Hollywood loves to discover unknown actors and make them stars. In perhaps the most famous example, producer David Selznick took more than two years to select Vivien Leigh to portray Scarlett O'Hara, the iconic heroine of Gone With the Wind. She was almost a complete unknown outside of her home country of England, but thanks to her sterling performance, she quickly become a star in Hollywood. In 1996, little known Matthew McConaughey landed a leading role in A Time to Kill and quickly established himself as a big star, just three years after his notable yet tiny part in Dazed and Confused.
Now newcomers are looking to make big impressions with roles in two major upcoming productions. First up is Tom Taylor
. He's been cast as Jake Chambers in The Dark Tower
, according to Variety
, a 12-year-old boy who becomes a close ally of the heroic Roland Deschain (Idris Elba). While many, many actors in this age group have been cast in key movie roles, this particular role will receive intense scrutiny, not only because Taylor will evidently be making his big-screen debut -- so far, his credits have been limited to a few television shows -- but also because the role itself is pivotal to the plot and essential to the development of Roland's character.
If Taylor delivers a great performance, it will strengthen the movie and also guarantee that his career will receive a major boost, especially if the movie resonates with audiences and leads to more installments. The Dark Tower
also stars the aforementioned Matthew McConaughey, Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road
), and possibly
Aaron Paul. It's scheduled for release on February 17, 2017.
Director Christopher Nolan is also considering a little-known actor for a potential star-making performance. Nolan wants newcomer Fionn Whitehead
for one of two lead roles in Dunkirk
, according to The Wrap
. The World War II drama already features Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance, who just won an Academy Award for Bridge of Spies
The action-adventure movie revolves around the evacuation of more than 300,000 Allied soldiers from Dunkirk, France, in 1940 during the early days of World War II. Even though Nolan has worked with big stars for years, he intended the lead roles in Dunkirk to be played by lesser known actors, surrounded by veterans, which sounds like a good plan to approximate the experience of young, less experienced soldiers guided by older and more experienced military superiors.
Lest we forget, Nolan was born in Britain and has both British and American citizenship, so there's little doubt that this story of the time before the U.S. entered the war has great personal resonance for him. If everything works out, It will be fascinating to see how a newcomer such as Whitehead fares under Nolan's direction on a blockbuster production. Dunkirk will open in theaters on July 21, 2017.