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The Sundance Springboard: Indiewire Picks 10 Actors to Watch in Park City

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire January 16, 2013 at 11:7AM

Brit Marling, Elizabeth Olsen, Edward Burns and Gabourey Sidibe all came to Park City as relative unknowns and emerged as highly sought-after talents. With the 2013 edition of the Sundance Film Festival launching tomorrow, here are our picks for the 10 actors to watch this year.
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Sundance "Milkshake"

Brit Marling, Elizabeth Olsen, Edward Burns, Terrence Howard and Gabourey Sidibe all came to Park City as relative unknowns and emerged as highly sought-after talents. With the 2013 edition of the Sundance Film Festival launching tomorrow, the springboard is loaded. Here's Indiewire's picks for the 10 actors to watch this year.
 

Tyler Ross ("Milkshake")

Why You May Know Him: 23-year-old Tyler Ross is best known for his lead turns in two gay-themed films, "The Wise Kids" and "Nate and Margaret." He also starred in two episodes of the Keley Grammer-starring series, "Boss."

What Sundance Could Mean for Him: In David Andalman's feature-length debut "Milkshake," Ross is afforded his juiciest role to date as a young guy reaching for a dream he will never achieve: to become a black man. Early buzz suggests the movie is very funny, no doubt thanks in large part to his performance. If he hits it out of the park with this NEXT entry, he could leave Park City with some great notices and maybe some future offers.

What's Next: Nothing in the books yet. Look for that to change when "Milkshake" debuts.

Sundance "The Way, Way Back"

Liam James ("The Way, Way Back")

Why You May Know Him: 16-year-old Canadian actor Liam James played a young Vince Vaughn in "Fred Claus," and son to John Cusack in the summer blockbuster "2012" in addition to appearing in TV shows like the American remake of "The Killing" and "Psych."

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: In "The Way, Way Back," the filmmaking debut of Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (two of the writers behind "The Descendants"), James plays lead opposite a cast that includes Steve Carell, Toni Colette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell and Maya Rudolph. If he can hold his own among this formidable ensemble, then he has a very bright future ahead.

What's Next: Nothing official...yet.

Lindsay Burdge ("A Teacher")

Why You May Know Her: Lindsay Burdge most recently appeared opposite indie horror master Ti West in Joe Swanberg's "All the Light in the Sky," which played at AFI Fest in 2012. A favorite on the indie circuit, Burdge's credits include Benjamin Dickinson's "First Winter" and Ricky Shane Reid's "White Fox Mask."

What Sundance Could Mean For Her: A lot. In Hannah Fiddel's "A Teacher," Burdge appears in pretty much every scene as an attractive suburban Texas high school teacher who's having an affair with a student. The subject matter alone will no doubt court a ton of attention, and if her performance goes over well, she stands to be one of the biggest breakouts of the festival. Bravery goes noticed.

What's Next: Burdge will soon be returning to Austin (where she shot "A Teacher") to film "The Sideways Light," a movie she refers to as "another female-driven enterprise."

Sundance "Fruitvale."

Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale")

Why You May Know Him: Michael B. Jordan has defined himself on the small screen by starring in "The Wire," "Friday Night Lights" and "Parenthood." On the big screen, he got to fly high in both "Chronicle" and "Red Tails," and appeared opposite Keanu Reeves in "Hard Ball."

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: Despite an impressive CV and a solid number of years in the business, Jordan is far from a household name. If his indie "Fruitvale" breaks out in a big way, that could change. In Ryan Coogler's feature-length debut, he plays a twenty-something Bay Area resident who sees everything go from good to bad over the course of an increasingly problematic New Year's Eve in 2008. Octavia Spencer also co-stars.

What's Next: Jordan is currently filming the romantic comedy "Are We Officially Dating," starring Zac Efron, Imogen Potts and Miles Teller (see below).

Miles Teller ("The Spectacular Now")

Why You May Know Him: 25-year-old Miles Teller came out of seemingly nowhere to hold his own opposite Nicole Kidman in John Cameron Mitchell's wrenching "Rabbit Hole." He's since appeared as a supporting player in films as varied as "Footloose" and "Project X."

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: Having already established himself as a talent to watch out for via a crop of stellar supporting roles, Teller finally gets his big chance to prove himself as a leading man in James Ponsoldt's anticipated follow-up to "Smashed," "The Spectacular Now." In the drama, Teller plays a high school senior with no plans for the future, who wakes up one morning on a lawn to find himself drawn to a girl (Shailene Woodley) who is his complete opposite.

What's Next: Teller next appears in the March release "21 and Over." He also has "Two Night Stand" opposite Analeigh Tipton, and the Zac Efron-headlined comedy "Are We Officially Dating?" in the works.

TWC "The Master"

Ambyr Childers ("We Are What We Are")

Why You May Know Her: 24-year-old beauty Ambyr Childers has a number of credits to her name including the horror "Playback" and a stint on "All My Children," but chances are you best know her as Philip Seymour Hoffman's daughter in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."

What Sundance Could Mean For Her: In Jim Micke's anticipated reimagining of the 2010 Mexican horror film of the same name, Childers gets to sink her teeth into her highest profile role to date as one of two daughters forced to provide for her cannibalistic clan when tragedy strikes. Childers already proved she could hold her own opposite a galvanic Joaquin Phoenix. If she impresses in "We Are What We Are," we have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of her in the coming years.

What's Next: You can currenly see Childers as a Milk Skinned Blonde (according to IMDb) in "Gangter Squad." She next appears in the upcoming Liev Schrieber-headlined series "Ray Donovan," which will play on Showtime.


Sundance "Two Mothers"

James Frechevile ("Two Mothers")

Why You May Know Him: Australian actor James Frecheville impressed many with his blistering big screen debut in "Animal Kingdom" (which coincidentally premiered at Sundance in 2010), but since then he hasn't made much of a name for himself Stateside, despite appearing briefly in the indie romantic comedy "The First Time."

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: With the Sundance Premieres entry "Two Mothers," Frecheville stands the chance to break out in a bigger way that he did with "Animal Kingdom," thanks in large part to the cast he stars alongside in the buzzed-about drama. In "Two Mothers," he plays the object of Naomi Watts' affection. The catch? Her character's best friend since childhood (Robin Wright) also has the hots for her son (played by "Twilight" hunk Xavier Samuel).

What's Next: In the shopping mall-based comedy "Mall" (apt title), Frecheville will star opposite Vincent D'Onofrio, Gina Gerson and Mimi Rogers. And in the upcoming murder mystery "I Fought the Law," he plays Bobby Fuller, a one-hit wonder from the '60s, whose murder causes a writer to uncover a conspiracy involving the music industry, the L.A.P.D. and snuff films. Giovanni Ribisi, Malin Akerman and Michael C. Hall all co-star.

Sundance "This Is Martin Bonner"
Paul Eenhoorn ("This Is Martin Bonner")

Why You May Know Him: Seattle based Australian actor Paul Eenhoorn has been making a name for himself in his city's filmmaking industry for the better part of the past decade, after trying to make a break for it in his native country. He's likely best known for playing the villain, Mr. Daniels, in the family comedy "Max Rules" which was voted by audiences as the top U.S. film at the 2004 Seattle International Film Festival. Eenhoorn may also be recognised by video gamers for modelling as the face for "Half-Life 2"'s Arne Magnusson.

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: A whole lot. As the oldest actor on this list, Eenhoorn may very well be the middle-aged breakout of this year's festival thanks to his grounded turn in the affecting indie, "This Is Martin Bonner." In the drama, he plays the titular character; a man who leaves his old life behind and relocates to Reno, where he finds work helping released prisoners transition to life on the outside, while trying his hand at speed dating and passing time as a soccer referee on weekends.

What's Next: Eenhoorn told Indiewire that he recently got cast in "The Dead Men," a "small indie film that's going to shoot out in the desert in California, about a journalist who gets taken hostage in Iraq."

Kaya Scodelario ("Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes")

Why You May Know Her: Best known in the U.K. for her breakout turn as a troubled teen in the controversial hit series "Skins" (which briefly spurred an MTV knockoff Stateside), 20-year-old Kaya Scodelario made a transfixing transition to the big screen in Andrea Arnold's radical take on "Wuthering Heights." She had bit parts in "Moon" and "Clash of the Titans."

What Sundance Could Mean For Her: Touted by many as this year's Felicity Jones-type breakout, Scodelario stands a good chance at making a name for herself in North America with her lead role in the U.S. Dramatic contender, "Emanuel and the Truth About the Fishes." In the film, directed by "Tanner Hall" helmer Francesca Gregorini, and co-starring Jessica Biel and Alfred Molina, Scodelario stars as a troubled young woman who takes a strange fascination to a new neighbor who resembles her dead mother.

What's Next: She'll next be appearing in the Dakota Fanning-starring weepie "Now Is Good."

Sundance "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete"

Skylan Brooks ("The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete")

Why You May Know Him: For a child actor, Skylan Brooks has racked up an impressive amount of credits to his name. He's best known for appearing opposite America Ferrera and Forest Whitaker in the family comedy, "Our Family Wedding."

What Sundance Could Mean For Him: With his lead role in the coming-of-age story "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete," from "Soul Food" writer-director George Tillman Jr., Brooks has a lot riding on him to deliver opposite a cast that includes Jennifer Hudson, Anthony Mackie and Jeffrey Wright. In the film, he plays one of two inner-city youths who are left to fend for themselves over the summer after their mothers are taken away by the authorities. If he managed to carry the picture, Brooks' career should kick into high gear.

What's Next: Nothing official yet.

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Futures