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Sundance: 5 Actors With Breakout Potential

Buzzy thesps on the verge of breaking out thanks to Park City premieres

These busy thesps are on the verge of breaking out thanks to Park City premieres.

Desiree Akhavan
Art imitates life in “Appropriate Behavior,” in which the writer-director — an Iranian-American Lena Dunham, of sorts — plays Shirin, the daughter of a very traditional Persian family who’s trying to put her life back together after breaking up with her first girlfriend. “It’s semi-autobiographical,” admits the openly bisexual Akhavan, who shot the feature debut in just 18 days in her former Brooklyn neighborhood. “I’d just broken up with my first girlfriend and come out to my family, and this was a way of dealing with all that. And it’s a comedy as I wanted to explore complex issues, but with a light touch.”

Astrid Berges-Frisbey
Perhaps the ethereal Spanish actress was destined to play Sofi, the exotic — and deeply spiritual — model in “I Origins.” Director Mike Cahill (“Another Earth”) needed someone “playful, thoughtful, charismatic, provocative” opposite Michael Pitt’s atheist scientist, and after seeing Berges-Frisbey in “The Sex of Angels,” found her acting to be “incredibly compelling, fearless and honest.” The icing on the cake? “Astrid has a rare and wonderful trait called sectoral heterochromia, which means having more than one color per eye. Believe it or not, I wrote that Sofi has this quality. Some things are just meant to be.”

Johnny Flynn
After directing the Brit rocker in “Lotus Eaters,” director Alexandra McGuinness described Flynn as “that rarity: a great musician who’s also a gifted actor.” Now, Flynn is poised to steal hearts — among them Anne Hathaway’s, onscreen at least — in “Song One,” screening in dramatic competition. After Sundance, he will appear opposite Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche in “Clouds of Sils Maria” for director Olivier Assayas (with whom he collaborated on “Something in the Air” in 2012). And he starts a U.S. tour soon in support of his latest album, “Country Mile.”

Boyd Holbrook
A year after attending with “Very Good Girls,” Holbrook returns to Sundance with two projects, one a comedy (“The Skeleton Twins”), the other a rural American tragedy (“Little Accidents”) about a coal miner who survives a catastrophic cave-in. The tortured “Little Accidents” character should earn Holbrook serious cred, which has already been building through roles in such pics as “Out of the Furnace” and “The Host.” He has several more projects upcoming, including roles in David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” Universal’s “A Walk Among the Tombstones,” “Jane Got a Gun” and an untitled Terrence Malick project.

Josh Wiggins
Searching for a young actor to play “a destructive kid on the brink” in Sundance competition selection “Hellion,” writer-director Kat Candler quickly zeroed in on Wiggins, even though he’d never acted before. “I saw him in some YouTube videos he’d done with friends and brought him in to read. Once he walked in the room and opened his mouth, I just knew, this is my kid.” “Hellion” tells the story of a 13-year-old, motocross-obsessed delinquent (Wiggins) whose Texas family is collapsing around him. “Josh’s performance is so raw and honest,” she adds. “I’d write a role just to work with him again.”

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