Fresh faces fuel movies in 2007

Category: Misc./General Career News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: November 23, 2007 | Publication: Detroit News | Author: Tom Long
Publication/Article Link:Detroit News

So far this year, Gerard Butler has brought in nearly twice as much at the box office as Brad Pitt; Jonah Hill has easily topped George Clooney; and AnnaSophia Robb has left Meryl Streep in her dust.

Who, you may well ask, are Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill and AnnaSophia Robb?

They are among a gaggle of previously unknown actors who've cleaned up at movie houses in 2007, strong indication that Hollywood is nudging toward a post star-driven reality in which special effects, high concepts, balanced acting ensembles and strong marketing matter more than familiar faces.

Take Shia LaBeouf. A year ago, few outside the entertainment industry would have recognized him. Even today, after bringing home nearly $400 million between April's "Disturbia" and July's "Transformers," he's hardly a household name.

But LaBeouf is certainly emblematic of Hollywood's Year of the Nobody. And he's far from alone.

Last week's biggest film was "Beowulf," built around character actor Ray Winstone. Two days ago, "Enchanted" was released, starring the dazzling unknown Amy Adams.

And Oscar prognosticators everywhere await the December release of "Juno," starring young nobody Ellen Page alongside near-nobody Michael Cera ("Superbad").

Don't fret, fans: Pitt, Clooney, Streep and all the other stars aren't going to disappear. At least not anytime soon.

But considering this year's abundance of successful nonstars, you can look for an ever-increasing number of nobodies coming soon to a theater near you.

Seth Rogen
Who? A 25-year-old writer-actor-producer, part of the Judd Apatow posse responsible for "KU," "Superbad" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," specializes in amiable stoner-slacker types, even when playing a cop.

Hits: Star of "Knocked Up" ($148 million at the box office), featured in "Superbad" ($121 million).

Next up: "Pineapple Express," which he co-wrote; just signed to do "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" with director Kevin Smith.

Ellen Page
Who? At age 20 the tiny Page, who hails from Nova Scotia, was an indie sensation in 2005's "Hard Candy," and then did the mega-hit thing in "X-Men: The Last Stand." "Juno," in which she plays a pregnant teen, is expected to earn her widespread serious-actress recognition.

Hit: In addition to "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Juno" (set to arrive in theaters in December) is already critically hailed.

Next up: "The Stone Angel," with Ellen Burstyn.

Jonah Hill
Who? At 23, the portly Hill has appeared in 12 films since 2005, including "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." But showing up in three $100 million flicks in one year is really working in overdrive.

Hits: "Superbad" ($121 million), featured in "Evan Almighty" ($100 million), "Knocked Up" ($148 million).

Next up: "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," with Kristen Bell.

Amy Adams
Who? At 33, Adams has earned an Oscar nomination for the little-seen "Junebug" and starred beside Leonardo DiCaprio in "Catch Me If You Can," but her luminous turn as a fairy-tale princess in "Enchanted" is her first major exposure.

Hits: Check box office for "Enchanted" on Monday, "Charlie Wilson's War" in December.

Next up: After "Charlie Wilson" she has "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" with Frances McDormand, as well as projects with Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Steve Zahn, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin.

Michael Cera
Who? This innocent-looking 19-year-old earned credibility as Jason Bateman's son on TV's "Arrested Development," but he took things to a whole new level with the success of "Superbad," and "Juno" will only keep the buzz going.

Hits: "Superbad" ($121 million), "Juno" coming in December.

Next up: After "Juno" comes "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist."

Shia LaBeouf
Who? At 21, LaBeouf has been in the business for almost a decade, but this was his breakout year (he also voiced the main character in the animated "Surf's Up"). He may be the guy who'll carry on the Indiana Jones franchise.

Hits: "Transformers" ($319 million), "Disturbia" ($80 million).

Next up: "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

AnnaSophia Robb
Who? Now 14, Robb has also appeared in "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," and currently has projects in the works with people ranging from The Rock to Charlize Theron.

Hits: "Bridge to Terabithia" ($82 million), also "The Reaping."

Next up: "Have Dreams, Will Travel," with Val Kilmer.

Gerard Butler
Who? This respected 38-year-old Scottish actor played the Phantom in 2004's "Phantom of the Opera" and has done cult faves such as "Dear Frankie," but broke big with his muscled turn in "300."

Hits: "300" ($210 million), "P.S. I Love You" coming in December.

Next up: After "P.S." comes "Nim's Island" with Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin.