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The 25 Coolest People in Movies

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling Getty Images

What does it mean to be cool? It's pretty damn subjective. So when compiling our list of the 25 coolest people making movies right now (somebody had to do it, right?), we accounted for various factors.

These are the actors who not only impress us onscreen (though that helps), but convey a certain genuineness off it, be it at awards shows, on TV appearances or during our own personal experiences interviewing them. They can be multi-talents, also excelling at music, art or writing. And they can make a habit of turning up in hilarious viral videos or even at your local karaoke bar.

But most of all, these are the 25 actors we'd really just like to sit down and have a beer with.

Welcome to NextMovie's 1st annual Cool List – and let us know who makes your own list in the comments section below.

RZA Getty Images

25. RZA

Yes, he's best known as the grand wizard of the seminal hip-hop outfit Wu-Tang Clan, but RZA's long been one of the world's coolest students of film (who do you think programmed all those kung-fu samples?). Counting indie-cool Jim Jarmusch among his friends, (see his hilarious vignette in the auteur's "Coffee and Cigarettes"), RZA takes his role in moviedom to new heights this fall with the marital arts epic, "The Man With the Iron Fist," his directorial debut produced by another king of cool, Quentin Tarantino. – Kevin Polowy

 

Woody Harrelson Getty Images

24. Woody Harrelson

There was an era when Woody was best known as a clueless, squeaky clean Boston bartender in "Cheers." That was a long, long time ago. Since then, Harrelson has proven (some) white men can jump, helped make a pair of "Natural Born Killers" unlikely screen heroes, owned some sucker zombies and won a vital roster spot in "The Hunger Games." He also regularly hangs with Willie Nelson and has become one of the country's most famous proponents of hemp. High times all around. – KP

 

Christopher Mintz-Plasse Getty Images

23. Christopher Mintz-Plasse

McLovin's made his living playing nerds, but he does it with such uninhibited joie de vivre, we can't help but think he's actually the coolest kid in school. As hilarious off-screen as he is in his movies, with a knack for picking quirky roles in great comedies – "Superbad," "Kick-Ass," "Role Models" – Mintz-Plasse is proof that, yes, the geeks shall inherit the Earth. – Brooke Tarnoff

 

Mark Wahlberg Getty Images

22. Mark Wahlberg

Beginning his career as shirtless (and pantless) rapper Marky Mark, Wahlberg could have easily faded into oblivion. But he's become the actor girls love and guys want to hang out with due to his unique blend of dramatic, comedic and action roles, his all-around good guy personality and, um, did we mention those abs? Plus, few Oscar nominees look as adorable hangin' with their kids. – Laura Rosenfeld

 

Ezra Miller Getty Images

21. Ezra Miller

The rising star may have terrified those who saw 2011's "We Need to Talk About Kevin," but, after "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," we can't get enough of him. We also have to tip our hats to the 19-year-old for the candid, confident way he came out as "queer" to Out magazine earlier this year. It was mature and inspiring, much like his performance in "Perks." – Breanne L. Heldman

 

Channing Tatum Getty Images

20. Channing Tatum

Tatum's cool factor isn't just about the jaw-dropping abs and killer biceps he makes shows off in just about every movie. It's his versatility as an actor (he's nailed action, romance, comedy and drama all in 2012 alone) and his reputation off-screen. Known for being a prankster on set, he's a charmer with the press (yes, including this writer) and speaks openly about how much he loves his wife, "Step Up" co-star Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Swoon. – BLH

 

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19. Zoe Kravitz

With rocker Lenny Kravitz as her dad and bohemian actress Lisa Bonet as her mom, coolness is in this girl's genes. It's no wonder she brings a free-spirited vibe to all of her roles, whether she's playing a high school heartthrob ("It's Kind of a Funny Story") or kicking ass as a mutant ("X-Men: First Class"). Kravitz is a 21st century hippie, and we totally dig her. Plus, she's besties with Jennifer Lawrence (see below) – who wouldn't want to be the third wheel with the two of them? – LR

 

Jennifer Lawrence Getty Images

18. Jennifer Lawrence

For just a moment, forget that amazing hair, killer bod and flawless fashion sense. J.Law has an Oscar nomination and, better yet, a heart-melting photo of her in her pajamas learning about said nomination while surrounded by her dancing mother, brothers and "X-Men" cool boyfriend, Nicholas Hoult. All that, and she's Katniss. 'Nuf said. – BLH

 

Emily Blunt Getty Images

17. Emily Blunt

Blunt played Anne Hathaway's nemesis in "The Devil Wears Prada," and somehow managed to steal our hearts in her meanest role ever. She has a knack for playing the slightly offbeat girl next door which, it turns out, that's kind of how she is in interviews. She doesn't take herself too seriously even though she's one of the most sought-after actresses today. Plus, everything just sounds cooler in a British accent. – LR

 

Justin Timberlake Getty Images

16. Justin Timberlake

When someone you really respect does something awful, it's particularly crushing (De Niro in "Jack and Jill," anyone?). JT enjoys the flip side: After *NSYNC, anything he did would be cool by comparison. Then he wildly surpassed our low expectations with a shockingly legit solo music career, an unforeseen but genuine acting talent and recurring guest appearances on "Saturday Night Live" funnier than half the actual castmembers. Honestly, he had us at "Dick in a Box." – BT

 

Lizzy Caplan Getty Images

15. Lizzy Caplan

Not to sound like a bunch of hipsters, but we've loved Lizzy Caplan since before loving Lizzy Caplan was cool. We loved her in "Mean Girls," dressed as a Gothy nerd to obscure her natural hotness (though she couldn't hide it from us). Her picks are impeccable – watching her short-lived TV series "Party Down" awards automatic cool points, and her upcoming movie "3, 2, 1... Frankie Go Boom" shows great promise. – BT

 

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14. Samuel L. Jackson

Sure, he may churn out a couple dicey flicks a year, but couldn't the world use some more Samuel L. Jackson? This is The Man who made Ezekiel 25:17 holy word to even non-believers and catapulted a campy movie called "Snakes on a Plane" to web phenom status simply by incorporating a couple MF-bombs. Soundboards were invented to contain the fiery outbursts of SLJ. – KP

 

Bill Murray Getty Images

13. Bill Murray

Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin – all iconic comedians who saw their heyday come and go. But Bill "Mutha F**kin'" Murray has NEVER gone out of style, achieving a type of staying power rare in any industry. It's fueled by his sublimely random and internet-legendary appearances at everything from private karaoke rooms in New York to college parties in Stockholm, but also his continually strong cinematic output (see: Best. Cameo. Ever.) and admirable resistance to a sequel no one needs, "Ghostbuters III." – KP

 

Michael Fassbender Getty Images

12. Michael Fassbender

When you're willing to drop trou on screen, your cool factor automatically goes up, especially if you've got the goods to back it up like Fassbender in "Shame." His superhero turn as Magneto in "X-Men: First Class" and his appearance as a robot in "Prometheus" further set fanboy and girl heards aflutter. Lastly, his name is Fassbender – is there anything cooler than that? – LR

 

Kristen Bell Getty Images

11. Kristen Bell

We XOXO'd K.Bell on television first as sweetest teenage crime solver ever on "Veronica Mars" and currently as the voice of the mysterious "Gossip Girl," but we fell in love with her even more when she graduated to the big screen. Her explosion of emotion over her sloth birthday present from longtime fiancé Dax Shepard might be the cutest darn thing we've ever seen, and we'd probably act the same way if we actually got to hang out with Bell. – LR

 

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10. George Clooney

There's no actor who oozes classic Hollywood more than Clooney. He's suave, he's charming and he's the definition of handsome. Clooney has mastered TV and movies, won an Academy Award and is an acclaimed director. But, what's even more awesome, he's a huge philanthropist, co-founding the human rights advocacy organization Not on Our Watch and extensively advocating for the resolution of the Darfur conflict. If trying to make the world a better place isn't cool, we don't know what is. – LR

 

Jon Hamm Getty Images

9. Jon Hamm

"Mad Men"'s Don Draper is the coolest character on TV, but he would be nothing without Hamm's timeless charm. We mostly love him because he's a big goofball deep down inside, making us laugh in "Bridesmaids" and "Friends With Kids." In these movies, Hamm seems like he's just hanging out with his celebrity friends and they just happen to be making a movie, and we'd love to be invited to that party, too. – LR

 

Helen Mirren Getty Images

8. Helen Mirren

Most Hollywood actors' star power begins to fade once they hit their 40s, but Mirren just gets better with age. The veteran actress brings poise, grace and a sense of humor to every role. She gives women half her age a run for their money in a bikini. And, while she may be old enough to be your grandmother, we'd much rather hit the clubs with this "Queen" than sit home and knit. – LR

 

Daniel Radcliffe Getty Images

7. Daniel Radcliffe

There's just something magical about this guy. Radcliffe is quietly re-writing the book on how to grow up in the spotlight by staying true to himself and managing not to take himself too seriously. Forget following "Harry Potter" with another big franchise – this guy opted for Broadway. Now, following a successful turn in "The Woman in Black," he's focusing on independent films and getting super-involved in charities (he earned a Hero Award from the Trevor Project in 2011). – BLH

 

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6. Anna Kendrick

She can sing – really well, actually. She more than held her own against Hollywood icon George Clooney in "Up in the Air." And, unless you're a Twi-Hard – or you're a Twi-Hard being brutally honest with yourself – you know the moments Kendrick spent onscreen were the best and brightest of the entire "Twilight Saga." We love the way she's stayed friendly and funny, despite her success … and, after seeing "Pitch Perfect," we really want to go to karaoke with her. – BT

 

Ryan Gosling Getty Images

5. Ryan Gosling

Gosling played the ultimate babe magnet in "Crazy, Stupid, Love.," but the truth is, he wasn't acting. Once you've starred in arguably the most popular chick flick of all time, pretty much everything you do is going to be swoon-worthy. But not only does the Oscar-nominated star have the acting chops to back up his hotness, he's also got a few other talents, like saving damsels in distress, breaking up fights and busting a move. He's basically our hero. – LR

 

Rashida Jones Getty Images

4. Rashida Jones

It shouldn't be any surprise that the daughter of legendary musical producer Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton is talented; we've seen her draw laughs on TV's "Parks and Recreation" and movies like "I Love You, Man," flex her dramatic muscle in "The Social Network," and display her writing prowess with this summer's "Celeste and Jesse Forever." Apparently she's also a really good singer-songwriter. What's mildly surprising is discovering just how incredibly down-to-earth, friendly and just plain cool she is in real life, too. – KP

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Getty Images

3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Part of JGL's cachet is rooted in his talent – as an actor and script-picker. We can count his mediocre choices on one hand, and they're far outweighed by the outstanding in his lengthy resume. From could-have-been-silly teen comedy "10 Things I Hate About You" to noir thriller "Brick" to Christopher Nolan's beautiful mindf**k "Inception," JGL's movies are almost as cool as JGL himself. Owning hitRECord, an open-collaborative production company for artists of all kinds, is icing on the cake. – BT

 

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2. Paul Rudd

Show us a dude who doesn't have a man-crush on Paul Rudd and we'll prove that dude probably doesn't have a soul. Characterized by his Midwestern amicability, everyman sensibilities and fully understated comedic style, Rudd can play the ultimate d-bag ("Wet Hot American Summer," "40-Year-Old Virgin") and you'd still want make him your boy. It's even better that we know he's more like his lovable "I Love You, Man" and "Our Idiot Brother" characters. – KP

 

Emma Stone Getty Images

1. Emma Stone

What could be cooler than a gorgeous, talented and self-deprecating gal? There's something about the "Easy A" star that makes us crazy stupid love her, and we're not even sure we can put our finger on it. Perhaps it's the chill attitude she brings to every photo shoot (or even a paparazzi stalk — see also her charity promotions while walking around with BF Andrew Garfield), or maybe it's the sense that no matter how high atop the A-list this 23-year-old gets, she'll still be someone who can share a laugh over a beer with her high school friends … and Spider-Man, of course. – BLH

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