2012 Faces to Watch

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

April 2, 2012

Committed to its mission to seek and promote tomorrow’s trending topics, Limité Magazine is thrilled to announce its fourth-annual “Faces to Watch” list. The feature focuses on select up-and-coming personalities in various facets of culture and lifestyle. After much consideration, 10 names were chosen for this year’s list. They were selected based on their potential to make a significant impact on their disciplines—in short, these are the names we’ll be talking about tomorrow.

Demián Bichir

by Morgan Goldin

When the 2012 Academy Award nominees for Best Actor were being announced, one nomination came as a surprise to audiences and industry insiders alike. Alongside uber-famous Hollywood actors George Clooney and Brad Pitt, there was Jean Dujardin (who eventually won the category), unknown to most Americans but recognized for his work in the popular The Artist, and Demián Bichir, for his role in A Better Life. Bichir’s sensitive and soulful portrayal of an undocumented migrant worker was powerful enough to make the Academy take notice, despite the indie feature going largely unseen by moviegoers. However, to Hispanic audiences, this was an actor finally getting his due.

Bichir was born in Mexico City on August 1, 1963. He started his acting career in telenovelas, with productions filmed in Mexico, the United States, and Spain. He took a break from his television acting to focus on a movie career. His movie Sexo, pudor y lagrimas (1999) was a massive box office smash, breaking all kinds of records to win the accolade of being the number one film in all of Mexican cinema. His role earned him an Ariel, a Mexican version of the Academy Award. The film In the Time of Butterflies (2001) was Bichir’s American debut, in which he co-starred with Salma Hayek. He garnered other roles in American film and television productions, playing a major role as Esteban Reyes on the hit Showtime show Weeds, as well as portraying Fidel Castro for Steven Soderbergh’s Che (2008). However, with his role as Carlos Galindo in A Better Life, Bichir, only the second Mexican actor to be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar (after Anthony Quinn), will hopefully be a name that more American audiences recognize. And here’s a fun fact: he was the singing voice of Aladdin in the Spanish dub version of the 1992 Disney classic.

Bichir can next be seen in Oliver Stone’s 2012 release Savages, which also stars John Travolta, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Benicio Del Toro, and his Butterflies co-star Salma Hayek.

 

J.C. Chandor

by Curtis John

Margin Call was one of the most relevant and, in many ways, disturbing films of 2011. Based on what we can imagine happened at a huge Wall Street investment firm in 2008 to lead the start of the mortgage market crash, the movie depicts an unethical and insensible corporation that is only looking out for itself.

For first-time feature director J.C. Chandor to craft such a film, and do so while making us still care for characters that we all wish will do “the right thing,” is a testament to his skills as a screenwriter and director. Previous to Margin Call, Chandor spent about 15 years working on commercials and documentaries. According to him, “If it was underpaid and under-budgeted, I was doing it.” But when in 2006 he was forcefully told to sell out on what seemed to be a no-brainer $10 million real estate deal by the godfather of one of his partners, this son of a former Merrill Lynch investment banker knew that the inner workings of this world was something that had to be more deeply explored. He then crafted a character study script, budgeted to take place within a small place and time, and then was able to line up top actors like Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, and Zachary Quinto to appear.

Chandor describes his debut as “[A] tragedy. It’s structured as a thriller—a ticking time bomb movie—but an hour into the film you know the bomb can’t be defused and the crux of the story becomes who are they going to drop it on?”

Riding high from his Oscar-nominated screenplay, Chandor has attached Robert Redford to star in his next film, a nature survivalist story titled All Is Lost. If Chandor can elicit audiences to care about characters in a devious Wall Street firm, there should be little doubt that his next film will be a success.

Liam Hemsworth

by John Lee

Up until the recent release of The Hunger Games, Liam Hemsworth was mostly known for being Miley Cyrus’s boyfriend and the younger brother of Thor actor Chris Hemsworth. With his mega blockbuster now breaking box office records, the younger Hemsworth is making a name for himself.

Born in Melbourne, Australia as the youngest of three actor brothers, Hemsworth made the difficult decision to follow in his brothers’ footsteps and pursue an acting career while still in high school. Taking on an agent and getting his first audition at age 16, his career began in 2007 when he made some guest appearances on local TV shows before he landed a recurring role on the Australian soap opera Neighbors.

In 2009, Hemsworth relocated to Los Angeles and rented an apartment with Chris. Three weeks into living there with no agent, he was cast to appear opposite Sylvester Stallone in the 2010 film The Expendables. Unfortunately, his character was written out of the script, but just a few hours after receiving that news he got a call from director Kenneth Branagh, who asked him to screen test for the role of Thor in the Marvel Comics big screen adaptation. Hemsworth eventually lost the role, ironically, to his brother Chris. Luck did finally come Hemsworth’s way when Disney Studios announced later that same week that he had been cast opposite Cyrus in the 2010 drama The Last Song.

In April of 2011, Lionsgate announced Hemsworth’s casting as Gale Hawthorne in the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s hugely successful book series The Hunger Games. It’s his highest profile role to date, and with the record-breaking (for a non sequel) opening box office take of $155 million has catapulted Hemsworth into the stratosphere of sought-after young leading men in Hollywood. Aside from the subsequent sequels from the Hunger Game series, the actor has numerous films on the horizon. Upcoming projects include a role in the Expendables sequel, TimelessEmpire State, and the big-budget 3D flick Arabian Nights.

Jeremy Irvine

by Morgan Goldin

Jeremy Irvine, birth name Jeremy Smith, is a newcomer to the Hollywood scene. He grew up in the rural village of Gamlingay in Cambridgeshire, England. The 21-year-old British actor has worked on both stage and screen. Irvine studied acting in England at the National Youth Theatre and followed it with a one-year foundation course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. From there, he launched a film career when he was cast as Albert Narracott, the protagonist in Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of War Horse. Despite a Best Picture Oscar nomination, the film performed to middling box office, but it did put Irvine on many casting agents’ radars.

However, it is fortunate that Irvine is able to work at all. From the age of six, he has had Type 1 diabetes. Irvine has done some activism work to spread awareness of this disease. He participated in some medical experiments to test out an artificial pancreas, a form of automatic glucose meter attached to a portable insulin pump. After the trial period, Irvine spoke of his experiences and medical history to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwell, during a visit to the Cambridge Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility on February 8 of this year.

Due to his tireless work ethic, Irvine doesn’t let his disease slow him down. His upcoming film releases promise to be impressive. His next signed roles include the lead role of Pip from Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, an adaptation directed by Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005). The cast includes Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. Another upcoming film for Irvine is The Railway Man, co-starring Oscar winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. Later this year, we’ll see the release of Now Is Good, in which Irvine stars opposite Dakota Fanning. These are just the beginnings of a very promising career for the young Brit.

Steve McQueen

by Saidah Russell

There’s a lot to say about Steve McQueen, which some might find surprising considering he’s only directed two feature films. But both Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011) have managed to grab the attention of critics worldwide. McQueen was awarded the Caméra d’Or (for first-time directors) for Hunger at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and Shame garnered nominations at the 2012 BAFTAs and Golden Globes. For McQueen, the process of filmmaking seems to be about quality versus quantity and his body of work is a testament to that.

Born in East London, McQueen attended the Chelsea School of Art and Design and went on to study fine art at Goldsmiths College, London. Once there, he began to take an interest in filmmaking, dabbling in experimental short films. After graduating from Goldsmiths, McQueen was accepted into the film program at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, but didn’t stay long. He found the film school experience limiting rather than invigorating, and lamented in a BBC News interview that “they wouldn’t let you throw the camera up in the air.” This was perhaps an early indication of the type of filmmaker McQueen aspired to be, someone who pushes the boundaries of what film can depict and the stories it can illuminate for its audiences.

McQueen seems to be interested in challenging his audience, considering Shame and Hunger are in no way “easy” films to watch. McQueen’s visions are brought to life by his partner in crime and the lead in both films, Michael Fassbender, who shares a similar belief in pushing the boundaries of film. We’ll be seeing more from them as Fassbender is reported to have a role in McQueen’s next film, Twelve Years a Slave (2013). The upcoming film is an adaptation of the non-fiction work by Solomon Northup, a free-born African American kidnapped and forced into slavery in the 1840s. McQueen has also been attached to direct the biopic about Nigerian activist and musician Fela Kuti. The filmmaker’s presence in Hollywood is definitely growing with each release, and considering what he’s done with his first two films there’s every reason to be excited for what lies ahead.

Brit Marling

by Daniel Quitério

It’s often said in Hollywood that good parts for female actors are tough to come by. Though this comes as a problem for many aspiring actresses, it didn’t deter Chicago native Brit Marling. She just wrote her own.

Despite a degree in economics, the 20-something Georgetown University graduate decided to eschew the path she had been carving out for herself in school in pursuit of a more artful life. She wanted to be an actress. Finding that good parts for women are a rarity, she decided to put pen to paper and script her own movies. This culminated in last year’s Fox Searchlight release Another Earthand the upcoming Sound of My Voice, also by Fox Searchlight. In what has to be a rare triumph (particularly for a largely unproven actress/writer), both films shared an exclusive spotlight at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, with Another Earth winning the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for outstanding film with science as a major theme. The film follows Marling’s character Rhoda as she struggles following an accident that throws her life off kilter, all the while a planet identical to Earth is discovered in the relative distance. Marling stretched beyond her acting and writing skills by also producing the film, which was directed and co-written by one of her frequent collaborators, Mike Cahill. The pair was nominated for two Spirit Awards this year, including Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay.

The tri-hyphenate Marling once again stars in, wrote, and produced her latest feature, Sound of My Voice, which is directed and co-written by another friendly collaborator, Zal Batmanglij, and opens on April 27. Marling stars as a cult leader who claims to be from the future and is being investigated by a journalist and his girlfriend. Marling’s and Batmanglij’s follow-up effort will be The East, which stars indie heavyweights Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, Julia Ormond, and Patricia Clarkson.

Though it certainly isn’t as easy as she’s making it look, Marling’s path to success is one that she is carving out for herself. Her commitment to telling fresh, thoughtful stories outside of the mainstream is one that deserves to be honored and is why Limité deems her a face to watch.

Adepero Oduye

by Curtis John

I remember the first time I saw her. For some people it was the short film version of Dee Rees’s Pariah, but for me it was about five years ago at a local theater production, hosted by an arts company for which I now produce and curate. Even at that time, Adepero Oduye possessed that quiet power that ultimately wins over an audience, as she has in her claim to fame, the 2011 independent feature film hit Pariah, about a teenager who juggles conflicting sexual expressions and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for her own identity. For her lead role, Oduye was nominated for Spirit and Image awards. She won the Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance.

If you’ve ever met her in person or seen her in public, she’s quiet and humble, yet genial, and appears to be introspective and always working through something in her mind. It is that inherent nature that most likely separates her from the herd of throwaway actors out there. It is that nature that led Meryl Streep to give Oduye a shout-out during her acceptance speech at this year’s Golden Globes, remarking that Oduye is one of her favorite actresses.

Next, the 30-year-old Brooklyn native will star in the Queen Latifah-produced Lifetime television remake of Steel Magnolias as Annelle, the role originated by Darryl Hannah on the silver screen. The role seems well suited for Oduye, but one hopes that she’ll be allowed to spread her wings and bring something new and fresh to the role.

Elizabeth Olsen

by Steve Morrissey

 

It was 17 years ago when twin phenoms Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen lit up the small screen in the ever-popular ABC sitcom Full House. But that was 17 years ago. Today, it’s their younger sister who is currently grabbing the spotlight and showing up on magazine covers.

Elizabeth Olsen first came to our attention in her debut role as a former cult follower in the independent film Martha Marcy May Marlene, which debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. Upon watching the film, it’s expected that one might be struck by not only her natural beauty but by her raw talent that allowed her to get lost in this very dark role that many actresses today would struggle with, let alone pull off with such ease. And based on the several award nominations she received for her debut, clearly several others took notice of Olsen’s ability.

The press is quick to dub every fresh actress on the scene as the new “it girl” or the next big thing, only for her to quickly fall off the radar or disappear into the background. But I have a feeling that Olsen isn’t going to follow this trend. Nope, this is one actress who I feel is going to be around for a very long time. It’s scary knowing that she is only 23 years old and has made this sort of impression.

Olsen can be currently seen in Silent House and will star in several upcoming features, including Red Lights with Robert De Niro, the Josh Radnor-directed Liberal Arts with Zac Efron, and Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe.

Taylor Schilling

by Saidah Russell

Taylor Schilling’s career has yet to explode into something displayed on every magazine cover, gossip website, and entertainment news show, but that’s not to say she doesn’t show potential. Schilling is steadily positioning herself to become part of that elite group of Hollywood “It” girls. This month, she is starring opposite Zac Efron in the Nicholas Sparks drama The Lucky One, about a returning Iraq war veteran. Say what you want about Nicholas Sparks and his presence in the film world, but adaptations of his movies are usually quite a force at the box office, meaning Schilling is sure to gain a lot of attention for her role.

Despite a relatively brief filmography, Schilling displays a large amount of diversity in her choice of films. She is perhaps best known for her portrayal of Nurse Veronica Flanagan Callahan, a jaded and cynical war veteran, in the short-lived NBC medical drama Mercy. After the show was canceled, Schilling went on to play the part of Dagny Taggart in the long-awaited film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged.

Schilling’s tendency to delve into films and parts which may not necessarily reach a mainstream audience has resulted in a body of work that is very balanced and may limit the possibility of her being typecast in the future. The actress’s next film, David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook, is slated for a 2012 release and stars fellow Hollywood darling of the moment Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games), as well as Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper. The 27-year-old actress is forging a place for herself among a new group of young, female actresses who seem to be gaining attention, not only for their beauty, but for their talent and willingness to take risks when it comes to choosing the right roles.

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