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The Most Likely To Succeed

If Hollywood had a yearbook, who would have been voted most likely to succeed fifteen years ago?  In the November 2002 issue of Movieline magazine, the staff named twenty up-and-comers in various fields of show business that they expected to make it big.  With the benefit of hindsight, let’s see how well the magazine predicted the future.

The Sizzler

ENGLISH ACTOR CHARLIE HUNNAM, 22, FIRST GAINED NOTICE IN 1999 ON THE ORIGINAL BRIT CHANNEL 4 VERSION OF THE GROUNDBREAKING “QUEER AS FOLK” for his turn as a 15-year-old schoolboy who gets involved with a 29-year-old man. “Folk” developed a rabid cult following in the U.S. and particularly in Hollywood, and Hunnam was seen as a fiery presence–then he registered once again with Hollywood on last year’s well-regarded series “Undeclared.” On both “Folk” and “Undeclared,” Hunnam’s wily edge gave credibility to his cocksure creations–in the former he got the men, and in the latter he got the women. That was enough to get him cast as the guy Katie Holmes can’t get out of her head in the thriller Abandon, as well as the title role in Emma director Douglas McGrath’s film version of Nicholas Nickleby. And he’s just received Hollywood’s current official seal of approval–being cast by the elegant eye of director Anthony Minghella in the Oscar-baiting Civil War drama Cold Mountain.

The Experimenter

AS WRITER-DIRECTOR OF THIS FALL’S PERSONAL VELOCITY, AN INDIE STARRING PARKER POSEY, KYRA SEDGWICK AND FAIRUZA BALK, Rebecca Miller is making the latest in a series of career changes. Miller has studied painting at Yale, directed theater, acted in films like Regarding Henry and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and written fiction that include the book of short stories on which Velocity is based. None of these accomplishments has so far overshadowed the salient fact about her–she is the daughter of legendary playwright Arthur Miller. Not that she has scrambled to disassociate herself from her father. She directed a revival of one of his plays, After the Fall, and she married the star of the screen adaptation of another (The Crucible)–Daniel Day-Lewis. But early buzz on the Sundance-prizewinning Velocity, proclaiming it a women’s picture in the best sense–i.e., that it’s inhabited by interestingly flawed heroines– suggests that Miller might find her own spotlight identity.

The Sound Guru

ALREADY AN ESTABLISHED DESIGNATED TASTEMAKER AFTER HOSTING “METROPOLIS,” L.A.’S GROOVY WEEKNIGHT RADIO TECHNOFEST ON KCRW, JASON BENTLEY is credited with helping artists like Portishead and the Chemical Brothers break out. Now he’s positioned for greater glory as the music supervisor on major screen projects. As “Metropolis” celebrates its 10th anniversary and Bentley continues popping up around town to DJ at happening clubs and elite parties, his deft touch in the all-important realm of selecting music for commercials and soundtracks is being appreciated by powers whose profits depend on such things. When The Matrix was revealed to be more than a mere sci-fi action flick starring Keanu Reeves, Bentley was justifiably granted a share of the credit. As music supervisor, he’d helped shape a techno-lusty soundtrack that was loud and wild in precisely the right ways. Now here come the much-higher-profile sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (as well as the Matrix anime project), to lock in Bentley’s reputation.

The Stylemaker

ONCE AN EXECUTIVE AT BOB MACKIE ORIGINALS, THE EMMY-WINNING DANIEL ORLANDI HAS ENJOYED DECADES-LONG SUCCESS AS A COSTUME DESIGNER ON THE SMALL SCREEN. On the big screen his projects have been less attention-getting (Meet the Parents), but it seems moviegoers may soon see more of the talent behind his reputation. For the film Phone Booth, Orlandi worked with stylish director Joel Schumacher to gussy up Colin Farrell in one outfit that the audience would be happy with for the length of the film–Phone Booth takes place in real time. For Farrell’s role as a slimy publicist, Orlandi put the actor in a swanky Dolce & Gabbana suit. Next year, Orlandi gets to have a bit more free-roaming fun costuming Down With Love, a tongue-in-cheek takeoff on those Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedies. He couldn’t ask for better actors to have fashion fun with–Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor–and early shots from the set suggest that Orlandi will finally be strutting his stuff by conjuring up some happily over-the-top ’60s regalia.

The Soulful One

SURE, SHE’S ALREADY POP SUPERSTAR OF THE LAND, OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT. But in the era of relentless music-to-film crossovers, Hollywood can’t pass up the “built-in audience” dollar signs. With her sultry theatricality and air of young-but-wise self-assurance, Alicia Keys is said to be a prime target of Hollywood’s hopeful attention. Can she project on the big screen? Well, the very way her bowed-head self-presentation screams “vanity-free” as one award after another is bestowed on her suggests an interesting quality to bring to a divalicious role like the long-contemplated redo of A Star Is Born, which was still being massaged by Will Smith and Joel Schumacher at last check. If anybody out there could be compared to Whitney Houston at the moment just before tackling The Bodyguard, it would be Alicia Keys. The question is simply, Where’s her Bodyguard?

The Next Heatwave

LAST SUMMER’S SURPRISE ART-HOUSE HIT Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN OWED MUCH TO THE ON-SCREEN CAMARADERIE OF ITS STARS, DIEGO LUNA  AND GAEL GARCIA BERNAL, who’d been friends in real life for years in their native Mexico. Bernal was already known here for his work in the Pulp Fiction-y triptych Amores Perros, so he got most of the initial attention, but as word of mouth spread on the film, the touching, goofy charm Luna brought to his portrayal of naive hornball Tenoch turned him into a star, too. The 22-year-old Luna will be back in front of American audiences in the Oscar-bait special Frida, which stars Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo. (También fans will fondly recall that it was Hayek’s name Luna screamed out while gleefully taking certain personal matters into his own hands.) Even more convincing evidence that Luna has arrived on Hollywood’s radar screen comes with his winning a major role in Kevin Costner’s next directorial offering, Open Range, a Wild West yarn that stars Robert Duvall, Annette Bening and Costner himself.

The Restaurateur

WHEN STEVEN ARROYO’S RESTAURANT BOXER ON L.A.’S BEVERLY BOULEVARD FALTERED AFTER CHEFNEAL FRASER DEPARTED, HE CLOSED IT DOWN, regrouped and gamely reopened it as a more casual tapas rarity called Cobras & Matadors. On the walls are his old family photos from the ’20s, and next door is his separate Spanish wine shop, Bicentennial 13, which makes it possible for patrons to overcome the inconvenience of Cobras having no liquor license–they bring their own. Cobras & Matadors has gained a reputation with Young Hollywood for being fun in a low-key way: the waiters are more likely to have a piercing through their lip than a headshot in their apron pocket. Arroyo has parlayed his Cobras success into a new Los Feliz chop-house, The Hillmont, which opened this past summer and is shifting Arroyo into the category of hit-making restaurateur. The cavernous group-eat space has the same hip-but-mellow vibe as Cobras, but is situated to please scenesters who crave a less-Hollywood environment.

THE EYE

Picking out fresh faces from the masses of young actors who descend continuously on Hollywood is one of the most crucial jobs in the movie industry. Carmen Cuba first showed her knack for choosing youngsters when casting MTV’s shows “The Real World” and “Road Rules.” She sharpened her eye as casting associate on such films as Living Out LoudLife and Erin Brockovich. Then, in 2001, she served as casting director on Fox’s reality-mystery fable “Murder in Small Town X,” and–her big break–on indie director Larry Clark’s messed-up-youth tale Bully (the cast included Michael Pitt, Bijou Phillips, Nick Stahl and Brad Renfro). Hollywood took due note of Cuba’s skills–she was soon handed the reins on her first big-time feature, next year’s edgy sci-fi thriller The Butterfly Effect, for which Ashton Kutcher, William Lee Scott, Amy Smart, Eric Stoltz and Melora Walters were rounded up. If the film’s a hit, Cuba’s cachet will increase dramatically.

THE LUCKY ONE

Cult-favorite L.A. designer Jared Gold has been wowing fans like Kirsten Dunst and Audrey Tautou with his clothing lines, Black Chandelier and Jared Gold Signature, since he launched seven years ago in shopping hotspots like Barneys New York. And his zany runway shows–sometimes Edward-Gorey morbid, sometimes involving masks or fire–have won legions of fans in the press. But in the closing days of summer, it was clear that Gold was about to get considerably bigger: he had partnered with mass-market clothing manufacturer California Concepts. The company birthed from the partnership, La Belle et la Bette (translation: Beauty and the Beast), will keep his lines at designer-level stores but drastically increase his presence nationwide, with Gold keeping creative control of his lines. The funding also enabled him to mount his big-deal Fashion Week show at Bryant Park in New York, an extremely rare accomplishment for an L.A. designer.

THE FRESH FACE

You could argue that Jennifer Garner, the star of ABC’s hit spy-thriller “Alias,” has already succeeded at a level most actors merely dream of, and that would be true. “Alias” is an enjoyable romp and Garner carries it. But look at how Garner was cast in Pearl Harbor–as a four-eyed pal to the glamorous Kate Beckinsale and James King–and you realize two things: she’s good on the big screen, and Hollywood hasn’t yet seen her cut loose. Since, Hollywood has tagged her for other things that show greater faith in her promise. Steven Spielberg cast her in a small but sexy role in his Leonardo DiCaprio adventure Catch Me If You Can. Garner’s “Alias” ass-kicking identity will be branded for the big screen in the comic book actioner Daredevil, which stars Ben Affleck and Colin Farrell. And she’s scored the lead in an entirely different kind of project, 13 Going on 30, which is a female Big. That’s an impressive slate for an actress in the second season of a hit series that’s likely to provide her with a safe haven from which to continue venturing for some time.

THE REBEL

After spending five years putting together 1996’s Walking and Talking, a successful indie movie about relationships, writer-director Nicole Holofcener had her own idea about what she wanted to do next. Fending off studio offers, she kept a low profile, directing an episode of “Sex and the City” here, rewriting a script there. Six years later, along came her Walking and Talking follow-up, Lovely & Amazing, which, with its cast of gifted originals– Catherine Keener, Brenda Blethyn, Emily Mortimer and Jake Gyllenhaal–charmed a wider audience than her debut had gained. Now a darling of the critics, Holofcener seems nevertheless to be repeating her pattern of retreat. She’s popped up on TV credits again, but hasn’t signed on for any big-budget studio flick. Now, however, there’s a larger group of fans waiting for her next effort–and hoping it won’t be half a decade in the making. Given her ability to command the loyalty of stellar actors, and to write inspired parts for them, her project incubation time is likely to speed up.

THE DARING DARLING

The atom-bomb-level hype that surrounded 21-year-old Zac Posen at the time of his first formal runway show in 2001 initially made some fashion watchers understandably leery. There was more hype when Posen became The Guy Whose Dress Natalie Portman Wore to the Premiere of Star Wars: Episode II– Attack of the Clones, but whispers of doubt had already fallen away by then: Posen had shown his Artemis Fall 2002 collection earlier this year to a rowdily approving audience that included artist/director Julian Schnabel and Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Kiedis. His precocious status as fashion visionary is now established. Harking back to the glamour of the ’30s and ’40s, the young designer’s clothes are noted for their elegance and for the confrontational twist they’ve been given with features like extreme necklines. As Posen explains about the woman he designs for, “She walks down the street and tells the men to fuck off.”

THE UNEXPECTED

Versatile British thespian Paul Bettany made a memorable entrance into mainstream consciousness by appearing stark naked in A Knight’s Tale. That same year, Bettany costarred far more fortuitously as the friend who only gradually proves to be a figment of Russell Crowe’s schizophrenic imagination in the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind. Bettany was already well known in Britain for his chilling work in films like Gangster No. 1, and he’s since done two more British films, The Reckoning and The Heart of Me, due in the U.S. next year. He’s also been cast opposite Nicole Kidman in Lars von Trier’s Dogville. The telling fact, though, is that Bettany was chosen by director Peter Weir to star with Russell Crowe in a screen adaptation of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, based on the tenth book in novelist Patrick O’Brian’s beloved series of Napoleonic-era sea adventures. The sequel opportunities for the terrific characters Crowe and Bettany will play are a potential gold mine.

THE REINVENTED DIRECTOR

After mixing the high and low with impressive dexterity in last summer’s Y Tu Mamá También, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón was obviously going to have enhanced credibility in Hollywood. It was still a surprise to many to see him tapped so quickly to take the directorial wand on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third in the Potter series. Mama‘s adolescent sexual shenanigans do not share much with Potter’s boyish wizardry. However, Cuarón is not some foreign director whose arty hit gave Hollywood the idea of taking chances on a gifted newcomer. A few years back, Cuarón directed the greatly admired Hollywood film A Little Princess. He then made the lush, visually compelling–if dramatically iffy–modernization of Great Expectations with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. So Cuarón comes to Potter with a great deal of Hollywood experience, an Ang Lee-like penchant for genre-jumping and the kind of original vision studio execs can put stock in.

THE AUTHENTIC

As the substance-abusing bad influence on Kirsten Dunst in crazy/beautiful and as the knocked-up, downtrodden friend of Britney Spears in Crossroads, Taryn Manning gave memorable supporting performances that were quite enough to guarantee placement in similar niche roles for a few years. But Hollywood seems more interested in her than that–it’s already clear that the level of her projects has gone way up. This month she appears in two of the year’s highest-profile Oscar-bait contenders: director Curtis Hanson’s Eminem-starrer 8 Mile and the tony women’s pic White Oleander, which stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Renee Zellweger and Robin Wright Penn. The Oscar-bait casting will go on next year when the 24-year-old actress appears in Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain. Manning has the added advantage of being the front-woman/songstress of Boomkat, whose debut album will soon be released by DreamWorks Records.

THE MODERNS

Funky marrieds Fitz and Su Suzama are the proprietors of the store Fitzsu Society on Melrose Avenue. The idea for their emporium of contemporary knickknacks, utensils and other groovy housewares came when they got engaged and saw first-hand that the world could use a new spot where the ambiguous category of “wedding presents” could be dealt with more stylishly than usual. Open since 2000, Fitzsu Society indeed caters quite handily to wedding registries and has quickly gained a sterling reputation among frazzled execs (or, in many cases, their frazzled assistants). However, its genuinely unique collection of sleek, modern stuff (everything from a colorful Karim Rashid acrylic chessboard with rubber pieces to Salviati crystal coasters) is prized by hipster Hollywood for showcasing some of the more interesting designers working today.

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

After good work as the earnest-earthling-in-love-with-an-alien on the rocky series “Roswell,” which finally fizzled after its third year, Shiri Appleby needed a vehicle to show what else she could do. Her film A Time for Dancing never made it to screens. But then another film, Swimfan, in which the 23-year-old actress played a girlfriend role not too far removed from her familiar “Roswell” stint, became a modest success. Though it was the young star from Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, Erika Christensen, who had the showy part of a jilted psycho, it was Appleby’s turn as the girl done wrong by Jesse Bradford’s dalliance with Christensen that ultimately lent the film its heart and gravity. Appleby’s character came off as good but not dopey, genuine but conflicted and endearing rather than annoying. It wasn’t a flashy performance, but a generous, credible one–the kind a good director would notice and remember the next time he or she needed a fresh presence in a role that called for unmannered technique.

THE SLOW BURN

Cole Hauser started off in what has since been revealed to be illustrious company–his costars on two early films, 1992’s School Ties and 1993’s Dazed and Confused, included then-unknowns Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (who became his longtime friends), Brendan Fraser, Chris O’Donnell, Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger. But unlike his compatriots, Hauser never quite broke through, despite being highly regarded as an actor. Projects like The Hi-Lo Country and Hart’s War were high-prestige in the making but not at the box office. He persevered and built a solid reputation nonetheless in low-key roles in films like Good Will Hunting and Pitch Black; now he’s poised to strike a higher profile. After playing Robin Wright Penn’s boyfriend in White Oleander, he’ll costar with Bruce Willis in Antoine Fuqua’s jungle drama Tears of the Sun. Then he’ll embark on the high-octane Fast and the Furious sequel playing the equivalent of Vin Diesel’s bad-guy character in the first. It’s potentially his juiciest role yet, one that may prove correct those talent-watchers who have always believed he might take a while to hit but would be left standing after other Young Hollywoodites soared and plummeted.

THE PRODUCERS

At any given time, there are lots of small production companies all over Hollywood scrambling to put a film together and secure financing. Anthony Rhulen’s company, Roulette Entertainment, was one of them, but not just any one of them–it was cofounded by Josh Hartnett and fellow actor Elden Henson. Last year, Rhulen and his thespian partners improved their position by joining forces with compatible creators. FilmEngine, a production/financing company, was born with partners AJ. Dix, who’d supervised deals at New Line, and Bill Shively, a Florida entrepreneur. Combining forces with the hoppin’ management/production company Benderspink–which had plenty to offer, having set up American Pie 2 and The Ring— and adding fresh blood Tyler Addison Mitchell, hailing from ICM, to the mix, this Engine got roaring. Their first film, due out next year, will be The Butterfly Effect, a thriller starring Ashton Kutcher. Mitchell already has projects like Skeleton Coast in development with Mel Gibson’s Icon Pictures, and Hartnett will be doing the heist actioner Wish You Were Here.

THE SWEET SUCCESS

Up until she took on a frothy summer comedy directed by a young Australian import, Sophie Carbonell had done the costume design on minor films like Crime + Punishment in Suburbia and served as West Coast editor of Paper magazine. But in 2001, she got a whole lot of moviegoers thinking pink when she brought humor, style and plenty of gaudy punch to the hit Legally Blonde. The success of that film established her as a fashion force and endeared her to the film’s gifted star, Reese Witherspoon. Hardly surprising then, that having taken care of the Ice Cube action-comedy All About the Benjamins, she was off to make Reese Witherspoon look good again. In Sweet Home Alabama, Carbonell has styled-up Witherspoon for her role as Melanie Carmichael, a way-happening N.Y.C. fashion designer eager to transcend her Alabama roots. Carbonell looks pretty good herself, since real-life maestro Marc Jacobs was enlisted to create Melanie’s fictional designs.

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Posted on November 27, 2017, in Movieline Articles, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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