The list of go-to names for big roles, particularly for male leads, is an ever-changing one. We ran down a list last year, but even in the few months since then, new names have come to the forefront, and some have jumped to the front of the queue. “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth, for instance, who just locked down the title role opposite Kristen Stewart in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” is a newbie, while his co-star in the forthcoming film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” romantic lead Sam Clafin, not only bagged the prince part in the fairy tale, but also the lead in would-be-‘Harry Potter‘-replacement franchise “The Seventh Son,” with Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.
And now, two more new names, who are all the rage right now, have been linked to one of the biggest projects currently out there. Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s “The Great Gatsby,” which the Australian director is shooting in 3D, for some reason that escapes us, already has four A-listers on board, in the shape of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Isla Fisher, as well as newcomer Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker, but one other, Ben Affleck, who was linked to the key role of Tom Buchanan, bowed out in favor of his next directorial effort, “Argo.” Fortunately, Luhrmann’s got two of the most in-demand young actors around interested, with The Hollywood Reporter bringing news that both Joel Edgerton and Luke Evans tested for the part in the last week.
Australian actor Edgerton has been a familiar name since a brief role as Uncle Owen in the “Star Wars” prequels, but the tremendous homegrown crime flick “Animal Kingdom” seems to have launched him into bigger territory: he’s starring opposite Tom Hardy in the buzzed-about sports picture “Warrior,” and with Jennifer Garner in the fable “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” and recent weeks have seen him named as Tony Gilroy‘s top choice for the lead in “The Bourne Legacy” (which ultimately went to Jeremy Renner), courted by Universal for “Snow White and the Huntsman,” and bagging the starring role in Kathryn Bigelow‘s timely “Kill Bin Laden.”
Evans, meanwhile, was more or less the only bright spot in “Tamara Drewe,” and even before that breakout part hit theaters, the British actor grabbed parts in Tarsem‘s actioner “Immortals” and as one of the titular swordfighters in Paul W.S. Anderson‘s “The Three Musketeers.” Like Edgerton, Evans was down to the final few for the ‘Bourne Legacy’ role, and while he didn’t get it, he’s become attached to a number of other projects, including British thrillers “Dogs of Law,” “The Amateur American” and “Ashes,” as well as being cast in Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Thailand-set crime flick “Only God Forgives.”
So it’s no surprise to see that the duo are both up for the part: they’re good fits for the role, that of the millionaire husband of Gatsby’s great love Daisy, as well as being hugely sought after right now. If anything, we’d say that the film’s Australian shoot could give Edgerton the edge, but at the same time, there could well be conflicts with the “Kill Bin Laden” shoot, so we could easily see Evans stepping in as well. We imagine we’ll find out who gets the role shortly. Shooting is meant to get underway later in the year: there’s no release date planned yet, but we’d be surprised if it wasn’t being targeted for the 2012 awards season at present.