Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue celebrates the Up and Comers

February 1, 2011 | Posted By In Features, Lists | 2185 Views

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Featuring the biggest group of up and comers in one shoot – Jennifer Lawrence, Anthony Mackie, Olivia Wilde, Jesse Eisenberg, Mila Kunis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones, Garrett Hedlund and Noomi Rapace – as well cover stars (and more established actors) Anne Hathaway, James Franco, Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, Vanity Fair magazine’s 2011 Hollywood issue has gone “back to basics … [with] just the most exciting actors and actresses of the moment.” And here at Up and Comers, we couldn’t agree more with their pick of the talent.

Jesse Eisenberg and Jennifer Lawrence have both had an amazing past year, culminating in Oscar nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. Eisenberg came from critical success in “Adventureland” and “Zombieland” to reach commercial success in David Fincher’s “The Social Network”, whilst Lawrence starred in the 2010 Sundance smash “Winter’s Bone”, an unflinching tale of teenager Ree’s dangerous pursuit to save her family home. Lawrence can next be seen in another Sundance hit, this year’s “Like Crazy” and will break into the mainstream in Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class”. Eisenberg’s next adventure will be voicing the character of Blu in “Rio”, along with Anne Hathaway, one of this years’s Hollywood issue cover stars.

Hathaway is coming off of a whirlwind year which included a starring role in Tim Burton’s fantastical reimagining of “Alice in Wonderland” and ended with the hit comedic drama “Love and Other Drugs” with Jake Gyllenhall, one of her cover stars, who along with Ryan Reynolds are two of Hollywood’s most talented and likable actors. Hathaway will next be adding “Oscar Host” to her resume, as she and fourth cover star James Franco present the 83rd Academy Awards in February. Franco is also up against Eisenberg in the Best Actor category, for his role as mountain climber Aron Ralston in the Danny Boyle adapted true story “127 Hours”.

In 2010 the Oscars were dominated by a little film called “The Hurt Locker”, which went on to make a star of it’s leading man Jeremy Renner. “The Hurt Locker”, though, also featured a talented young actor named Anthony Mackie and his inclusion in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue is a testament to the work he has been putting in, and the rewards he is receiving back – Mackie can next be seen in four films in 2011, and next year’s “Man on the Ledge” starring Sam Worthington.

2011’s awards season however has been filled with up and coming talent, and both Andrew Garfield and Mila Kunis were deservedly nominated in the supporting categories at premiere awards shows such as the Golden Globes, BAFTAs and SAG Awards. The past year was arguably the year of Andrew Garfield, as he sprang from nowhere to the mainstream after superb performances in “The Social Network” and “Never Let Me Go”, and of course there was the news that he had been cast in the much sought after role of Peter Parker in Mark Webb’s reboot of the “Spider-man” franchise. Kunis, meanwhile, was the surprise breakout performance in “Black Swan”, Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller set in a New York City ballet company, starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina whose pressure to be perfect implodes with terrifying consequences. Those of us who saw Kunis grow up on “That 70s Show” and in broad comedies like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” knew she had the comedic chops but her role as Lily in “Black Swan” proved she has what it take to also be a serious actor as well.

Another of Vanity Fair’s chosen actors, Rashida Jones, has been making the often difficult transistion from TV to film, much like Kunis. Jones will next be starring alongside Kunis and Justin Timberlake in the comedy “Friends with Benefits”, the Sundance hit “My Idiot Brother” with Paul Rudd and the indie feature “The Big Year” with Rosemand Pike.

A fellow fan of indie productions, Joseph Gordon-Levitt finally gained deserved fame in 2010 for his role in the mind-bending dream world of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”. He’s following this up with two very different roles, working with the King of Action movies Bruce Willis in “Looper”, and comedy stars Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick in “Live With It”.

Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund, meanwhile, were the talk of Hollywood in 2010 following the release of the blockbuster Disney hit, “TRON: Legacy”, the sequel to 1982’s “TRON”. Hedlund was one of our 10 breakout stars of 2010 list and can soon be seen in Walter Salle’s adaptation of “On The Road”, a film that has been decades in the making due to the difficult nature of the material, and a role in which Hedlund must silence the critics. Meanwhile, Wilde looks to have an even bigger 2011 and is one of our one to watch in 2011, with a huge list of upcoming projects that range from comedy and drama, to romance and sci-fi.

And finally, Vanity Fair moves away from American stars to the Swedes and Noomi Rapace, whose stunning portrayal of ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish adaptatation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” captivated the world. Rapace’s brilliant performance has led her to make a big splash in Hollywood, and she can next been seen in Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”, and Guy Ritchie’s as-yet-untitled Sherlock Holmes sequel.

Watch: Vanity Fair’s behind the scenes video, as well as sit-down interviews with the majority of the chosen stars.


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Rebecca has been a contributor to Up & Comers since its humble beginnings and now works behind the scenes editing and sporadically working with Linda on features. By night, Rebecca is a NCTJ Gold Standard qualified journalist living in London and working for HELLO! magazine. On weekends you can find her in the pub. Follow Rebecca’s nonsensical pop culture ramblings here.