Stars in their eyes: the next generation of British film actors

You may not recognise them now, but these young British actors could be tomorrow's movie superstars. Alice Jones introduces the faces of the future – and they recreate their favourite moments from the silver screen
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The Independent Online

Think back to the days when Angelina Jolie was still married to Johnny Lee Miller – and childless. Or to when Keira Knightley was just another posh English schoolgirl with a pout trying to make it big. In 1997 when Total Film magazine launched, it put together a list of the hottest young Hollywood talent it could find. Among the little-knowns and just-about-recognisables back then were Jolie, Knightley, a fresh-faced Scarlett Johansson and a barely teenaged Shia LeBeouf, among others.

Now to celebrate its 150th issue, the magazine has once more dredged the talent pools to put together a new list, this time of the brightest British young hopefuls. They include the runaway girl heroine of London to Brighton, the BIFA-winning star of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and James Bond's (swiftly conquered) latest nemesis. There are leading girls and boys from the television ratings-winners Skins and Merlin who are making the move to the big screen, and theatrical talents including a History Boy turned Nazi plotter (in the upcoming Tom Cruise vehicle, Valkyrie) and a Chekhovian Broadway sensation whose next role sees her playing opposite Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

For this photo-shoot, they dressed up to recreate some of the most recognisable characters from the last decade or so of film history. Just think, in 10 years' time, another set of bright young things will probably be dressing up as them.

Dev Patel

Patel has just won a British Independent Film Award for his role in Danny Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire'. Another TV star breaking out, the 18-year-old former 'Skins' star, who has just appeared on the Letterman show in the US, says "I'm kind of like a sponge at the moment; I haven't had any formal training, but I'm up for taking on anything!"

Eva Birthistle

The 34-year-old Irish actress Birthistle is best known for her award-winning turn in Ken Loach's 'Ae Fond Kiss' and is currently starring in 'The Children', "a horror about a Christmas that turns into a nightmare". "Then there's 'Brazuca', about Jean Charles de Menezes. I play his girlfriend. I've also just finished shooting a film with Timothy Spall called 'The Wake Wood' which is the first Hammer Horror for over 30 years."

Anya Lahiri and Edward Hogg

Lahiri, 26, began her career in the Eurovision band, Precious. Happily she turned to acting and is set to appear in 'Goal! III'. Hogg, a 29-year old Rada graduate has moved from theatre roles in Tom Stoppard's 'Rock'n'Roll' and 'The Last Days of Judas Iscariot' to film. He will next appear in the Mighty Boosh film 'Bunny and the Bull'.

April Pearson, Tuppence Middleton, Georgia King and Larissa Wilson

"We were given the freedom to rediscover the chemistry we found while shooting," says Middleton of recreating Tarantino's four-girl 'Grindhouse' onslaught with her co-stars from next year's 'Tormented', in which a bullied teen seeks vengeance from beyond the grave. The 22-year old King already has a small role in 'The Duchess' under her belt and can currently be seen in the BBC's 'Little Dorrit', playing Pet Meagles, while 'Skins' fans will recognise Pearson, 19, as school sexpot Michelle, and Wilson, also 19, as super-bright Jal.

Carey Mulligan

At only 23 years old, Mulligan has already gained rave reviews for her Nina in Chekhov's 'The Seagull' on Broadway. In 'An Education' – the sex-lib Sixties flick scripted by Nick Hornby – she takes the lead role of Jenny. "She thinks she's an existentialist and wants to live in Paris," laughs Mulligan, fittingly garbed as Amélie. That's just the start for her 2009, though. There's also Jim Sheridan's 'Brothers' with Jake Gyllenhaal and 'Public Enemies', directed by Michael Mann and co-starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale.

Katie McGrath

You might recognise McGrath as Morgana from the BBC fantasy smash 'Merlin'. But she's headed for films, with 'Shrooms' director Paddy Breathnach's next work 'Freakdog' due out in 2009. "I finished filming that on a Sunday, moved to London on the Monday and had the read-through for 'Merlin' on the Tuesday," says the 25-year old. "Which is kind of an actor's dream really."

Georgia Groome

It's the girl from the brilliant 'London To Brighton' as never seen before. "The shoot was a lot of fun – but every time I laughed, the petals were disturbed!" giggles 16-year-old Groome. After her 'London To Brighton' curtain call, 'Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging' – in which she played the boy-obsessed lead teen, Georgia – pushed her into the mainstream. But for now , it's A-levels and catching up with pals after a "hectic/crazy/mental" year.

MyAnna Buring and Shauna MacDonald

From the caves of 'The Descent' to Tarantino's eastern epic. MacDonald and Buring co-starred in Neil Marshall's 2005 horror about a group of women on a disastrous caving expedition. Buring is next to be seen with James Corden and Mathew Horne in 'Lesbian Vampire Killers', out in March. As for MacDonald, 2009 first brings the return of her Sarah for 'The Descent: Part 2'. "It's a really great script. I honestly think it could be better than 'The Descent'," she says.

Simon Kassianides and Jamie Parker

Kassianides plays Yusef in 'Quantum of Solace', a key role in James Bond's revenge romp. A former kickboxer, he had been taking small roles in television shows such as 'Spooks' and 'Love Soup' before Bond came along. "I'm a national hero in Greece because of Bond," says the 28-year-old Cypriot. Parker, 28, played Scripps in 'The History Boys' and for his first Hollywood role finds himself opposite Tom Cruise, as Lieutenant Werner von Haeften, in 'Valkyrie'.

Tom Hardy

Hardy – the 31-year-old actor who has so far racked up appearances in 'Black Hawk Down', 'Marie Antoinette', 'Layer Cake' and most recently as a gay gangster in Guy Ritchie's 'RocknRolla' – has just completed the knockout role of his blossoming career. He's playing the lead in 'Bronson', the biopic of the UK's most notorious prisoner. And after that? Hardy has two TV shows – 'Candy Chops', a 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'-style sitcom about an aspiring rapper, and 'Kickapoo Dust' with "brilliant co-writer Kelly Marcel" – heading into production.

The full feature will appear in the 150th issue of 'Total Film' magazine, on sale tomorrow