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15 Breakout Stars of Fall

Samantha Barks in "Les Miserables"
Universal

It must be Fall! School's finally in session, the weather is getting ever slightly cooler and the offerings at your local movie theater change from big-budget popcorn fare to serious potential award winners.

This autumn the studios have a wide array of noteworthy films to put on your must-see list, from art-house Oscar contenders to teen ensembles and much-anticipated literary and musical adaptations.

We're celebrating the start of Fall with 15 actors who are going to blow audiences away this season. Some have been around for a few years but have yet to break out and others are lucky enough to have their first major roles in buzzworthy movies.

If acclaimed directors like Ang Lee, Paul Thomas Anderson and Peter Jackson saw something in them, we probably will, too.

Jesse Plemons in The Master
Weinstein Co.

Jesse Plemons

Fall Film: "The Master" (Sept. 14)
Why He'll Be a Star: To an up-and-coming actor, getting to appear in a Paul Thomas Anderson film as Philip Seymour Hoffman's son is like striking gold. The 24-year-old has had a loyal following of fans since playing "Friday Night Lights" MVP Landry and this year he expanded his acting repertoire to include an unforgettably disturbing character in "Breaking Bad." From TV's best shows to the year's most-anticipated drama, Plemons is a master of picking projects.

Nate Parker in Arbitrage
Lionsgate

Nate Parker

Fall Film: "Arbitrage" (Sept. 14)
Why He'll Be a Star: Parker has been on the cusp of stardom since his impressive turn in 2007's "The Great Debaters," but we think he's finally hitting his stride. In director Nicholas Jarecki's Sundance hit "Arbitrage," Parker plays a hoodie-sporting Harlemite who helps his chauffeur dad's billionaire employer (Richard Gere) get rid of some damning evidence. Already hailed an Oscar contender, "Arbitrage" is exactly the kind of prestigious drama that will catapult Parker to the A-list.

Ezra Miller in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Summit

Ezra Miller

Fall Film: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Sept. 21)
Why He'll Be a Star: Hollywood, it's definitely Miller time. The 19-year-old actor is already on critics' radars after his stunning if difficult-to-watch performance opposite Tilda Swinton in last year's "We Need to Talk About Kevin." But after starring in Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own coming-of-age novel, Miller — who plays the charismatic gay teen Patrick — should become as sought-after as his "Perks" co-stars Emma Watson and Logan Lerman.

Also Check Out: 30 Must-See Fall Movies

Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect
Universal

Rebel Wilson

Fall Films: "Bachelorette" (Sept. 7) and "Pitch Perfect" (Oct. 5)
Why She'll Be a Star: Audiences may not know her name, but anyone who saw "Bridesmaids" remembers her hilarious bit as Kristen Wiig's clueless, snooping roommate. This fall, Wilson doubles the funny in two comedy ensembles — as the put-upon bride in the "Bridesmaids"-like indie, "Bachelorette," and as a self-deprecating a cappella singer in the college musical, "Pitch Perfect." The Aussie comedian's gift for scene stealing is sure to lead to even bigger roles.

MacKenzie Foy in Breaking Dawn - Part 2
Summit

Mackenzie Foy

Fall Film: "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" (Nov. 16)
Why She'll Be a Star: Much to Robsten fans' dismay, the lovely 11-year-old may be the only offspring (fictional or real) to ever belong to "Twilight" stars and off-screen exes Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. As Renesmee, the hybrid human-vampire daughter of Edward and Bella Cullen, Foy (who says she's too young to have read the books) gets to interact with the franchise's biggest players — including Taylor Lautner, her adoring imprinted werewolf Jacob.

Suraj Sharma in Life of Pi
Fox 2000

Suraj Sharma

Fall Film: "Life of Pi" (Nov. 21)
Why He'll Be a Star: Most young actors debut in small talking parts as a random middle-schooler or an adult character's kid. Not Suraj Sharma. He beat out 3,000 other actors to star in "Life of Pi," a whimsical fable that completely hinges on Sharma's ability to play Pi, a zookeeper's son who's the sole human survivor of a shipwreck. His only companions while adrift are a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Suraj, meet world.

Samantha Barks in Les Miserables
Universal

Samantha Barks

Fall Film: "Les Miserables" (Dec. 14)
Why She'll Be a Star: Although it was originally speculated that Taylor Swift would land the much-coveted role of Eponine, Samantha Barks got the part. Even in an all-star ensemble that includes Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, it's Eponine's tragic love triangle with Marius (Eddie Redmayne) and Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) that we can't wait to see. Having already nailed the part in the televised 25th Anniversary Concert of "Les Miz," we expect her to be equally as pitch perfect in the film.

Aidan Turner in The Hobbit
New Line

Aidan Turner

Fall Film: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (Dec. 14)
Why He'll Be a Star:  This December, "The Lord of the Rings" fans will find themselves fancying not a beautiful blond elf but the most surprisingly dashing dwarf in Middle-earth. Turner first turned heads as a sexy vampire on the U.K.'s paranormal series "Being Human"; in early 2011, Peter Jackson tapped the bedroom-eyed Irishman to play a brave young dwarf. As one of the 13 dwarves that Bilbo Baggins joins on "An Unexpected Journey," Turner should be as memorable a warrior as the beloved Gimli.

Sam Riley in On the Road
IFC Films

Sam Riley

Fall Film: "On the Road" (Dec. 21)
Why He'll Be a Star: Critics started singing Riley's praises when he transformed into Ian Curtis, the suicidal frontman of Joy Division, in the 2007 biopic "Control." The English musician-turned-actor is back for another riveting role as the adventure-seeking protagonist (and Jack Kerouac stand-in) Sal Paradise in Walter Salles' adaptation of "On the Road." If this anthem to the Beat Generation doesn't make Riley a star, certainly his sexy scenes opposite Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund will.

Berenice Marlohe in Skyfall
MGM

Berenice Marlohe

Fall Film: "Skyfall" (Nov. 9)
Why She'll Be a Star: Have you seen her? If you could combine the sexiness of Angelina Jolie and Sophia Loren, you'd get Berenice Marlohe. The French beauty is the latest in a long line of gorgeous and enigmatic Bond Girls, and while she has gone on record saying there's no nudity in the 23rd 007 film, we imagine she will smolder enough to make her the newest hot import from Paris a la Berenice Bejo, Marion Cotillard, Eva Green, Juliette Binoche, etc.

Scoot McNairy in Killing Them Softly
The Weinstein Company

Scoot McNairy

Fall Films: "Argo" (Oct. 12) and "Killing Them Softly" (Oct. 19)
Why He'll Be a Star: Since its bow at Cannes this May, "Killing Them Softly" has been heaped such critical praise as "superb," "extraordinary" and "an acting class." Scoot's performance as a petty criminal who pulls off a dangerous mob heist was similarly hailed as "brilliant." And that thriller — starring Brad Pitt, no less — premieres in the U.S. just one week after Ben Affleck's historical drama "Argo," in which McNairy plays one of six Americans who must pose as a Canadian film crew to flee revolutionary Iran.

Jonny Weston in Chasing Mavericks
20th Century Fox

Jonny Weston

Fall Film: "Chasing Mavericks" (Oct. 26)
Why He'll Be a Star: Who doesn't love a good surfer flick? In "Chasing Mavericks," the curly-haired newcomer plays surfing legend Jay Moriarty, who, with the guidance of mentor Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler), successfully conquered "mavericks" (huge, nearly mythical waves) at only 16. An accomplished surfer himself, 22-year-old Weston didn't need as much training as Butler. If he kills the role, Weston is sure to ride the wave of Curtis Hanson's biopic to Hollywood stardom.

Zero Dark Thirty
Columbia Pictures

Scott Adkins, Mark Strong, Taylor Kinney, Jason Clarke, Edgar Ramirez

Fall Film: "Zero Dark Thirty" (Dec. 19)
Why They'll Be Stars: Strong is already a go-to character actor who specializes in playing intimidating villains. Ramirez had a mesmerizing turn in the award-winning miniseries "The Jackal"; Kinney's best known as Lady Gaga's on-again, off-again love interest and for his stint on "The Vampire Diaries"; Clarke burned up the screen opposite Tom Hardy in "Lawless"; and Adkins is a martial arts expert turned actor. Come December, all five of these actors are sure to prove they're much more than handsome faces in Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's dramatization of the Osama bin Laden raid. 

 

Max Thieriot in House at the End of the Street
Relativity Media

Max Thieriot

Fall Film: "House at the End of the Street" (Sept. 21)
Why He'll Be a Star: At only 23, Thieriot has already made 15 movies; mostly family-friendly films like "Kit Kittredge" and "The Pacifier" but also decidedly more grown-up fare like "Chloe" and "My Soul to Take." Thieriot takes on horror once again as Jennifer Lawrence's cute but seriously damaged neighbor in "House at the End of the Street" — he lives in the same house where his family was murdered, and he may or may not have a serious case of the Norman Bates vibe. Run, Jen, run!

Anna Camp in Pitch Perfect
Universal

Anna Camp

Fall Film: "Pitch Perfect" (Oct. 5)
Why She'll Be a Star: Those of us who watch a lot of primetime television have already taken notice of Camp for stints in an impressive slate of dramas ("True Blood," "Mad Men," "The Good Wife"). Plus, she's Mindy Kaling's BFF in Fox's new comedy "The Mindy Kaling Project." On the big screen, Camp is perfectly cast as an a cappella prima donna in "Pitch Perfect." With her gift for comedy and drama, she's like the second coming of Rachel McAdams.

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