Up and Comers Presents: 24 Faces to Watch in 2012

January 18, 2012 | Posted By and In Features | 4695 Views

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Juno Temple
Although Juno Temple has been working for over 15 years, it’s only been in the past several months that we’ve started to see the British actress take on bigger roles. She starred in the big budget remake of “The Three Musketeers” with Logan Lerman while continuing to stick to her indie roots, hitting the festival circuit with films like “Dirty Girl” and “Killer Joe” screening at Sundance, Venice and Toronto. But 2012 looks set to be an even bigger year for Temple, as she attempts to further her indie cred with dark comedy “The Brass Teapot” opposite Michael Angarano and Alexis Bledel, and filming thriller “Magic Magic” opposite Michael Cera. And then there’s her hush-hush role in perhaps the most anticipated film of the year, Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises”, which might just finally introduce her to that general mainstream moviegoing audience.

Dane DeHaan
If 2011 was The Year of Jessica Chastain, 2012 could easily be gearing up to be The Year of Dane DeHaan. The prolific HBO actor has already won raves for his roles on “In Treatment” and “True Blood”, but he’s about go from zero to sixty on the big screen, with no less than four major high profile projects set to release this year. First up he’s headlining sci-fi thriller “Chronicle”, which sees him as a teenager with newly discovered superowers who just might decide not to use them for good. He’s got the male lead in lesbian werewolf romance “Jack and Diane” and also plays pivotal supporting roles in two of the most highly anticipated prestige projects of the year: John Hilcoat’s “The Wettest County”, staring opposite Chastain herself, Tom Hardy, Mia Wasikowska and Shia LaBeouf; and “Blue Valentine” director Derek Cianfrance’s “The Place Beyond the Pines”, a mult-generational crime family drama that sees him playing Ryan Gosling’s teenage son.

Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig has spent the last few years filming small indie films (“Greenberg”) and the occasional supporting role in bigger productions (“No Strings Attached”), but she is perhaps most well-known for her lead female role opposite comedian Russell Brand in the remake of the 80s classic “Arthur.” This year though, Gerwig has several films ready for release that we think could propel her to stardom. There’s Oscar winner Woody Allen’s next pic, the Rome set “Nero Fiddled” with fellow indie darlings-cum-awards contenders Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg, and then Whit Stillman’s whimsical comedy “Damsels in Distress” which hit the festival circuit last year to rapturous acclaim, with THR calling the film “Gerwig’s show.”

David Oyelowo
A prolific British actor who has been working steadily in his native country for over a decade, Oyelowo finally garnered some attention from Hollywood last year when he starred in two of the summer’s biggest and most critically acclaimed blockbusters: “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and Oscar hopeful “The Help.” It’s no surprise he went on to land his next projects in quick succession. In 2012 he’ll start off by playing a fighter pilot in George Lucas produced WWII actioner “Red Tails.” He’ll also play the villain in Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” opposite Nicole Kidman and John Cusack, and also has supporting roles in Tom Cruise thriller “One Shot” and Steven Spielberg’s biopic “Lincoln” lined up.

Dakota Johnson
You’ll recognize Dakota Johnson from her one scene opposite Justin Timberlake in “The Social Network”, as her character’s attempts to take a shower are thwarted by Timberlake’s Sean Parker discovering Facebook for the first time. From that standout first performance in an Oscar-nominated film, next up for Johnson will be a remake, a comedy and the festival circuit, in what is sure to be an important year for the young actress. First up is this month’s Sundance Film Festival, where Johnson will be promoting “For Ellen”, the story of a struggling musician who takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. Then it’s to the big screen with the “21 Jump Street” remake, with fellow rising stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, and straight after, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy “Five Year Engagement” with Jason Segel.

Lee Pace
Thanks to cult TV hits like “Wonderfalls” and “Pushing Daisies”, Lee Pace has a small but passionate following of fans, who were surely disappointed to see him try to establish a film career only to end up in duds like “Marmaduke” and “When in Rome.” Well, patience may be paying off for Pace and his fanbase, as 2012 is looking like something of a comeback year for the charming and talented British actor. In the final two months of the year, Pace will star as fan-favorite vampire Garrett in the final installment of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”, as Confederacy supporter Fernando Wood in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln”, and as Elvinking Thranduil in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Two major franchises and an already buzzed about Oscar contender? Talk about getting a career back on track.

Teresa Palmer
Despite the fact that she may have starred in a few duds, Teresa Palmer has shown promise in them all, and her name has landed on several casting shortlists, including “The Amazing Spider-Man” and Oliver Stone’s “Savages.” 2012 looks set to be the year that the Australian actress truly hits the spotlight though, as she takes to the Utah mountains this month with hotly-anticipated Sundance entry, “Wish You Were Here” (with fellow one-to-watch Joel Edgerton), about four friends who go on a vacation to Cambodia only to return to Australia one member short. After dealing with missing friends, Palmer will be taking on the undead, in Jonathon Levine’s August release “Warm Bodies” – which tells the story of her character’s friendship with Nicholas Hoult’s zombie – before starring alongside Liam Hemsworth in the sixties war drama, “AWOL”.

Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt has been endearing faithful TV watchers for years with his big-dumb-lovable-lug characters on shows like “Everwood” and currently “Parks and Recreation”, so it was rather a shock to see him play the timid, insecure and serious reluctant first baseman Scott Hatteberg in Oscar hopeful “Moneyball.” Could the comedic relief sidekick be kickstarting a movie career with against-type serious roles? It certainly appears that way for Pratt. While he will still do some comedy – in Jason Segal-Emily Blunt starrer “Five Year Engagement”, for one – his biggest break in 2012 may just be something completely different. Pratt will play a Navy SEAL in “Kill Bin Laden” opposite Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain in Kathryn Bigelow’s follow-up to 2009’s Best Picture Oscar winner “The Hurt Locker.”

There you have it, the 24 faces we will be eagerly watching for in 2012. What do you think? Who are some on the verge actors you’ll be looking out for?


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Linda is currently a Film Reporter at TheWrap. She studied Film & Digital Media at the University of California. She likes David Fincher, New York City, and cats. She founded Up&Comers in 2010. You can find more of her random ramblings, 140 characters at a time, on Twitter @lindazge.