If you end up winning a role that John Boyega, now the lead in "Star Wars: Episode VII," and the hotly-tipped Jack O'Connell (see above) were both in contention for, you can be sure that people are gonna sit up and pay attention to you. That's what happened to Taron Egerton: The other two equally fast-rising Brits were up for the lead role in Matthew Vaughn's upcoming spy actioner "Kingsman: The Secret Service" alongside Colin Firth, but it's Egerton that won out, and he's following it up with a diverse mix of gigs afterwards. The 25-year-old actor, who hails from North Wales, trained first at the hallowed National Youth Theater, then the even more prestigious RADA, from which he graduated in 2012. His first major gigs, alongside long-running TV detective show "Lewis," were on stage: in the acclaimed National Theater production of "The Last Of The Haussmans," and alongside Tom Sturridge in "No Quarter," the third play by Polly Stenham (who's writing Nicolas Winding Refn's next film). Earlier this year, he did an excellent job in the ensemble firefighting TV drama "The Smoke," before landing the hotly-contested 'Secret Service' gig, and trailers and Comic-Con footage suggest that he's got a cheekily charming screen presence that could take him far. Since that film wrapped, he's shot the WWI drama "Testament Of Youth," a potential Oscar sleeper, and will be Mad Teddy Smith in "Legend," Brian Helgeland's film about the legendary and much feared gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray, starring Tom Hardy in both roles.
With actors like Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, David Oyelowo, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, David Harewood and more finding stardom in the U.S. after frustrations at home, U.K. writers have been puzzling over why Britain can't hold on to its best black actors. The answer, of course, is that no one writes them any good parts, and though one can only hope this state of affairs changes, the latest to head across the Atlantic is David Gyasi, who's netted a key role in Christopher Nolan's latest. 34-year-old Gyasi, a native of Fulham who trained at Middlesex University, has been acting for over a decade, traversing the familiar route of appearances in long-running shows like "Casualty" and "Doctors" at first, while also appearing in regional stage work. But he stood out alongside Hugh Dancy and John Hurt in 2005's Rwanda-set drama "Shooting Dogs," and bigger and better roles followed, including a major role in the stage production of "War Horse" (in the role taken onscreen by Benedict Cumberbatch). But his career really kicked off in 2012: he began with the year with a small part in George Lucas' passion project "Red Tails" before impressing massively in the undervalued, era-spanning BBC drama "White Heat," as one of a group of university flatmates whose number also included Sam Claflin ("Catching Fire"), Reece Ritchie ("The Lovely Bones') and MyAnna Buring ("Kill List"). Late that year, he also stood out in another star-studded ensemble, the Wachowskis' "Cloud Atlas,' while in between, also managed to fit in an episode of "Doctor Who," and a bit part as "Skinny Prisoner" in "The Dark Knight Rises." Christopher Nolan, the director of the latter, must have been impressed by what he saw on set, because Gyasi has reunited with the A-list filmmaker to play a key role in his upcoming "Interstellar," as one of the astronauts who join Matthew McConaughey on his epic mission (you can see snippets of him in the trailer). Last time Nolan promoted from within, he turned Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt into movie stars. Will he manage the same again with Gyasi?
Despite fierce competition from "22 Jump Street," we'd still argue that "Neighbors" was the best studio comedy of the summer. And that's in part to the depth of its comic ensemble: from familiar faces like Seth Rogen and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, to performers showing new aspects like Rose Byrne and Zac Efron, to newer faces like Hannibal Buress and Ike Barinholtz, pretty much everyone brought their A-game. But there was one actor with whom we were completely unfamiliar, and who despite relatively little screen time, made an enormous impression, and it turns out many think that he could be the next big thing in comedy. 26-year-old Jerrod Carmichael, a North Carolina narrative, moved to L.A. at the age of 18 to pursue a career in stand-up, and has been honing his act ever since, to the extent that he's pretty much top of the tree now: he's a remarkably assured and accomplished performer, with smart and progressive material and a low-key, entirely winning manner. His first proper non-stand-up gig was writing for Odd Future's sketch show "Loiter Squad," followed by a recurring role on short-lived sitcom "Goodwin Games," but it's "Neighbors" that really pushed him into the spotlight. Carmichael played Garf, one of the more prominent non-Efron members of the frat, and while we imagine there's plenty more on the cutting-room floor, what was left, particularly a killer scene between him and Hannibal Burress' cop character, really showed that he's clearly got a career in movies ahead of him. People have been paying attention: He's already taped an hour-long stand-up special for HBO, directed by none other than Spike Lee, which will air in the fall, and NBC, after coming close to picking up a pilot presentation showcasing him, have already fast-tracked another pilot written by and starring Carmichael. The Apatows and Stollers of the world are just as excited about him, from what we hear, so expect him to be inescapable within the next couple of years.