(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)
As we continue to seek and capture the essence of modern world culture, Limité is excited to announce its fifth-annual “Faces to Watch” list. This feature focuses on select up-and-coming personalities in various facets of culture and lifestyle, such as film, fashion, culinary, and music. We’ve chosen 12 individuals for this year’s list. They were selected based on their potential to make a significant impact in their disciplines—in short, these are the names we’ll be talking about tomorrow.
by Curtis John
Since starring in a series of big-budget movies and independent darlings over the past six years, British actress Gemma Arterton, fresh off of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, has not only become a favorite of film directors, but of audiences as well. Hansel & Gretel is her third film to open in the number one spot in the US box office—Quantum of Solace (2008) and Clash of the Titans (2010) being the others. In her current box office hit, Arterton plays a grown-up version of the fairy tale heroine Gretel, who with her brother Hansel (Jeremy Renner) become bounty hunters who eliminate witches worldwide, 15 years following their terrifying ordeal at the hands of a witch in a gingerbread house (but you already know thatstory). Celebrated for their travails but bored with the work, the duo is hired to save a small town’s children, who are being abducted by witches. During their investigation, the siblings discover dark secrets about their strange pasts.
Humbly raised in Gravesend, Kent, in the UK, Arterton attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Her portrayal of the eponymousTamara Drewe in the 2010 film adaptation of the comic strip and graphic novel is what drew her the most international attention as a true dramatic actress, as opposed to the damsel in distress she portrayed in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010). This led to her being nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) Rising Star Award.
Her newest film, Byzantium, is a tale of a mother/daughter pair of vampires looking to start a new life in a remote seaside town, but finding themselves in further danger when daughter Eleanor, played by Saoirse Ronan (Hanna, 2011), falls in love with a human boy. Adapted from Moire Buffet’s play of the same name, Byzantium is directed by Neil Jordan (Interview with the Vampire, 1994), and from the look of the trailer, Arterton gets to play up a great mix of action and drama, keeping the Internet abuzz and American audiences eagerly anticipating a US release date.
by Stephanie Dawson
Zal Batmanglij exploded onto the independent scene when his first feature, Sound of My Voice, made a big impact at the SXSW Film Festival in 2011. His second film, The East, will be in theatres later this year. The East has a bigger budget and more production value, but it stays true to Batmanglij’s style and is poised to build a solid audience for this budding writer-director.
Batmanglij was born in France to Iranian parents and raised in Washington DC. His brother Rostam is a member of rock band Vampire Weekend. His mother is a chef and cookbook author.
While studying anthropology and English at Georgetown University he met Mike Cahill, director of Another Earth (2011), in a philosophy class. The two collaborated on a short film that won an award at the Georgetown Film Festival. Younger student Brit Marling approached them at the festival and the three have collaborated ever since.
The three moved to Los Angeles where Batmanglij studied at the American Film Institute. Cahill and Marling wrote Another Earth,which screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival along with Sound of My Voice. Continuing along the festival circuit, Sound went on to win Batmanglij the Directors to Watch award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Batmanglij, with collaborators Cahill and Marling, is etching out a new brand of independent cinema which uses the thriller genre with a hint of science fiction to examine humanity. Sound showed a softer side of cult membership than its contemporary Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), therein subtly commenting on many high concepts, including the nature of truth and why we believe what we believe.
Marling co-wrote and stars in both Sound and The East. Elements of the latter film are based on a real-life adventure had by Batmanglij and Marling. It centers on an anarchist group that is infiltrated by a corporate spy (played by Marling).
Cults. Anarchy. No subject is taboo for Batmanglij. And with a cast including Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, and Patricia Clarkson, more and more people will have to sit up and take notice of this new, daring director.
by John Lee
Emayatzy Corinealdi may have only come to the attention of art-house film audiences last year with her breakout role in Ava DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, but she has been around Hollywood for years. Born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, her father is Panamanian and her mother is from Ohio. Corinealdi’s unique name is derived from Ematy, a Panamanian princess. An Army brat, she lived in Germany, Ohio, New Jersey, and Kansas throughout her childhood. While a senior in high school, she decided to pursue acting rather than her career path of becoming a lawyer when she discovered that she was less interested in being a litigator and more interested in playing one on TV.
The actress started her training first in New Jersey at the Actor’s Training Studio before moving to New York, where she enrolled at the William Esper Studio. Her journey cross-country in her banged-up Nissan Sentra culminated with studies at Playhouse West. Corinealdi supported herself with a variety of odd jobs—personal trainer, personal chef, professional assistant—before she quit to act fulltime in 2007.
The budding actress started out in a variety of short films before she got her first break by booking a recurring role on the long-running soap opera The Young and the Restless. From there she continued to book work in short films and TV movies before landing her first feature film role in Middle of Nowhere. In the film, she plays Ruby, a medical student trying to come to grips with the incarceration of her husband. It was a standout performance, garnering her major attention within the independent film community, as well as rewarding her with a 2012 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actor. That performance has also earned her a nomination for a 2013 Spirit Award for Best Female Lead.
This year, audiences will be seeing more of Corinealdi, as she has wrapped work on several upcoming independent films, the most notable being Destined, costarring Omar Epps, Mekhi Phifer, and Keri Hilson.
by Saidah Russell
Photo by Terry Richardson
Girls seems to be constantly in the news. Even people who haven’t watched a single episode of HBO’s hit comedy tend to have an opinion. Lena Dunham, the show’s creator and star, has managed to keep the show firmly in the cross hairs of public attention and debate—especially over the believability and behavior of the female characters. But the credit shouldn’t only go to the girls; on the contrary, it’s a male cast member that is on the verge of becoming a breakout star. Adam Driver plays Adam Sackler on the show, the on-again-off-again love interest of Dunham’s character Hannah. Their relationship is usually the most featured storyline on the show and Driver has become well known for some of the program’s most shocking, gross-out moments.
Though born in San Diego, Driver moved to a small town in Indiana at an early age and was raised there. He got into acting while in high school, where he participated in numerous theater productions. After graduation, Driver put any chance of an acting career on hold when he decided to enlist in the military following the events of 9/11. He spent three years in the Marines and credits a near-death experience during training as well as a subsequent “moment of clarity” as the reasons why he finally decided to pursue acting seriously. He even claims that his time in the military aided his acting ability, instilling him with the confidence and intensity he often brings to his characters onscreen and stage. Always in search of a challenge, Driver left the Marines and soon after applied to Julliard to study drama. The real-life Adam may be far removed from the man he plays on Girls, but they were once both struggling New York actors. Driver worked as a busboy and a waiter while auditioning, and his determination paid off. After graduating from Julliard, the actor was able to land roles in plays off- and on Broadway. Perhaps his most notable role onstage was as Louis (replacing Zachary Quinto) inAngels in America.
It wasn’t long before Driver’s career on screen began to pick up as much momentum as his career on stage. In 2011, he was cast in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, and the following year he appeared in Lincoln,Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, and, of course, Girls. He is also set to appear in the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis later this year. Driver’s career is really a balancing act. Instead of abandoning theatre for film and television, as some actors do, Driver follows good work and happily schedules his time between the two worlds he loves. In addition to acting, Driver continues to support the organization he credits with much of his success. His non-profit foundation, Arts in the Armed Forces, works to stage drama performances for members of the military and their families.
by Morgan Goldin
The next generation of filmmaking is here. After Steven Soderbergh paved the way for the independent film explosion of the 1990s, moviemaking has been reclaimed from the studios and placed back in the hands of artists. Directors like Richard Linklater, David O. Russell, and Quentin Tarantino were given a reign of creative freedom unseen since the Golden Age era of the 1970s. Not only were these filmmakers able to bring their daring visions to the screen uncompromised, they even achieved the small miracle of turning a profit on their work. The delicate balance between high art and commerce has always been at the cornerstone of cinema. Now the next wave of young filmmakers is ready for its turn. Into this fray, enter Sean Durkin.
Like the paths of directors as diverse as Ang Lee, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, and the Coen brothers, Durkin’s career trajectory starts at the hallowed ground of New York University. Born in Canada but raised in England for much of his childhood, Durkin’s family moved to Manhattan when he was 12. After graduating from Kent School in Connecticut, Durkin enrolled in the film program at NYU. It was there that he met fellow classmates and ongoing collaborators Antonio Campos and Josh Mond. Most film students dream of making a viable filmmaking collective (where they get to work on the kinds of projects they want) upon graduating school. However, the financial hardships and industry competition usually prevent those dreams from being realized. This wasn’t the case with Durkin and his cinematic compatriots.
The three friends founded Borderline Films, a production company and filmmaking collective where they get to work on their own projects while maintaining a certain monetary autonomy within the industry. The first effort was Antonio Campos’s debut featureAfterschool (2008), which was nominated for a Spirit Award for Best First Feature. The collective’s sophomore effort was Durkin’s turn, where he served as screenwriter and director of Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011). Telling the story of a young woman escaping the clutches of a cult, the film features a spectacular lead performance from Elizabeth Olsen and an assured confidence behind the camera from Durkin. The film premiered to much critical acclaim and won the filmmaker the Best Directing Award (Dramatic) at the Sundance Film Festival.
Currently residing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Durkin is producing the second directorial effort from Antonio Campos, Simon Killer. With his colleagues, Durkin has carved a fascinating niche within the film industry. Getting to work on dream projects without having the anxiety of how to raise funding for them is truly the envy of most filmmakers. It goes to show that if one is talented enough, sometimes the pieces really do fall into place.
by Stephanie Dawson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been acting since he was six years old. Now at 22, he is one of the UK’s fastest-growing young stars. Though his role as John Lennon in Nowhere Boy (2009) earned him an Empire Award for Best Newcomer and a British Independent Film Best Actor nomination, it was his role as the hapless wannabe superhero Kick-Ass in the eponymous 2010 movie that brought him into American movie theatres and propelled his career.
Taylor-Johnson was born in High Wycombe, England to a Civil Engineer father and a stay-at-home mother. He attended the Jackie Palmer Stage School where he studied acting, dance, and singing. He began appearing in television and film at age 12, and after high school, he pursued acting full-time.
The actor’s stage appearances include a turn as McDuff’s son inMacbeth. On screen, Taylor-Johnson starred in several television movies before landing recurring rules in the UK series Talk to Me andNearly Famous. The feature films Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging(2008) and The Greatest (2009) helped establish Taylor-Johnson’s heartthrob status. Then came Nowhere Boy, the film that showed the potential and depth of his talent. The actor also appeared as Charlie Chaplin in Shanghai Knights (2003) with Jackie Chan and as the younger version of Edward Norton’s lead character in The Illusionist(2006).
Taylor-Johnson continues to play diverse characters, and lately his roles have also been quite sexy. As Joe in Albert Nobbs (2011), he was able to woo Mia Wasikowska’s character Helen into an improper relationship. Most recently he was adultery-luring Count Vronsky to Keira Knightly’s Anna Karenina (2012), and one-third of the three-way relationship with Blake Lively and Taylor Kistch in Oliver Stone’sSavages (2012).
The actor was credited as “Aaron Johnson” until recently when he and now wife Samantha Taylor-Johnson married and joined names. The two met when Samantha directed Aaron in Nowhere Boy, and they now have two children. She directed him again in the music video for R.E.M.’s “Überlin,” where he shows off his dance and acrobatics training.
Taylor-Johnson will reprise his title character in Kick-Ass 2 and has been reportedly been offered the lead in an upcoming Godzillaremake. His maturity beyond his years, his good looks, and his flawless American accent will continue to make him one of the most sought-after young actors in the US and UK.
by Daniel Quitério
Photo courtesy of Interview Magazine
Some rely on their looks or connections to drive their careers. It’s enough to make any critic cynical. But then there are others who boast a wellspring of talent that turns heads. Miles Teller falls into that latter category. The 25-year-old actor grew up in small towns throughout the East Coast—as far away from the glitter and plasticity of Hollywood as possible. He eventually moved to New York City to pursue an education from the prestigious Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. With a degree and a handful of short films under his belt, Teller landed his first feature—a role opposite one of the most dynamic actors of her time, Nicole Kidman. And in just four years, his resume has grown to include eight feature films and an award at Sundance. All thanks to pure talent.
In 2010, Teller moved audiences to tears with the porcelain-like fragility he displayed in the serious drama Rabbit Hole, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire (who also wrote the film’s screenplay). For her Academy Award-nominated performance, Kidman played the mother of a young boy who was accidentally struck and killed by a car that was driven by Teller’s character. The young actor owned his part, dialing up and down the right amount of emotion and vulnerability that reached through the screen and grabbed audiences by the throat. A lesser skilled actor would have buckled opposite the punches thrown at him by Kidman and fellow seasoned actor Aaron Eckhart. Teller not only stood up to their talent, but he punched right back.
Quick to demonstrate his versatility, the actor’s sophomore performance met audiences on the opposite side of the spectrum. In 2011, he took on the role of Willard in the song-and-dance remake of a classic, Footloose—the same role he played on stage in high school years earlier. He followed this up with a role in the 2012 comedyProject X before mesmerizing Sundance jurors just weeks ago in James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now (by the same writers of (500) Days of Summer). Playing a high school senior and budding alcoholic who’s perfectly content living in the present, Teller’s character Sutter encounters Aimee (played by Shailene Woodley [The Descendants, 2011]), who has her sights set on future aspirations. Both young actors were honored this year with Special Jury Prizes at Sundance, where the film recently premiered.
Teller’s future projects are in various stages of production, and include both comedy and drama featuring such notable talent as Anna Kendrick, Bryan Cranston, and Zac Efron. They include Get a Job, 21 and Over, Two Night Stand, and Are We Officially Dating?, rounding out the five of his films set to release this year.
by Daniel Quitério
The Australian invasion on the American film scene has been taking place for years, lead by such notables as Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, and Geoffrey Rush. And the Aussies’ impact on the industry is particularly felt with this year’s Oscars, as three of the four acting categories contain one nominee from Down Under: Hugh Jackman for Best Actor; Naomi Watts for Best Actress; and one of the newest arrivals, Jacki Weaver, for Best Supporting Actress.
Although Weaver has been around for six decades, performing in film, television, and theatre, her breakthrough on American shores came with her 2010 Oscar-nominated performance in the small Australian film Animal Kingdom, in which she played the matriarch of a Melbourne crime family. (The film also stars other notable Aussies who have made the successful leap across the ocean, Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton.)
In 2012, the 65-year-old Sydney native made her American film debut with the Jason Segel/Emily Blunt-starring rom-com The Five-Year Engagement. Later on the same year, Weaver put on her best Philadelphia accent for David O. Russell’s Best Picture-nominated dramedy, Silver Linings Playbook. In that film, she played Dolores, wife to Robert De Niro’s character and mother to Bradley Cooper’s. As her son is brought home after a stint in a mental hospital, Dolores tries her best to retain normalcy in her home as her son is obsessed with winning back the wife who left him and her husband is a superstitious sports fanatic. Playing a character that’s caught in the middle, Weaver’s Oscar-nominated performance was played with grace despite her character’s internal conflict, which is fueled by the overbearing men in her life.
This March, Weaver will be seen co-starring with fellow Aussies Kidman and Mia Wasikowska in Chan-wook Park’s horror film Stoker. Included among her future projects is a part in writer/director Charlie Kaufman’s much-anticipated film Frank or Francis, starring Elizabeth Banks and Nicolas Cage.
Weaver’s inclusion on this list is proof that one can never be too old to break ground in America. Her newfound American fame is sure to continue for the foreseeable future.
by John Lee
In just a short span of time, Rebel Wilson has become a breakout star in Hollywood. She was born and raised in Sydney, Australia by parents who made a living showing dogs professionally. Yes, cue Best in Show, the cult comedy by Christopher Guest, which Wilson refers to as her childhood growing up. Though her parents’ oddball humor informed her life (her three siblings’ names are Liberty, Ryot, and Annachi), Wilson’s first career choice was mathematics because she was always good with numbers.
In high school, she became a Rotary International Youth Ambassador for Australia and was stationed in South Africa for a year. While there, she decided to pursue acting after the malaria she had contracted gave her hallucinations that she was an Oscar-winning actress. From there she studied at the Australian Theater for Young People (ATYP); she moved to New York in 2003 after winning the ATYP International scholarship to train with the famed Second City improv group. Upon returning to Australia, she wrote, starred in, and produced three stage musicals in Sydney that caught the attention of local television producers who cast her in the SBS comedy series Pizza. In 2009, the actress won the Tropfest Award for Best Actress after starring in the short film, “Bargain!.”
Upon making a permanent move to the United States, Wilson scored her breakout role in the Judd Apatow-produced smash Bridesmaids, playing Brynn, the annoying sister of Matt Lucas’s character. Though the part was small, Wilson made a distinct impression with audiences. From there she was cast in the hit film Bachelorette, starring alongside Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan. But it was her supporting role in last year’s sleeper hit Pitch Perfect that really saw the actress coming into her own. Playing the role of Fat Amy, she stole the film from stars Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow. In last month’s Struck by Lightning, written and starring Glee’s Chris Colfer, Wilson once again stole the spotlight by playing Malerie, the best friend of Colfer’s character.
This year will continue to be a big year for Wilson, as upcoming projects include a role in the Michael Bay-directed Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson; an ABC television pilot she wrote and stars in called Super Fun Night, produced by Conan O’Brien; and she will be the host of the MTV Movie Awards.