Confidence, charisma and charm characterise the hottest young actors in the UK. Patricia Dobson profiles the emerging talent.(Click on contact names for links)
It is his performance in three plays - Beautiful Thing, Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship and The Overwhelming, for which he won the Evening Standard newcomers award late last year - that have set people talking about Andrew Garfield as the best young actor now working on the stage.
But it is not just the theatre world that has noticed him. Robert Redford cast him in United Artists’ forthcoming Lions For Lambs in which all his scenes are two-handers with Redford himself; and he has just finished John Crowley’s Boy A for UK broadcaster Channel 4, in which he plays a young man who committed a terrible murder as a child.
Perhaps surprisingly, Garfield found the latter the more intimidating experience. ‘It was very emotionally draining but I love that,’ he says. ‘I’m curious about the extent to which you can push your emotions as an actor.’
Contact: Gordon & French, (44) 20 7734 4818, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rasmus Hardiker has been building up an army of industry fans since he first starred in the BBC TV series The Rotters’ Club in 2005. In the meantime this thoughtful young actor seems to have made a career playing sullen youths alongside some of the UK’s best comedy actors.
That he can steal scenes from the likes of Steve Coogan in the BBC series Saxondale with a sideways glance or deadpan putdown makes Hardiker more than just a mop of lank hair under a hoodie. He had the chance to show his range in the recent British comedy I Want Candy, in which he played a more extrovert character, and will soon be seen in Alessandro Baricco’s fantasy Lecture 21 alongside John Hurt and Noah Taylor.
Contact: PFD, (44) 20 7344 1010
Her rich tones are already familiar to millions, thanks to her recurring role in popular BBC radio serial The Archers, and now Felicity Jones is proving her versatility and making a mark on stage and screen. She enjoyed glowing reviews for two recent performances - in That Face at London’s Royal Court, holding her own opposite stage veteran Lindsay Duncan and fellow Star Of Tomorrow Matt Smith, and playing the lead in UK broadcaster ITV’s Northanger Abbey.
Jones is now on the small screen in the US and the UK, in the dark Channel 4/Showtime series Cape Wrath (aka Meadowlands). Her most high-profile project to date is Julian Jarrold’s hotly anticipated Brideshead Revisited, playing Cordelia Flyte opposite Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, Hayley Atwell, Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon.
Contact: ICM, (44) 20 7636 6565
The buzz has been building furiously about this charismatic actor from Northern Ireland since he wrapped Richard Attenborough’s Closing The Ring. It is the first film for Martin McCann, who has starred in several productions at the Belfast Lyric theatre.
Attenborough, he says, taught him the difference between stage and screen acting: ‘With the theatre, there’s a certain showmanship; with film, it’s all about staying true to the essence of the character.’
McCann is now shooting the ITV drama My Boy Jack, with Daniel Radcliffe and Kim Cattrall.
Contact: Markham & Froggatt, (44) 20 7636 4412.
‘I’ve wanted to act since I was 11 and it’s even better than I imagined,’ says Hannah Murray. Her first experience in front of the camera certainly threw her in at the deep end. Playing the tortured, anorexic Cassie in Channel 4’s edgy and innovative teen series Skins, which hit screens earlier this year, called on all her reserves but Murray was inspired by the quality of the writing and her character’s emotional complexity. It also helped that, like Murray, most of the cast were also new to television.
She is now shooting a second series of Skins and will soon be seen opposite another Star Of Tomorrow, Matt Smith, in Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, a thriller starring Ralph Fiennes and Colin Farrell. Meanwhile, she has just finished school and is now taking a year to decide where to go next. ‘I don’t want to have restricting goals,’ she says. ‘I’m interested in any type of film as long as it’s got substance.’
Contact: Troika, (44) 20 7336 7868
Kimberley Nixon’s talent, charisma and delicate beauty have seen her segue straight from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama into the BBC’s prestige period drama series The Cranford Chronicles alongside A-listers including Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon. That production - about a rural Cheshire town on the cusp of change - wrapped earlier this month and Nixon has moved straight on to Working Title’s boarding school comedy Wild Child, in which she co-stars as the spiky tormentor-in-chief of a spoilt US newcomer, played by Emma Roberts.
It is the first big screen role for Nixon, a self-confessed film buff, whose tastes run to ‘films which rely on the screenplay and acting rather than the money’. And was she given any tips from the veterans on The Cranford Chronicles’ ‘Eileen Atkins told me the best piece of advice she got was from Alec Guinness - to set three alarm clocks.’
Contact: Ken McReddie Associates, (44) 20 7439 1456