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10 Actors To Watch at Cannes

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 15, 2012 at 1:24PM

One of the single greatest opportunities for an actor to break out on the world cinema stage, the Cannes Film Festival, has helped launch countless careers.
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Jason Clarke in "Lawless"

One of the single greatest opportunities for an actor to break out on the world cinema stage, the Cannes Film Festival, has helped launch countless careers. 

So as the 65th edition of the festival gets underway, who might be this year's Jean Dujardin? There's perhaps more potential breakouts this year than ever, with many relative unknowns leading highly anticipated films.

So in the midst of Tiger Beat-friendly presence of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Zac Efron, Indiewire is offering a list of 10 actors that could potentially upstage those we're all too aware of.  You might not know their names now, but that could easily change in the next 11 days.

Jason Clarke ("Lawless")

Why You May Know Him: The Australian actor is likely best known for his starring role on Showtime's acclaimed series "Brotherhood. He also had small roles in recent films like "Public Enemies," "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" and "Texas Killing Fields."

What Cannes Could Mean For Him: Playing one of the three bootlegging Bondurant brothers opposite Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy in fellow Aussie John Hillcoat's "Lawless," Clarke is the least known amidst an impressive cast that also includes Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska. If the film is well received, it could set the stage for a big year for the actor (see below).

What's Next? Clarke has roles in two of December 2012's most anticipated films: He's playing George Wilson in Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" and is part of the expansive ensemble in Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden film "Zero Dark Thirty."

Sarah Gadon in "Cosmopolis"

Sarah Gadon ("Cosmopolis" and "Antiviral")

Why You May Know Her: The 25-year-old Canadian actress has been acting since she was 10, mostly on Canadian television. But last year people outside her native country took considerable notice with her work in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," where she played Emma Jung opposite Michael Fassbender's Carl Jung.

What Cannes Could Mean For Her: The Cronenberg family seems determined to see Gadon break out at Cannes this year, with both David and his son Brandon bringing films to the fest starring the actress. In Cronenberg Sr.'s "Cosmopolis," she plays the wife of Robert Pattinson's billionaire lead character, while Brandon gives her a more primary role as a superstar infected by a virus.

What's Next? She'll be in Denis Villeneuve's "An Enemy" -- his follow-up to "Incendies," which co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent and Isabella Rossellini. Shooting starts on May 22.

Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward in "Moonrise Kingdom"

Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward ("Moonrise Kingdom")

Why You May Know Them: It's unlikely you do. Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" is the first role for either young actor.

What Cannes Could Mean For Them: The pair dually play the lead roles in "Kingdom," which finds them acting opposite Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Bruce Willis and Frances McDormand as 12-year-olds who decide to run away into the wildnerness together. One of the most anticipated films of the festival (which it opens Wednesday night), if Gilman and Hayward hold their own against their respected co-stars, folks will take notice.

What's Next? Neither has lined up their second film yet.

Jessica Mauboy ("The Sapphires")

Why You May Know Her: If you pay attention to Australian pop culture, you may know the 22-year-old Indigenous R&B singer as the runner-up on the fourth season of Australian Idol and a subsequent pop star in her own right (she opened for Lady Gaga on the Australian leg of her last tour).  Additionally, she had a starring role in the 2009 film "Bran Nue Dae," which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.

What Cannes Could Mean For Her: With a lead role in Wayne Blair's "The Sapphires" -- screening out of competition in the festival's main selection -- Mauboy could very well find fans outside of Australia. The film was picked up for American release by The Weinstein Company earlier today.

What's Next? Mauboy is currently focusing on her music career and is working on her third studio album.

Matthias Schoenaerts in "Rust & Bone"

Matthias Schoenaerts ("Rust & Bone")

Why You May Know Him: The 34-year-old Belgian actor had the lead role in last year's Oscar-nominated "Bullhead," which won him the Belgian equivalent of a best actor Oscar.

What Cannes Could Mean For Him: Playing the male lead opposite Marion Cotillard in Jacques Audiard's highly anticipated "Rust & Bone," Schoenaerts has a juicy role that could earn him considerable international attention.

What's Next? The actor has roles in two upcoming English language films, both of which could help him break in America.  The first actually sees him reprise his role from the 2008 Belgian film "Loft" in Erik Van Looy's English language remake (Van Looy also directed the original, though Schoenaerts is the only returning cast member). The second sees him re-team with Cotillard in Guillaume Canet's English language debut "Blood Ties," which also stars Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana and Clive Owen. [Go HERE for our profile of Schoenaerts, done earlier this year.]

Tye Sherdian with Matthew McConaughey in "Mud"
Tye Sheridan
("Mud")

Why You May Know Him: The teenage actor made his acting debut as Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain's middle child in last year's Palme d'Or winner, "The Tree of Life,."

What Cannes Could Mean For Him: The 15-year-old Texan has a significant role in Jeff Nichols' "Mud," where he plays opposite Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon as a boy who helps shelter a fugitive (McConaughey). Along with aforementioned "Moonrise" stars Gilman and Hayward, Sheridan is one of a trio of teenaged Americans who could be the talk of Cannes.

What's Next? Sheridan doesn't have anything officially in the works, but in this interview with Indiewire last year, he said he hopes to work with Malick again.

Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur ("Beyond The Hills")

Why You May Know Them: Unless you know them personally, you probably haven't heard of the Romanian actresses, who have the lead roles in Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond The Hills."

What Cannes Could Mean For Them: Playing two young women who grew up in the same orphanage, Stratan and Flutur could follow in the footsteps of Anamaria Marinca and Laura Vasiliu, who broke out thanks to Mingiu's previous film, Palme d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days."

What's Next? Neither have booked their next roles.

Rin Takanashi in "Like Someone In Love"

Rin Takanashi ("Like Someone in Love")

Why You May Know Her: The 24-year-old Japanese actress and former teen model starred in the 2007 film adaptation of the Japanese novel "Goth," and starred in the popular (in Japan) "Super Sentai' film series as Mako Shiraishi/Shinken Pink.

What Cannes Could Mean For Her: Though she already has a Japanese fan base, her starring role in Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami's Japanese language drama could give her notice all around the world.

What's Next? Takanashi seems to be getting plenty of work in Japan, including roles in currently airing television series "D x Town" and "O-Parts."

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Lawless, Mud, Moonrise Kingdom