We guide you through the next group of talented young actors and rising stars, who have been doing great work and making waves on the big and small screen. These actors gave star-turning performances the last few years, in a diverse mix of movies and TV shows leading to global success, making Hollywood take notice and take the whole film and television industry by storm. Showcasing charisma, screen presence, talent and maturity beyond their years, we look forward to these talented young performers gracing our screens for decades to come on their journey to superstardom. For our list of rising stars, we chose: Jonathan Majors, Jenna Ortega, Glen Powell, Xochitl Gomez, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Xolo Mariduena, Coco Jones, Austin Butler, Amber Midthunder, Henry Golding, Aldis Hodge & Samara Weaving. Hollywood is in good hands for the future.
Jonathan Majors is a graduate from the Yale School of Drama with an MFA in acting and graduate from the University of Arts at North Carolina, and was also a recipient of the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) National Drama Competition. He has recently come to prominence in the independent film Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019), and his breakthrough roles in the critically acclaimed TV show Lovecraft Country and Spike Lee’s Netflix war drama Da 5 Bloods (2020). He was the lead, starring as righteous outlaw Nat Love in the action-packed Western The Harder They Fall (2021) opposite Idris Elba. He starred in the war time biopic of pilot Jessie Brown in Devotion. In 2023 he will star in even bigger projects like Marvel Studios’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), where he will appear as villain Kang The Conqueror and in Creed III opposite Michael B Jordan. Majors is a special talent, who I believe in the next few years will continue to reach the levels of greatness in acting like Denzel Washington, Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando, Leonardo DiCaprio, Eddie Murphy and many more. He is that gifted of a performer whether he plays a villain, hero, romantic lead in various genres i.e.. action, comedy, horror, or the stage, as he is classically trained in theatre. He is without doubt a force of nature when he performs.
Jenna Ortega has graced our screens on projects such as the Emmy award winning Jane The Virgin (2012), Ironman 3 and many more. She would the go on to star in her own Disney series Stuck in the Middle (2016-2018). Her star would begin to rise rapidly during the next few years, in such projects from Netflix: The Babysitter: Killer Queen, Yes Day, YOU and then 3 defining roles came her way, HBO’s Fallout (2021), Scream 5 (2022), and Wednesday (2022). The latter of which would bring her true global stardom in showcasing her talents on the worldwide stage. Her likability and intense screen presence have engaged well with a worldwide audience and allowed her to excel. She has been nominated for a Golden Globe for her wonderful portrayal of Wednesday Addams further cementing her stardom. Recently Netflix renewed Wednesday for Season 2 after it became one of its most viewed shows of all time. In 2023 she will star opposite another rising star Samara Weaving in Scream 5, which is the 6th film in the horror franchise.
Glen Powell is a former student from the University of Texas. His first big breakthrough role was when he was cast in The Great Debaters, directed by Denzel Washington, while a senior at Westwood High School in Austin, Texas in 2007. After completing his freshman year in college, he made the move to Hollywood, California. In the next few years he would begin booking regular roles in projects such as The Dark Knight (2012), The Expendables 3 (2014), Scream Queens (2015-2016), and Hidden Figures (2016). Showcasing his ability in comedy, he starred in the Netflix rom-com Set It Up (2018). But it wouldn’t be until Top Gun: Maverick (2022) that would solidify what a talented actor and bonafide star he is starring as the cocky, charismatic, quick-witted, self-absorbed, but elite fighter pilot Lieutenant Jake “Hangman” Seresin, opposite Tom Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, which would go on to be a box-office hit worldwide. Glenn literally stole almost every scene he was in, showing a magnetic presence, swagger and confidence on screen. His character had great one liners that held the audience’s attention every time he came on screen, which I believe was also elevating his co-stars performance. His next project was a passion project, which he produced and starred opposite fellow rising star Jonathan Majors. This film is Devotion (2022) and tells the story of the first Black aviator in U.S. Navy history- Jessie Brown.
Xochitl Gomez was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and is of Mexican descent. Xochitl is the youngest of our rising stars at just 16 years old. She literally burst onto our screens and the world’s radar in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, a career changing role for her as multi-dimensional traveling superhero America Chavez. Before entering the MCU, she grew up starring in musical theatre from as young as 5 years old. This would lead to other roles and award nominations such as the Platinum Award Winner for Best Child/Best Young Actress in 2019, the Festival Award Winner in 2018, and the Young Entertainers Award Winner for Best Leading Young Actress in a Television Series for The Baby-Sitters Club. She exudes a wonderful natural likability, wholesome joy, and integrity that pulls in the audience and allows you to root for her on America Chavez’s journey on screen. She is likable, charismatic and glows on screen conveying an X-factor you simply cannot teach.
Daisy Edgar-Jones is a young British actress whose reputation has been steadily growing as she showed her talents in TV series War of the Worlds (2020) and most recently films such as horror Fresh (2022) which premiered at the Sundance Festival 2022 and her starring role in Where The Crawdads Sing (2022) based on the coming of age murder mystery, of the popular novel by Delia Owen. Daisy has the ability to showcase charisma, empathy, compassion, vulnerability and inner strength in the various characters she portrays, making it difficult for you not to empathize with whomever she plays. She will next be starring as the legendary American singer/songwriter Carole King. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA for her work on the coming of age drama TV series Normal People (2020). She also showed her stage prowess starring in Albion at the Almeida Theatre in her hometown of Islington, North London. She learned her craft at the National Youth Theatre in London which has produced the likes of Idris Elba, Rosamund Pike, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet and many more. Her best years are ahead of her on the big and small screen.
Xolo Mariduena was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Xolo got his big break on the NBC TV series Parenthood which started as a guest role, then turned into a regular role. It was also the show that helped launch a young Michael B. Jordan on the path to becoming a big name. He made appearances on Twin Peaks (2017), but it was the role of Miguel Diaz on The Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai (2018) where he played the young Latin American student of Johnny Lawrence, that his star would begin to rocket. Cobra Kai’s first two seasons started as a cult hit on YouTube with nearly 100 million views, but it was not until the show moved to Netflix in 2020 that it became the global phenomenon it deserved to be, launching Xolo Mariduena’s star further. This would lead to him being cast as the lead in DC Comics movie adaption of the superhero Blue Beetle where he would star as the young Latinx American Jamie Reyes. Xolo’s natural ability to gain sympathy, show desire and passion, and connect in his portrayals with audiences has gained him fans worldwide. Xolo is of Mexican, Cuban and Ecuadorian heritage.
Coco Jones has been a revelation on Bel-Air (2022) stealing every scene she appears in as the modern incarnation of Hilary Banks, the ambitious eldest daughter of a wealthy African American black family. The Banks from Bel-Air, California is a modern re-telling of Will Smiths 90’s hit “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. Coco brilliantly captured Hilary’s ambition to succeed in this modern era and create a name for herself. She is also a very gifted singer/songwriter and former Disney star, previously appearing on shows such as Good Luck Charlie (2010-2014) and So Random! (2011-2012) respectively, and the Netflix horror/comedy Vampires Vs. The Bronx (2020). Season 2 of Bel-Air returns in February 2023 and we all look forward to witnessing the growing talents of Courtney Michaela Ann “Coco” Jones on the small and big screen.
Austin Butler gave the performance of a lifetime in his young career as the legendary Elvis Presley. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis movie was released in the summer of 2022 and a new star was born on screen in the shape of one Austin Butler, an extraordinary talent. His performance was magnetic, electrifying, mesmerising and unforgettable. His portrayal of one of the most iconic real-life figures in music and pop-culture was one of the best I have personally ever witnessed. From the dancing, the singing, the instruments, and the swagger, he is a special talent who if he continues on the correct trajectory could be one of the best actors of his generation. He captured how Elvis growing up was influenced by great Black African American musicians and culture in his performances and conveyed it brilliantly on screen with the relationship dynamics with his manager Colonel Parker (Tom Hanks) and own family. Austin had appeared in various TV shows and movies in small parts such as Arrow (2013-2014), The Shannara Chronicles (2016-2017), and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). In 2018 he appeared on Broadway in the play ‘The Iceman Cometh’ with a cast featuring Denzel Washington, David Morse, and Colm Meany. After winning a Golden Globe for best actor, Austin thanked Washington in his speech, saying, “Also, I gotta thank Denzel Washington. Denzel, thank you for your kindness, thank you for your generosity and championing me when you did not have to.” Austin has mentioned in numerous interviews that Denzel Washington recommended him to director Baz Luhrmann for the role of Elvis Presley.
Amber Midthunder is a Native American actress whose appeared on shows such as Legion (2017-2019) and Roswell: New Mexico (2019-2022). In the summer of 2022, she captured our hearts and minds with the spirited portrayal of skilled and resourceful Native Comanche warrior Naru in Prey, the prequel to the original Predator movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Glover. Amber was an absolute revelation in the role that has made her a star on the rise. Prey was a massive hit with fans on Hulu and Disney Plus, with the possibility of sequels to come. Amber had her first speaking role as a 9 year old opposite Academy Award winner Alan Arkin in Sunshine Cleaning (2008) and starred with another legendary actor Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water(2016). After helping bring a franchise back to relevance, Amber solidified her spot on our list. I look forward to what project Amber will showcase her talents on next in 2023 and beyond.
Henry Golding has had a meteoritic rise in the last 5 years in Hollywood and the film industry. The British/Malaysian actor has shown great natural talent, eloquence, versatility, and star powered X-Factor whenever he is on the screen. He started as a successful and charismatic travel show host for the BBC in the UK. He made his feature film debut in the global smash hit Crazy RichAsians (2018) as the suave and likable a Singaporean multi-millionaire Nick who brings his fiancé Rachel played by Constance Wu to meet his family in Malaysia. Then he starred with Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in the murder mystery/thriller A Simple Favor (2018). He starred in romantic comedy LastChristmas (2019) with Emilia Clarke. But for me, it was his performance in Guy Ritchie’s stylish British gangster flick The Gentlemen (2019) where his talents stood out. In the film, he plays a comedic, ruthless and obnoxious gangster named Dry Eye, holding his own opposite the likes of Matthew McConaughey and Hugh Grant. He starred in Snake Eyes (2021), the title character in a spin-off of the GI-Joe franchise, showing he could do action and train in the martial-arts for the role. In 2023, Henry will be starring in Netflix’s The Old Guard 2 (2023) opposite star Charlize Theron and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Samara Weaving has come a long way. The young Australian actress’s reputation has been steadily growing bigger ever since she made her debut on Australia’s legendary soap opera Home and Away (2009). She would go on to star in over 300 episodes, the show that Chris Hemsworth, Luke Mitchell, Isabelle Lucas and the late Heath Ledger also starred in during the beginning of their young careers. After leaving Home and Away, Samara would star in indie films like Mayhem (2017) and the horror TV series Ash Vs Evil Dead (2016). Her standout roles would come in a quirky horror/comedy from Netflix’s The Babysitter (2017) as the character of Bee, a babysitter who is the leader of a satanic cult. She showed the ability to have compassion, empathy and a cold-hearted ruthlessness in her performance and surprising comedic timing. Another breakthrough role was in the entertaining, fun, over-the-top horror/action film Ready or Not (2019) where she played a bride who has to take part in a horrifying game against her in-laws and ends up fighting for her life with a whole amount of chaos, showcasing her abilities to do action and carry a film emotionally, and conveying that ability to engage with the audience. She starred opposite Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted: Face the Music (2020) and will be seen in Scream 6 (2023) opposite Jenna Ortega.
Aldis Hodge is not just a talented performer who has been acting for a long time consistently, he is also something of a renaissance man. He writes, paints, is a qualified watchmaker (horologist) and learned to play the violin as a teenager. Aldis was born in North Carolina but raised in New York. His first debut role was in Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) along with his brother Edwin Hodge when they were kids. He would continue to work consistently appearing in shows such as Supernatural (2005), The Walking Dead (2010) and many more. His popularity would rise on the highly rated TNT television series Leverage (2008) as Alec Hardison. He would start to be involved in critically acclaimed and Academy Award nominated films such as Straight Outta Compton (2015) where he played MC Ren, a member of the Rap Group N.W.A and Hidden Figures (2016) alongside Octavia Spencer, Tajari P. Henson and Janelle Monae. His portrayal of Jim Brown in One Night in Miami (2020) was inspired and commanding. His performance was a revelation in the horror/thriller The Invisible Man (2020) from Blumhouse Productions, opposite Elizabeth Moss. He was cast as the first big screen portrayal of DC Comics Hawkman aka Carter Hall, the high flying, winged, mace carrying superhero who plays by his own rules in Black Adam (2022) and would put him on the global stage opposite Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. He will next be seen on Amazon Prime TV series Cross (2023) based on James Paterson’s Alex Cross novels as the title character.
Character quotes below:
Nat Love– “Just A Man. Here To Kill The Scorpion.” (The Harder They Fall)
Wednesday Addams– “I find social media to be a soul sucking void of meaningless affirmation”. (Wednesday)
America Chavez– “More complicated than being chased by a witch through the multiverse?” (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)
Lt. Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin -” You really don’t get it. On this mission, a man flies like Maverick here, or a man does not come back. No offense, intended.” (Top Gun: Maverick)
Kya Clark-“If you’re in trouble, run and hide deep in the creek where the crawdads sing like Ma always said.” (Where the Crawdads Sing)
Miguel Diaz-“I didn’t get into karate to hurt people. I did it to be a badass and find balance.” (Cobra Kai)
Hilary Banks– “I’m sorry, I don’t feel sorry.” (Bel-Air)
Elvis Presley– “When things are too dangerous to say, sing.” (Elvis)
Naru– “It knows how to hunt. But I know how to survive.” (Prey)
Dry Eye– “A gentlemen’s quote is a gentlemen’s word.” (The Gentlemen)
Grace– “You said your family was f****d up, but you didn’t say psycho killers.” (Ready or Not)
Hawkman– “We’re the Justice Society. Our mission is to protect global stability. We’re here to restore peace to Kahndaq. And we will use force if necessary.” (Black Adam)
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