With the 2013 edition
of the Tribeca Film Festival launching tonight, the springboard is
loaded. Here are Indiewire’s picks for the 10 actors to watch this year.
Haley Bennett, “Deep Powder”
Before appearing in Terrence Malick’s upcoming and still untitled film about the music scene, Haley Bennett stars in “Deep Powder” as Natasha, a privileged young woman who enlists the help of a townie (Shiloh Fernandez) to go on a drug run to Ecuador. Bennett memorably acted in another drug-fueled teen film, Gregg Araki’s “Kaboom,” and in Joe Dante’s 3D scarefest “The Hole.” From the sounds of it, “Deep Powder” will be the vehicle to show just why Malick selected her to star in his film opposite the likes of Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Michael Fassbender. Whether she makes the final cut, of course, is still up in the air.
Zoe Bell, “Raze”
Stunt-woman and sometimes actress might Zoe Bell is best known for her standout turn atop the hood of a moving car in Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof.” She played a small role in his hit follow-up “Django Unchained” but remained masked throughout, not getting any opportunity to shine. That changes with “Raze,” her first headlining endeavor that looks to do what “Haywire” did for MMA star Gina Carano. In this sly subversion of the women-in-prison genre, Bell plays Sabrina, who’s mysteriously abducted and finds herself in an underground lair forced to do battle with other women for the amusement of an audience.
Nikohl Boosheri, “Farah Goes Bang”
Following her breakout turn in the Sundance award-winning “Circumstance,” Nikohl Boosheri is back, this time headlining the sex comedy “Farah Goes Bang,” proving she can tackle both hard-hitting drama and comedy with aplomb. In Meera Menon’s film, Boosheri plays the titular Farah, a woman trying to lose her virginity while on the road
campaigning for John Kerry in 2004 with her friends. Farah and her
friends K.J. and Roopa follow the campaign trail across
historic Route 66 on their way to Ohio, the central battleground state
of 2004, seizing control of this charged moment in their lives and the
life of their country.
Amy Grantham, “Lily”
“Lily” is a true passion project for co-writer and star Amy Grantham. A cancer survivor, Grantham chose to write “Lily” with co-writer and director Matt Creed to show audiences what life is like after you finish treatment. With no film experience behind her, Grantham takes lead duties in her debut, playing the titular character who is forced to answer questions she put off for years after winning her battle against cancer.
Jon Foster, “Mr. Jones”
Still best known to this day for his work in 2004’s “The Door in the Floor” opposite Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger, Jon Foster has been working steadily since but hasn’t been able to break free from that film’s shadow. In “Mr. Jones,” a fresh take on the found-footage genre, Foster takes headlining duties as Scott, a filmmaker in desperate need of inspiration. Hoping to make a creative breakthrough, Scott and his girlfriend sneak into their creepy neighbor’s sculpture workshop, only to realize that their curiosity may have deadly consequences.
Caity Lotz, “The Machine”
As anyone who caught the Sundance horror entry “The Pact” can tell you, Caity Lotz makes for a kick-ass action heroine. Unfortunately for her, not many saw her breakout turn in the film. The majority of folks probably know her as the one of the many guest stars in “Mad Men” who left a lasting impression, playing Stephanie, the niece of the real Don Draper’s widow Anna. In “The Machine,” Lotz is afforded her strangest and possibly most eye-catching role to date as the titular being. The UK sci-fi adventure centers on a brilliant programmer and his ultimate creation (Lotz), a beautiful and dangerous cybernetic super soldier created to put a stop to an endless Cold War, who turns out to be the more humane of the two.
Emily Meade, “Bluebird”
24-year-old actress Emily Meade does a remarkable job of playing a virginal teenager in “Bluebird,” Lance Edmands solemn ensemble character study. That, and she stands out among a cast that includes Tony-nominee Amy Morton, “Mad Men” vet John Slattery and “Girls” hunk Adam Driver. Meade is no newcomer to scene — she’s been working since 2006 — but she’s long been relegated to sub-par horror fodder (“My Soul to Take”) or well-intentioned but misguided dramas (“Twelve”), when not appearing in TV shows like “Boardwalk Empire” and “Law & Order Special Victims Unit.” In “Bluebird” she gets a role and film worthy of her considerable talent.
Amy Morton, “Bluebird”
Steppenwolf Theater core group member Amy Morton has been slaying it on stage for over 20 years, netting a Tony nomination and a slew of other accolades in the process. On the big screen however, Morton has remained relatively unknown save for some supporting work in “Up in the Air,” “8MM” and “The Dilemma.” Hopefully that changes once festival audiences catch her devastating lead turn in the solemn ensemble drama “Bluebird.” In the film, Morton stars as a school bus driver whose one tragic mistake shatters the lives of those involved, including that of her husband (“Mad Men”‘s John Slattery) and daughter (Emily Meade, who also made this list).
Maxine Peake, “Run & Jump”
British stage actress Maxine Peake is relatively well known in her home country for her work on the small screen in Channel 4’s “Shameless,” BBC’s “Dinnerladies” and a number of other popular projects. Despite an appearance in James Marsh’s “Red Riding” segment (it was part of a trilogy), Peake has yet to become a known commodity stateside. That could change with the dramedy “Run & Jump,” in which she stars opposite “SNL” star Will Forte as an Irish wife struggling to keep her family together after a stroke leaves her husband disabled.
Michael J. Willett, “G.B.F.”
Michael J. Wilett makes his film debut in “G.B.F.,” a “Mean Girls”-style teen comedy that inverts the gender to place a man (Wilett) at the heart of the storyline. Wilett, a TV actor who’s appeared in “Cougar Town” and “United States of Tara,” here plays Tanner, a high schooler who outs himself becoming his school’s first openly gay student. The news piques the interest of the school’s most popular three girls, each of whom want to claim Tanner as their own Gay Best Friend (G.B.F. of the title).