Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Breakouts: 10 Up-and-Coming Actors to Watch in Toronto

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire September 6, 2012 at 9:18AM

While the Toronto International Film Festival is mostly known for its star wattage and Oscar-bait fare, the event also serves as a springboard for up-and-coming actors to make their marks. Freida Pinto, Ellen Page, Shailene Woodley, Dev Patel, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Oscar-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes all came to Toronto as relative unknowns and emerged as highly sought-after talents. With the 37th edition of the festival launching tonight with the world premiere of Rian Johnson's sci-fi spectacular "Looper," we offer our picks for the ten actors to watch this year.
3

Tom Holland in "The Impossible"
TIFF Tom Holland in "The Impossible"
Tom Holland ("The Impossible")

Why You May Know Him: If you caught the moving trailer for the tsunami disaster film "The Impossible," chances are you remember Holland as one of the two young actors who tugged at your heart strings (his brother is played in the film by fellow newcomer, Oaklee Pendergast). And if you're a fan of the stage, you know him as Billy Elliot, the dancing boy wonder -- Holland played the title role on London's West End from 2008 to 2010.

What Toronto Could Mean For Him: With no film acting credits to his name, the stage star is probably banking that "The Impossible" delivers on the hype its promising trailer stirred up among Oscar prognosticators. If he manages to hold his own against Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor (who play his parents in the film), then you can bet casting directors will take notice.

What's Next: He's currently filming the war film "How I Live Now," starring Saoirse Ronan and directed by "The Last King of Scotland" helmer Kevin Macdonald.
 

Olga Kurylenko ("Seven Psychopaths," "To the Wonder")

Why You May Know Her: Even if you didn't much care for Bond's last outing "Quantum of Solace," there's no denying that Bond's squeeze in that entry, the gorgeous Kurylenko, made a great first impression. The Ukranian import has since gone on to star in a number of lower-profile projects, most notably "Centurion," opposite Michael Fassbender.

What Toronto Could Mean For Her: Despite what the first still for Terrence Malick's "To The Wonder" might lead you to believe, Rachel McAdams is not the female lead of his film, Kurylenko is. Early reviews out of Venice have been notably mixed for the experimental drama, but most have singled out Kurylenko's lead turn as a star-making one. Malick did wonders for Jessica Chastain last year. We're betting the same will be the case for Malick's latest muse.

What's Next: Lots. She'll be appearing in the upcoming second season of Starz's period series "Magic City," set to air next year, in addition to appearing opposite Tom Cruise in the sci-fi epic "Oblivion," out next April. On top of those two projects, she recently completed shooting "The Expatriate," in which she'll appear alongside Aaron Eckhart.
 

Ewen Leslie in "Dead Europe"
TIFF Ewen Leslie in "Dead Europe"
Ewen Leslie ("Dead Europe")

Why You May Know Him: He was nominated for an Australian Film Institute Award for his acclaimed lead performance in "Jewboy," which screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes and in the Spectrum Section at Sundance in 2006. On stage, Leslie has appeared opposite Cate Blanchett in his native Australia and has won several awards for his portrayal of Richard III.

What Toronto Could Mean For Him: Despite his award-winning turn in "Jewboy" and a slew of TV and film credits, Leslie is far from a household name like some of his fellow Aussie actors. If his brutal thriller "Dead Europe" goes over well at TIFF, that could all change. In it, he plays a Greek-Australian photographer who uncovers a shocking family secret when he returns to his ancestral homeland.

What's Next: His next project, "The Railway Man," marks his highest-profile role yet. The true WWII story will find Leslie sharing the screen with a starry cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and "War Horse" breakout Jeremy Irvine.

This article is related to: Toronto International Film Festival, Penn Badgley, Callan McAuliffe, Nat Wolff, Alicia Vinkander, Mickey Sumner, Ewen Leslie, Olga Kurylenko, Tom Hollander, Holliday Grainger, Alice Englert