Buzz keeps building on these talents

Young up-and-comers form rising A-list

Certain names attached to projects make financiers, sales agents and producers feel more at ease than others. In what has become an annual feature in our Global Independents issue, Variety checks in with a dozen leading indies to download the bankable names du jour along with their descriptive (and anonymous) feedback. Many mentioned previous entries such as Emily Blunt and Channing Tatum or — on the helming side — Fatih Akin. Here’s this year’s crop:


Malin Akerman

“She’s someone that everyone is talking about as the next Cameron Diaz.”

  • Upcoming: “The Brothers Solomon,” “The Heartbreak Kid”

Hayley Atwell

“Fast-rising English rose.”

  • credit: “Cassandra’s Dream”

  • Upcoming: “Brideshead Revisited,” “How About You”

Miley Cyrus

“The rising teen queen. She’s only 14, but a huge TV/music star with her teen show ‘Hannah Montana.’ ”

  • credit: “Hannah Montana” (TV)

Megan Fox

“After ‘Transformers,’ she’s marketed as the new Angelina Jolie.”

  • credit: “Transformers”

  • Upcoming: “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People”

Nina Hoss

“A young, German Meryl Streep. Very sexy. Now that she’s won the Silver Bear for ‘Yella,’ she’s starting to build an international profile.”

  • credit: “Yella”

  • Upcoming: “Anonyma”

Rinko Kikuchi

“After her Oscar nomination for ‘Babel,’ there’s no stopping her. Just think about the Asian market.”

  • credit: “Babel”

  • Upcoming: “The Brothers Bloom”

Cillian Murphy

“Not just a pretty face anymore.”

  • credits: “Red Eye,” “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” “Sunshine”

  • Upcoming: “The Edge of Love”

Sam Riley

“After ‘Control,’ he’s on people’s lists. Very English, slightly kooky looking, but interesting.”

  • credit: “Control”

  • Upcoming: “Franklyn”

Steven Strait

“People around town are talking about him. Think he will pop up from ‘10,000 BC.'”

  • credit: “The Covenant”

  • Upcoming: “10,000 BC”

Sam Worthington

“He beat out Channing Tatum for the lead on James Cameron’s ‘Avatar.’ Australian actor who hasn’t really done much before.”

  • credits: “Somersault,” Geoffrey Wright’s “Macbeth”

  • Upcoming: “Avatar,” “Last Man,” “Rogue”


Scott Z. Burns

“As a writer he’s working on the highest level, and now that he’s made his directing debut he’s on every studio list for political thrillers.”

  • credits: “The Bourne Ultimatum” (scribe), “The Half Life of Timofey Berezin” (writer-director)

John Carney

” ‘Once’ was the breakout indie hit of the summer. It was just artfully crafted and uniformly well reviewed. Great piece of filmmaking.”

  • credits: “On the Edge,” “Once”

  • Upcoming: “Town House”

Balthasar Kormakur

“Half the population of Iceland saw his last movie. He’s big in theater, so he can work with actors. It would be interesting to see what he does outside of Iceland.”

  • credits: “101 Reykjavik,” recent Karlovy Vary fest winner “Jar City”

Paul Andrew Williams

“He’s top on the list of U.K. directors we’re tracking.”

  • credit: “London to Brighton”

  • Upcoming: “The Cottage”