Film | Joseph Gordon-Levitt | Michael Fassbender | Nathaniel Rogers | Ryan Gosling

Movies: Ryan, Hugh, Armie and Other Prince Charmings

Gosling Leads The Next Wave

...would live in the movie theater but for the poor internet reception. He blogs daily at the Film Experience. Follow him on Twitter @nathanielr.

This weekend it's raining men in the nation's movie theaters, hugely famous men at that. Hugh Jackman headlines the kid-friendly REAL STEEL which I just heard described as "Rock Em Sock Em Robot: The Movie" but which I've been calling Boxes With Robots simply because it's hilarious to pretend its a three hour Oscar bait epic. Hopefully Hugh Jackman feels he's sufficiently filled up his bank accounts and he can get back to rewarding but less lucrative work starring in musicals where we belongs. Elsewhere in theaters political whiz kid Ryan Gosling faces down a very Presidential George Clooney in THE IDES OF MARCH, which is one to watch for the upcoming Oscar race. The Ides of March takes us behind the scenes at a fictional (fictionalized?) Democratic primary. Ryan Gosling leads the cast as a coveted game piece on the political chess board who finds himself deeper and deeper in dirty dirty politics with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei and George Clooney all vying for his soul... or at least his spin.

Those are the newbies this weekend but elsewhere in movie theaters Brad Pitt is still playing Moneyball (excellent film) and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is battling cancer in 50/50 (reviewed) while the trailer for Clint Eastwood's biopic J. Edgar (with Leo & Armie) keeps playing and Michael Fassbender keeps dominating the arthouse and festival conversation with sexually provocative dramas (A Dangerous Method, Shame). So essentially the current movie landscape is a snapshot of Hollywood's male movie star hierarchy with household name male stars (Hugh Jackman, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio) and the next wave (Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Armie Hammer, Michael Fassbender) who hope to replace them in the collective imagination of moviegoers.

Of course that's an incomplete picture just like this brand new shot of Armie Hammer as Prince Charming in one of two upcoming Snow White pictures.

A full picture AFTER THE JUMP... 


[More brand new Snow White images over at Entertainment Weekly]

This battle between the new and the old (i.e. familiar... DiCaprio is only "old" if you count his J Edgar prosthetics) is given visual form in The Ides of March. In a smart piece at Hollywood and Fine, Marshall Fine illuminates this for us. He writes.

It doesn’t happen often. But every once in a while the stars – such as they are – align correctly and you suddenly see it: the tectonic shift in Hollywood when one generation of actors clicks into the superstar gear, just as the next generation of stars locks in right behind them.

Everyone knows who Clooney is, as well as his cohort: Brad Pitt, Hugh Grant, Robert Downey Jr., Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe... They’ve now reached their prime or are just gliding past it. Gosling is now where Clooney or Pitt were 15 years or so ago: an actor with some strong credits but not quite the mass-audience awareness.

Two of the new movie's most thrilling scenes both involve wordless challenges as Clooney and Gosling lock eyes. For us to believe the drama, Gosling has to read as Clooney's true equal. If there was any doubt that Ryan Gosling has just come into the full force of his movie star powers this year (Drive, The Ides of MarchCrazy Stupid Love) it's erased right then and there.

Gosling on the set of his next picture, "Gangster Squad" with Emma Stone

I've been thinking about this a lot lately so I thought I'd share a few groupings of (male) stars under 35 years of age (had to draw the line somewhere) that I personally think are the most exciting/promising in terms of what they could deliver over the next five years if they're lucky and get the right opportunities. 

Have they peaked or can they still surprise? Chris Evans, James Franco, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emile Hirsch, Channing Tatum, Shia LaBeouf and Jesse Eisenberg

Overvalued?Armie Hammer, Alex Pettyfer, Anton Yelchin, Robert Pattison, Aaron Johnson, Cam Gigandet,Garret Hedlund etcetera...

Gjokaj, Mackie and Rasuk 

Undervalued: Enver Gjokaj was the shortlived Dollhouse's MVP exhibiting range and mimicry skills to rival some Oscar winners (You know how the Academy loves a good mimic) but actors who start in sci-fi rarely get respect; Anthony Mackie has been doing sturdy work on the sidelines for years (Million Dollar Baby, Half Nelson, 8 Mile and many more) and then came The Hurt Locker... Jeremy Renner has been swimming in offers ever since but Anthony...?; Victor Rasuk was endearing and totally natural in Raising Victor Vargas and proved he wasn't a novice wonder in follow up efforts in small roles, particularly Stop-Loss. Cast him already!; If Weekend was a straight romantic drama wouldn't Tom Cullen suddenly be on the top of their list?; Jonathan Groff had fun with his Glee role but that charisma he exuded so casually in Ang Lee's Woodstock ought to have led to bigger things; And what gives with Lee Pace? He's been terrific as a series regular twice (Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies) and compelling on both stage (The Normal Heart) and silver screen (The Fall, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day) and has movie star good looks; where are the high profile offers? 


Top Ten - Bring It On
10. I can't make up my mind...
9. Tom Hiddleston - His "Loki" in Thor put him on Hollywood lists but he was just as compelling in a tiny performance in Midnight in Paris. Next up: Steven Spielberg's War Horse.
8. Ben Foster -if he can learn to self-edit and avoid saying "yes" to everything he'll start giving genius performances.
7. Ben Whishaw - continually interesting even if the project is mediocre. Next up: Cloud Atlas and possibly the next James Bond movie.
6. Jamie Bell - More screen presence and creativity than most actors he ends up supporting. Next up: Steven Spielberg's TinTin (albeit an animated version of him)
5. Andrew Garfield -Hollywood friended him after The Social Network. If Spider-Man hits he can have his pick of roles.
4. Tom Hardy -Bronson suggested a live wire actor and Inception a true star. Lots of future work coming including The Dark Knight Rises and this fall's Oscar-seeking espionage drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Mysterious Skin, Brick, (500) Days of Summer, and 50/50 hint at a possibly endless and (better yet) totally exuberant range.

Fassbender lets it all hang out in Oscar calibre work in SHAME as a sex addict but Oscar
probably won't
 come near this explicit and emotional drama which opens in December. 

2. Ryan Gosling -the best actor under 35 on this side of the Atlantic, loaded with movie star mojo.
1. Michael Fassbender - the best actor under 35 on that side of the Atlantic powered by mystery, screen presence and total fearlessness. 

And which frequently employed star do you think is way overvalued?



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  1. I completely agree about JGL and Ryan Gosling as the top two actors under 35 in this country. Though I think JGL is actually the better actor, he lacks the amazing sex appeal of Gosling.

    Posted by: verybookish | Oct 7, 2011 8:15:18 PM

  2. Ben Bonenfant starred as the lead as a gay hustler in "Strapped," so he seems to be an unheard of actor in an unwatched movie? doesn't shed any light about a body of work, but he did a knock-out performance in that role. He was pretty compelling throughout the film but there's a long scene at about the 50 minute mark that really should make casting directors perk up their interest, he's so captivating & believable. I also want to see Zach Gilford from "friday night lights" in more roles. And Jamie Bell has never been bad in any role as far as i can tell. Ditto for James McAvoy.

    Posted by: Daniel | Oct 7, 2011 9:44:00 PM

  3. Anthony Mackie is seriously undervalued.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Oct 7, 2011 9:45:54 PM

  4. I completely agree with you regarding Victor Rasuk...brilliant in "Raising Victor Vargas"...cast him already!!

    Posted by: peterparker | Oct 7, 2011 10:15:38 PM

  5. Urgh, loathe most of your list but agree with lee pace. I'd also put Matt Bomer in there who for god knows what reasons doesn't seem to like to do movies at all, despite the fact that after Texas Chainsaw M, I was looking all over for more information about him but found NOTHING.

    He is apparently brilliant in In Time and the best dancer in Magic Mike. He's just turned 34, so just makes the cut but heck so is Fassbender!

    JGL, nuff said.

    Tom Hardy, Jamie over acting and BAD. Hardy has been so crap in too many English overrated dramas for me to see him as anything but an overrated idiot.

    Armie Hammer, only seen him in Social N and so willing to be open about this, although I wonder why all this praise since his only been in one movie we know of? But he was the same in all those law and orders...

    Andrew G.....loved him in Social N but thought he overacted in that horrible film that Heath ledger died while making....but he choses hood roles...

    Anyway, I think this list is so frigging premature because I'm actually really excited that Hollyweird-due to the Internet and change in cultural landscape-is finally looking at really good actors. And some of these are TV actors who are still doing TV but also film.

    Hopefully this will blur the line of 'movie starz' and instead of us heaping praise on fame hungry whores like Ryan gosling and his mickey mouse student mate Justin Timberlake, we can actually look at other people doing stuff.

    Oh and last thing which makes this list even more useless.....James Franco could easily have all of Goslings roles....he was asked to do them at the first place and then some but he has refused and wants to get on with his own artwork, gay movies.

    It's all good to say Natalie Portman is the second coming but we have to look at why Kirsten Dunst is only in a few movies, all films that seem to be calculatedly picked.

    As they say, there is a reason why movies stars are movie stars and say why here nothing of some the best actors/actresses in the world who don't suffer from serious ego problems.

    I think Slate did a brilliant piece on underrated actors...and no, Ryan Gosling wasn't in the list!

    Posted by: Rowan | Oct 8, 2011 3:02:11 AM

  6. Ryan Gosling gave a performance in "Blue Valentine" that blew me away emotionally. He was adorable in "Lars and the Real Girl" and powerfully sexy in "Drive". He is the most compelling screen presence in contemporary cinema circa 2011. AND RYAN GOSLING IS THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE!

    Posted by: wmul | Oct 8, 2011 7:04:18 AM

  7. yes, but back to Real Steel, did Hugh Jackman have any shirtless scenes like in Austalia ? Cause its worth it then.

    Posted by: NwYrkr | Oct 8, 2011 9:13:29 AM

  8. Can we say Botox anyone? The cult of youth means the most available for stud close-up gets to carry a picture, though yes, it is true, the box office rules in the end who comes and who still gets to keep coming. Clooney got refreshed for HD. Directing is the best evolution for a truly hard-working actor who is harder on the lens and his audience. Is Clooney the Ron Howard of his time or the Clint Eastwood? Time isn't kind to the actors who trade in the shirt-off, catch his bare ass coming out of the shower acting. And the guys who are brilliant in their up-and-coming roles must be still relying on agents and casting-calls in the night. To see more of these guys, they are going to have to put up their own money and produce stuff. It kept Jodi F going, and will keep most of them working. It is self-employment, but time is ticking. Soon enough, Ryan G will be playing the crusty grand-dad with placement issues in a nursing home. Though, when he gets the chance to do it, he will be funny. He has that ability not to take himself seriously while being serious. James Franco needs that pill and then he will remain a contender.

    Posted by: John B | Oct 8, 2011 9:49:23 AM

  9. First time, in spite of its innumerable appearances here, I've ever read this guy's column. It will certainly be the last time, too. Lazy, uninspired prose and insights best kept to oneself. Pure garbage. Blerg.

    Posted by: Mark | Oct 8, 2011 10:06:28 AM

  10. This is well and lovely but its sad that none of them on these lists are openly gay. Hey maybe in another 35 years an openly gay man can be young, successful and an actor.

    Posted by: Toto | Oct 8, 2011 8:19:26 PM

  11. Matt Bomer is going to be huge with his combo of talent and looks. Not many actors if any can match in the younger set. White Collar has an odd shooting calendar so tough scheduling movies. Word has it a huge movie role announcement coming. Gosling so over rated. Gordon-L is excellent but sticks to smaller movies. Pettyfer is average at best and gaining bad behavior rep without the talent to back it up. Armie Hammer has a lot to prove.

    Posted by: Hank | Oct 9, 2011 1:57:45 AM

  12. Heath Ledgers last film "The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus' was NOT horrible. Just because YOU did not like it does not mean it was horrible. It was just not YOUR cup of tea. I loved it. Its nice to see a film with out boobs and bombs everywhere. One that makes you think!

    Posted by: rosah | Oct 9, 2011 4:02:04 AM

  13. Gosling and Fassbender are givens. The trouble with Jamie Bell is that he's a character actor, not a traditional action or romantic lead. If I were investing in the future, my money is on Ben Foster, Bell and Anthony Mackie.

    And what happened to Lucas Black? He should be listed somewhere on this page.

    Posted by: Gega | Oct 11, 2011 11:39:40 PM

  14. In the United States, more and more people are indulging in the luxury of making home movies with the help of their personal computers.

    Posted by: telugumovies1 | Oct 12, 2011 6:26:12 AM

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