with Scrubs actor Zach Braff (45), but 2020 is the year the 24-year-old joins the Marvel cinematic universe and is set to become a superstar. Pugh will play Natasha Romanoff's sister Yelena in Scarlett Johansson's long-awaited Black Widow film, about the Avenger's quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War. Due to be released in May, the film will now be released later in the year and also stars Rachel Weisz and David Harbour.


ANOTHER actress poised to break out with a highly anticipated blockbuster is London-born Lashana Lynch. You might recognise the 32-year-old as fighter pilot Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel and she will soon be giving Daniel Craig a run for his money in the new James Bond film, No Time To Die.

While we know she is playing a 00 agent, it seems possible that she is even taking over the spy's famous codename 007 in the film, which was co-written by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Footage shows the pair's first meeting, in which Lynch's Nomi tells Craig's Bond: "The world has moved on, Commander Bond. You get in my way, I will put a bullet in your knee. The one that works."


ALSO stepping into big shoes this year is Glen Powell, whom audiences might remember as John Glenn in Hidden Figures or his turns in the Netflix hit Set It Up opposite Zoey Deutch, the TV series Scream Queens or the big-screen adaptation of The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society.

But his biggest film to date is Top Gun: Maverick, which sees Tom Cruise back in the pilot seat as Maverick. Powell appears as trainee Hangman, while Divergent and Whiplash actor Miles Teller will play Goose's son, Rooster.


CYNTHIA Erivo (33) was inches away from becoming the youngest ever EGOT (a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, the four more prestigious awards of the industry) when she was nominated for two Academy Awards earlier this year. She received nods in the best actress category for her role as Harriet Tubman in Harriet and and also in the best original song category for the film's theme Stand Up.

The actor might have narrowly missed unseating 41-year-old John Legend as a stunningly youthful EGOT but she has been forging a path for herself on the big screen ever since her breakout on Broadway in The Colour Purple. She starred in the Steve McQueen film Widows, alongside Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez, and opposite Chris Hemsworth and Dakota Johnson in Bad Times At The El Royale.

This year, she is due to play Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, in the third series of Genius, perhaps presenting her biggest challenge yet.


IT HARDLY seems fair to describe Jessie Buckley as a breakout star because she has been working steadily since coming second in BBC talent show I'd Do Anything in 2008. But she enjoyed a particularly impressive 2019 with star turns in Wild Rose, Chernobyl, and Judy, which landed Renee Zellweger an Oscar for her role as Judy Garland.

So far this year she has already appeared opposite Robert Downey Jr in Dolittle and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keira Knightley and Keeley Hawes in Misbehaviour, about a group of women who hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty contest in London.

She is also due to appear with Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons in I'm Thinking Of Ending Things and with Benedict Cumberbatch in The Courier.


KELVIN Harrison Jr proved he is one to watch earlier this year when he was nominated for the rising star award at the Baftas. He might have lost out to Top Boy star Micheal Ward but he has already made his mark on the film industry with memorable performances in the family drama Waves, starring opposite Sterling K Brown and Renee Elise Goldsberry, as well as The Photograph with Lakeith Stanfield and Luce, with Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer and Tim Roth.

The 25-year-old can currently be seen in The High Note, opposite Tracee Ellis Ross and Dakota Johnson, playing an aspiring singer, and later this year he will star in the Oscar-tipped film The Trial Of The Chicago 7, which is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin. Telling the story of the seven people on trial after the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the film also stars Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Rylance and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

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