Part 1 ~ A-K scroll down
for Part 2 ~ L-Z (click here)
Part 1 ~ A-K scroll down
for Part 2 ~ L-Z (click here)
If you're the type of moviegoer who regularly asks "who's in it?" than you're going to love the new year of movies or hate it depending on how you feel about these thesps, who might be all over your screens. This year is tougher to guess about since the ripples of the now ended writer's strike might be felt and actors themselves could go on strike soon. You'll be surprised to note that Cate Blanchett is not on this list. But be warned: she will be just as ubiquitous as ever on magazine covers, red carpets and screens this year since her two '08 projects will both be inescapable: it doesn't get much more high profile than Indiana Jones and the Place of the Thing or the reunion of Se7en's director and star David Fincher & Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Both films are already in post-production so there's plenty of time for her to squeeze in something else. She doesn't sleep.
Amy Adams has just woken up from her nap in a nearby meadow and hollow tree. Everyone's favorite new princess is ready for more close-ups. None of her upcoming films are as blockbuster-friendly as Enchanted but it's a safe assumption that she'll continue to sparkle in them. First up is Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a period comedy in which she hires Frances McDormand as her personal assistant. Later she'll be cleaning crime scenes with another rapidly rising beauty (Emily Blunt) in Sunshine Cleaning, before putting on the nun's habit for the adaptation of the Pulitzer winning stage play Doubt (with Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour-Hoffman). A lot of people will be predicting Doubt for a swath of Oscar nominations. It's an exciting water-cooler type experience as a stage play but as a film? We'll see.
Jennifer Aniston. Proclaiming that the ex Mrs. Pitt will be "ubiquitous" in a calendar year is a little like claiming that Michelle Pfeiffer will be beautiful, Tom Cruise crazy and Britney Spears tragic. But, let's say so anyway. Could be a bigger year that usual. She's part of the all star ensemble in the dramatization of the best-seller He's Just Not That Into You, she has the lead role in the romantic comedy Management and she's filming Traveling , a drama with Aaron Eckhart. Three more films are lined up beyond that to so she'll stay spotlit well into 2009.
Eric Bana The former Incredible Hulk won't go green this year (that gamma curse has now fallen on Ed Norton) but he's definitely earning some. Things get hot and heavy quickly. This month bring us the Australian drama Romulus, My Father with German wonder Franka Potente (Run Lola Run, The Bourne Identity) as his co-star as well as the already-in-theaters The Other Boleyn Girl (pictured right) in which he muscles Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson into his bed, poor things. He'll follow that by freaking Rachel McAdams out in The Time Traveler's Wife and he was supposed to cap the year off with some sort of glorified cameo in Star Trek as "Nero" but the movie is now pushed back to summer 2009. When tent-poles are delayed its often a bad sign.
Elizabeth Banks is F***ing Seth Rogen (offkey!) on YouTube
Elizabeth Banks, that naughty nozzle-loving comic delight from The 40 Year Old Virgin, is gracing the Vanity Fair fold-out for a reason. She's got a passel of movies coming out. The romantic Definitely, Maybe (Ryan Reynolds is a lonely dad and Abigail Breslin his matchmaking daughter) is already out. Later in the year she'll appear in the horror thriller A Tale of Two Sisters but it's a trio of comedies that could bestow A list status by year's end. She has the lead female role in the odd summer film Starship Dave in which a human-looking spaceship (Eddie Murphy) falls for her, displeasing the aliens who live inside him. Later in the year she returns with her Wet Hot American Summer co-horts Paul Rudd and writer/director David Wain for Little Big Men and she's also one of the two title characters in the upcoming comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno (Zack is Seth Rogen). At Christmas time we might see her in Lovely, Still an elderly romance starring Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn.
Emily Blunt is a tease. She glided down the stairs in just a man's dress shirt and her skivvies in Charlie Wilson's War (yowza) and then *poof* disappeared from the movie, leaving you wanting much more. As the top hat top girl on the new Vanity Fair Hollywood cover the year looks promising. First up is a co-starring gig with another cover girl Amy Adams in Sunshine Cleaning. She also has a supporting role in The Great Buck Howard an indie with John Malkovich as an over the hill entertainer. Most importantly, if Oscar history is any indication, she'll be enjoying an awards run next winter for the biopic The Young Victoria (previously discussed here) in which she plays... well, you've already figured that out. Oscar does love a royal. But... they don't always love younger queens. We'll see.
Jim Broadbent. Fans of this delightful and often inspired character actor have been hankering for another 2001. Remember that? He was right there providing dramatic, moving or hilarious support to 60% of the Best Actress nominees (in Moulin Rouge!, Iris, and Bridget Jones Diary) and he won the Oscar, too. This year could be as big. We hope that the father/son drama And When Did You Last See Your Father? (already completed) makes it to America. Then there are supporting roles in the aforementioned The Young Victoria and and some fantastical probable blockbusters like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Inkheart and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In the latter he has the plum role of potions instructor Horace Slughorn who has crucial information about Lord Voldemort's youth.
Daniel Brühl. Who loves this German actor (most recently seen in The Bourne Ultimatum and Two Days in Paris)? Raise your hands. Oh, so many of you! I keep wishing he'd have more of an international breakthrough... or at least something as big as Goodbye Lenin again to remind people about him. With European stars it's nearly impossible to know whether or not we'll get to see any of their films but he's got several going on so if the distributors are kind we'll see some of the following: In Tranzit (a WW II drama with Vera Farmiga) A Tram in SP (plot unknown) Krabat (a German fantasy about sorcerers), John Rabe (a German biopic about a businessman who saved hundreds of thousands of lives during the Nanjing Massacre in the late 30s). And he's already signed for a few more. Chief among them is Julie Delpy's period epic The Countess about the infamous 16th century noblewoman Erzebet Bathory who bathed in blood and inspired all those vampire stories. The cast is in place so we hope Delpy speeds it through production. Hurry up you crazy multi-talented French wonder!
Bradley Cooper. Was I just imagining it or was he not well liked in those first couple of seasons of Alias? It's years later and he's in demand and delighting audiences. He was laugh out loud funny on Nip/Tuck this year as a narcissistic actor with no boundaries and now he has four motion pictures due. He's part of a strong cast in Peyton Reed's (Bring It On, The Break Up) next comedy Yes Man (Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Terence Stamp also star) which is due this Christmas.
He's part of the huge star-studded ensemble of He's Just Not That Into You but the key to a future A list movie career might be found in what he does with the title role in All About Steve. Sandra Bullock is his stalker in that Fox comedy. As if that comedy triple feature weren't enough he's also got the lead in the summer horror film Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train.
Daniel Craig I saw him first. No seriously. At this point I'm totally annoyed with all his new crazed fans and the entire blogosphere posting any picture of him they can find. Where were you when I was shouting his praises before Bond. Huh? You were complaining when I did saying 'he's weird looking'. Now, will you learn to trust me when I fawn over an actor you haven't heard of? Anyway Bond is back in Quantum of Solace but that's in November. Before then, cross your fingers, we could see him in the memoir-of-a-star drama Flashbacks of a Fool. After Bond, he'll close the year with Defiance which is directed by Edward Zwick. Zwick never gives up chasing that Oscar dragon. So many baity projects on paper (Glory, The Last Samurai, Legends of the Fall, Courage Under Fire, Blood Diamond) but the Academy never completely bites down once they're on screen. The bait this time? Jewish brothers leading a resistance movement in the Belarussian forest against the Nazis during World War II. Will Zwick finally capture gold?
Melonie Diaz. I don't usually do Sundance but I hear that if you bought tickets to anything she was in it. The new indie queen? We'll see. I hold a special place in my heart for anyone who was in Raising Victor Vargas (seriously, put it on your rental queue) and this year she's in the comedy Be Kind Rewind (out right now with Jack Black and Mos Def) I'll Come Running (a romantic drama), American Son (an indie about a Marine on leave) and the comedy/mystery Assassination of a High School President which I can't really recommend but in which she is her usual adorable self... and I'll give her this --she does a fine drunken dance in a hot red dress.
Robert Downey Jr is in one--OK, let me rephrase: the rumor is that Downey Jr will appear in not one but two superhero films this year. Which means he's going to have a very big year. Basically if you're in even one you're as high profile as it gets. Iron Man we're well aware of. But it's rumored that that tin man will have a cameo in The Incredible Hulk too. I think that's a smart move on Marvel Entertainment's part, even if it's not true. He's also got two comedies: he plays the principal to a therapist teen in the high school comedy Charlie Bartlett and he's part of the comedic crowd in Ben Stiller's Tropic Thunder about a group of actors becoming soldiers. Finally and with the most trepidation I approach The Soloist . It's directed by the talented rising star Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice) but the subject matter sounds terrible on paper: a schizophrenic homeless musician (Jamie Foxx) with big dreams. Doesn't that sound so 90s and Desperately Seeking Oscar? Yikes.
Ralph Fiennes needs to get his calendar in order. It seems like we never see him. And then we see him constantly. And then we never see him. 2008 is Fiennes-full. In Bruges a gangster comedy is the first attack. Bernard and Doris a long delayed never released biopic with Susan Sarandon should be on DVD soon, and a war drama The Hurt Locker which finally brings director Kathryn Bigelow (Point Break, Strange Days) back to the action genre where she made her name. He's also Duke to Keira Knightley's The Duchess and for his last act of 2008, he could be in the Oscar race again (it's been a long time) co-starring with Kate Winslet in Stephen Daldry's (The Hours) adaptation of the novel The Reader. But since the new Harry Potter picture focuses on Voldemort's youth, word is that you won't see him in that one. Still... I wouldn't be surprised if they worked in a cameo somehow.
Colin Firth is a star I don't really get. I'm agnostic about his charms....you might even say atheistic. Yet the abundant love others feel for this everyman Brit is impossible to deny. If you're a Firth lover you'll be happy to hear he's got a whole bunch of celluloid coming your way. Mamma Mia! (he'll play an old paramour of Meryl Streep's), Genova (a new drama with a strong role for him opposite Catherine Keener and Hope Davis), And When Did You Last See Your Father? (if it ever opens in America), The Accidental Husband (an Uma Thurman romantic comedy), St. Trinian's (a girl's school drama with Rupert Everett), Then She Found Me (directed by Helen Hunt) and even more films are on their way --at least three already marked for 2009. Colin Firth = busy.
Gael García Bernal. Unlike Daniel Brühl listed above, Gael is a foreign star who has broken out in America. He turns 30 this year and he's already one of the best actors on the planet. It still feels like the sky is the limit. So why aren't we getting all of his Spanish language films? Grrrrr. And, more to the typical Hollywood point: why isn't he being cast in more English language films when his English is fine? If we're lucky we'll see him this year in Déficit (which Gael directs and stars in), The Past (a romantic breakup drama from Hector Babenco -still best known for helming the Oscar nominated Kiss of the SpiderWoman, 1985), Rudo y Cursi (inside the world of competitive soccer, directed by Carlos Cuarón), Mammoth (the new international film from the controversial Swedish director Lukas Moodyson). But if we don't see any of those we will at least be seeing the diminutive star with giant talent in Oscar hopeful Blindness in which he plays 'King of Ward 3'. A lot more on that film in previous posts.
Anne Hathaway makes me go goo-goo eyed. I just. Well... I just. I'm sorry but I do. I'm happy to report that she has the high profile role of Agent 99 (who I had a huge crush on as a wee boy) in Get Smart . Later she's part of the dramatic ensemble in Passengers and last but definitely not least she headlines Dancing with Shiva about a recovering junkie and ex-model (Hathaway) returning home for her sister's wedding. The reason I'm excited for it --apart from the Hathaway love is that it's a Jonathan Demme original. He's had a rough go of filmmaking this past decade doing a lot of poorly received remakes of superior films. But I'm hoping that we see a burst of his 80s spirit and invention this time out. Demme was once an important director for actresses who were looking to step it up. He directed Melanie Griffith's best work in Something Wild (1986). He gave Michelle Pfeiffer (who he claimed was his favorite actress) one of her best roles in Married to the Mob (1988), and she was never looser or funnier in another comedy. And before he started fumbling his career he won the Oscar directing Jodie Foster to her second statuette for The Silence of the Lambs. Will he work magic with Anne Hathaway and Debra Winger (who plays her mother)?
Angelina Jolie reminded people about her Mighty Talent in 2007 so this year she goes back to just being a diva. You'll hear her as the voice of Master Tigress in Kung Fu Panda and you'll see her in the flesh tossing around a lot of heavy artillery in the politically suspect action movie Wanted in which she and Morgan Freeman convince James McAvoy to be a wolf rather than a sheep. Shoot first, second, third and fourth. Ask questions much later. Most importantly, she'll play the lead in the 20s drama The Changeling for Clint Eastwood. Eastwood pictures lately have a habit of being major Oscar players but who knows. He made a lot of movies that weren't Oscary before he was suddenly the Academy's favorite septugenarian. We'll see.
Catherine Keener, an actor's actor and audience fav', will have five to seven pictures out this year (!) In no particular order there's An American Crime (delayed from last year) in which she abuses Ellen Page in her basement. Strangely it's going to cable instead of the theater. You'd think distributors would want to catch little "Juno" while she's hot. Catch her and tie her up in the basement! Keener will also be featured in Michael Winterbottom's next, Genova which is about a father raising three young girls. I've already written a big post on Synecdoche, New York which is screenwriter Charlie Kauffman's directorial debut. Keener is currently filming the next Joe Wright picture The Soloist where she'll appear with Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr. Plus: we might get her fourth collaboration with writer/director Nicole Holofcener. That's a director/actor pair worth getting excited about. But that's not all. Catherine was featured in two Sundance ensembles in January. Sometimes Sundance movies take more than 12 months to make it to a theater near you but at some point you'll be able to see the high school theater comedy Hamlet 2 and the inside Hollywood satire What Just Happened? with Robert DeNiro.
Will these 17 actors lead you into the movie theater?