Sydney Morning Herald predicts the next wave of Aussie movie stars: Alex Russell, Brenton Thwaites and more

October 29, 2012 | Posted By In Features, Lists | 2082 Views

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We admit it, we totally have a soft spot for Australian actors. And Hollywood is certainly on the bandwagon as well as year after year, loads of new talent are exported from Down Under and go on to become some of the biggest Hollywood movie stars around. Joel Edgerton, Chris Hemsworth, Mia Wasikowska and Teresa Palmer are just a few recent examples, but they follow in the footsteps of many before them, including the likes of Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett and countless others. So who’s next?

Who better to turn to for the answer to that than Aussie newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald, who have the advantage of being down on the ground floor witnessing the evolution of the rising actors in their country way before we get a whiff of their talent overseas. Much like our own Ones to Watch annual features, the Herald have put out their list of 10 up-and-coming Aussie actors poised to follow in the footsteps of the international superstars that have come before them. Below, we take a look at the Class of 2012.

Alex Russell, one of the two names you’ve most likely heard before (on this site at least), played the confident and popular good guy to Dane DeHaan’s more villainous outcast in this January’s surprise sci-fi hit “Chronicle.” It certainly put Russell on our radar, and we hope to see much more of him on our screens. For now, he’s headlining shark thriller “Bait 3D” in his native country, but has completed work on Kimberly Pierce’s “Carrie” remake opposite Chloe Moretz as the titular telekinetic.

Amber Clayton thought she had caught her big Hollywood break when cast as a regular on new medical TV series “Three Rivers” in 2009, but the show was quickly cancelled. Clayton is now back working in Australia, and recently played Harvey Keitel’s daughter in TV movie “Fatal Honeymoon.”

“Home and Away” alum Brenton Thwaites is a name that has been popping up a lot lately, perhaps thanks to a breakout role on the Lifetime reboot of “Blue Lagoon: The Awakening.” Since that TV movie, Thwaites landed the role of the Prince opposite Elle Fanning and Angelina Jolie as Disney’s “Maleficent” and he’s due to start filming soon on indie horror “Oculus” opposite “Doctor Who” star Karen Gillen.

After starring on proven starmaker Aussie soap “Home and Away”, Anna Lise Phillips appeared in 2010’s “Animal Kingdom”, the film that also gave us Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver and James Frecheville. Now Phillips is working full time in the US as a regular on NBC series “Revolution”, that JJ Abrams-Jon Favreau collaboration that’s one of the biggest hits of the new fall season.

There are quite a few biopics underway on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, but Alex Williams can claim credit for being the very first person to play him on screen in “Underground”, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month.

Michelle Vergara Moore is a prolific stage actress in her native Australia, but she’s quickly finding her way in Hollywood, recently completing a role opposite Jude Law and Rooney Mara on Steven Sodergbergh’s psychological drama “Bitter Pill.” She is also a regular on upcoming ABC series “Time of Our Lives.”

Another “Home and Away” actor, Stephen Peacocke is still with the show and has no officially confirmed projects, though the Herald reports rumors have been circulating that Peacocke recently took a meeting with Steven Spielberg. Could a “Robopocalypse” team-up with fellow Aussie Chris Hemsworth be in the works?

Penelope Mitchell, who starred opposite 2011’s Heath Ledger Scholarship winner Ryan Corr in Aussie thriller “6 Plots”, is currently filming Eli Roth’s upcoming Netflix supernatural series “Hemlock Grove”, which also stars Famke Janssen, Billl Skarsgard and Dougray Scott.

Lachlan Buchanan, who came to our attention following a role in 2008 surf drama “Newcastle” opposite “Twilight” vampire Xavier Samuel, has also appeared on “Home and Away” and is currently filming 1970s coming of age drama “Feed the Dog” opposite Selena Gomez.

Rounding out the 10 is the 5th “Home and Away” alum, Jessica Tovey. She’s starred in a plethora of television series and shorts in her native country, but for her feature film debut she recently completed dark comedy “Two Mothers”, which sees Robin Wright and Naomi Watts fall for each other’s sons, played by James Frecheville and Xavier Samuel.

And that’s 10 actors the Sydney Herald thinks we should all be keeping an eye on in the future. So what’s the secret for aspiring Australian actors who want to become international superstars, or at least have the potential to do so? Well it seems to us that, while you don’t have to star in “Home and Away”, it certainly doesn’t hurt.


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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.