The following article contains minor spoilers for “Blade Runner 2049.”
In addition to a pair of memorable performances from Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, cinematographer Roger Deakins’ stunning visual work, and director Denis Villeneuve’s dystopian vision, “Blade Runner 2049” has one more element worthy of excitement: a supporting cast of new and rising stars. Many of them have already made their mark on indie cinema, like the perpetually working David Dastmalchian or the irreverent Carla Juri, while others will likely use Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic as a springboard for even bigger careers (like Ana de Armas, the film’s biggest find).
It’s only appropriate that a future-oriented world like the one on display in the “Blade Runner” franchise would spawn new stars, but they’ve shined quite brightly before. Here’s where you’ve seen them before (and where you can see them next).
Ana de Armas
We’re calling it now: “Blade Runner 2049” is Ana de Armas’ breakout role. As Officer K’s love interest and frequent companion, de Armas’ Joi is the source of most of the film’s emotional heft, and her connection with Gosling bolsters what could have been a mechanical performance into something far more compelling. (Note the way her face appears throughout the film in slightly altered states.) The Cuban actress made her debut at the age of 16 in Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón’s “Virgin Rose,” and while she followed that up with a number of Spanish-speaking roles, most audiences will likely recognize her from work she did after moving to America in 2014. Genre fans know her from Eli Roth’s wicked “Knock Knock,” in which she plays one-half of a devious duo who lead star Keanu Reeves on a truly wild downward spiral, and a later part in the Spanish horror film “Anabel.” She re-teamed with Reeves for the little-seen 2016 drama “Exposed,” but most will know her from her biggest Hollywood role yet: as Miles Teller’s beleaguered girlfriend in “War Dogs,” in which she brought genuine frustration and pain to a Todd Phillips’ latest story of dudes-gone-wild. Next up: Andrea Di Stefano’s “Three Seconds” and the car chase actioner “Overdrive.”
You know David Dastmalchian’s face, even if you don’t know his name. The Kansas native is often cast as a nefarious baddie, or at least a nefarious baddie’s sidekick, as he did in both “Ant-Man” and “The Dark Knight,” but he’s got major indie cred, too. In 2014, the former football star wrote and starred in the wrenching drama “Animals,” which follows a drug-addicted couple as they linger on the fringes of society, battling homelessness, drug addiction, and each other. The film enjoyed a hearty festival run, including a SXSW win for Dastmalchian’s script, hailed especially for its “courage in storytelling.” Between “Blade Runner 2049” and a turn on “Twin Peaks: The Return,” Dastmalchian is having a very big year so far, maybe even big enough to earn household name status. Next up: a starring role in the drama “Teacher,” the post-apocalyptic drama “The Domestics,” and a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” On the writing side of things, Dastmalchian recently penned the drama “All Creatures Here Below,” in which he also stars.
As the replicant sidekick of Jared Leto’s nefarious replicant-making bigwig Niander Wallace, Hoeks’ Luv digs into some of the darker sides of the “Blade Runner 2049.” In a word, she’s formidable (and she’s also outfitted in a large number of very kicky coats). The former Dutch model first broke out in her homeland a decade ago, thanks to a star turn in Jos Stelling’s film “Duska,” which earned her a Golden Calf (the Dutch equivalent of the Oscars), and rocketing her to superstardom in The Netherlands. By 2013, she was ready to head overseas, starring alongside Geoffrey Rush in “The Best Offer,” a hit in Europe. Domestic audiences will likely know her best for her small role in the TV series “Berlin Station,” but “Blade Runner 2049” seems like the sort of film to push her into major demand in Hollywood proper. Next up: Matthew Hope’s actioner “All the Devil’s Men.”
Likely the most recognizable face in the stellar supporting cast, Mackenzie Davis has been wowing indie audiences since she turned heads with her debut part in Drake Doremus’ 2014 drama “Breathe In.” Though that film was fixated on the forbidden bond between Felicity Jones as an exchange student and Guy Pearce as her teacher and surrogate dad, it was Davis’ work has Pearce’s understandably enraged daughter that leapt off the screen. In the years since, Davis has managed to balance the indie and the mainstream, thanks to work in blockbusters like “The Martian” and amiable comedies like “That Awkward Moment.” She excelled in the unnerving “Always Shine,” and co-starred alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the beloved (and now Emmy-winning) “Black Mirror” episode “San Junipero.” Since 2014, she’s starred in the Emmy-winning series “Halt and Catch Fire.” While her role in “Blade Runner 2049” initially seems small, hang tight with it, as it eventually blossoms outward into something pivotal and important. Next up: finishing out “Halt and Catch Fire” and a starring role in Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s comedy “Tully.”
To say her role in “Blade Runner 2049” is quite different in her 2013 breakout “Wetlands” is the understatement of the century, but it only further speaks to the Swiss actress’ startling range. Best known to indie audiences for her work in David Wnendt’s coming-of-age drama, one we’ve previously termed the “most out-there, oh-wow coming-of-age story of the century, a movie that makes the pie-loving of ‘American Pie’ look embarrassingly infantile and ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ seem suitable for family consumption,” Juri has made herself a tidy career of playing a wide array of characters. She’s recently popped up in “Morris from America” and “Brimstone,” plus a starring role in Christian Schwochow’s biopic “Paula.” Next up: Peter Greenaway’s “Walking to Paris” and Daniel Alfredson’s “Intrigo: Dear Agnes.”
The “Captain Phillips” breakout appears in just one scene in “Blade Runner 2049,” but it’s a pivotal one that offers up significant information to both Officer K and the audience at large (hint: it involves the examination of a pivotal prop, and the reaction that his “Doc Badger” has to it only furthers a mystery first hinted at in the original film). Abdi is best known to audiences for his debut role in Paul Greengrass’ fact-based 2013 drama “Captain Phillips,” where the Somalian native played a high seas pirate that take over Tom Hanks’ container ship. It was a full-bodied turn, and made it clear that Abdi was a rising star to reckon with (you could say he was the captain now, but few other films have offered him the chance to so boldly excel). Over the past four years, he’s appeared in a wide range of offerings, though in mostly small roles, including “Eye in the Sky,” “The Brothers Grimsby,” and “Dabka.” Earlier this year, Abdi surfaced as an exceptionally ill-fated security guard in the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time.” Next up: Ken Scott’s “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir.”
“Blade Runner 2049″ opens on Friday, October 6.