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Tom Hardy image Ryan Gosling image Michael Fassbender

Written by Matthew Pejkovic


Every generation features a group of leading men that represents the best of cinema and defines there era.

The 1970s saw the rise of the method giants De Niro, Pacino, Hoffman and Nicholson. The 1980s saw Harrison Ford and Mel Gibson combine box office with critical acclaim. The 1990s featured the likes of Tom Cruise, Sean Penn and Johnny Depp, and the noughties saw Russell Crowe, Christian Bale and Leonardo Di Caprio in top form.

Now a new era is upon us and if this crop of actors is any indication, the future looks bright indeed.




Tom Hardy image

It’s been a long time since Tom Hardy feature in Band of Brothers. Bit roles in the likes of Black Hawk Down and Star Trek: A New Generation kept Hardy busy, but it was 2008 which saw his star rise in his portrayal of the infamous prisoner Charles Bronson in the brutal Bronson.

Next was his scene stealing role in Christopher Nolan’s Inception which drew mainstream attention. Now Hardy is receiving Oscar buzz for his portrayal as a MMA fighter in Warrior, in which he is compared to a young Marlon Brando.

Future roles include romantic comedy This Is War and a turn as Al Capone in Cicero. But it will be his turn as the hulking villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises that will propel Hardy to superstardom.




Michael Shannon image

Michael Shannon is set to make audiences take notice as General Zod in the Superman reboot Man of Steel, for this thespian is a commanding force on the screen that even the son of Krypton won’t be able to handle.

Although acting since 1993, Shannon first made his presence known in William Friedkin’s creepy indie Bug, and since then he has been stealing scenes with his quirky, authoritative intensity as seen in Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Runaways and his Oscar nominated turn in Revolutionary Road.

Yet it will be his leading performance in Take Shelter which is set to make him a name to remember, with his turn as a family man haunted by apocalyptic visions receiving rave reviews on the festival circuit.




James McAvoy image

Former Shameless actor James McAvoy turned heads in his role as a disillusioned young doctor in The Last King of Scotland. But while Forrest Whitaker won the Oscar, McAvoy has created a successful career with roles ranging from period drama (Atonement), action (Wanted) and historical thriller (The Conspirator).

McAvoy started the new decade with a bang, bringing wisdom and idealism to the role of young Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, sharing the screen with equally brilliant Michael Fassbender to create a one-two punch that floored critics and audiences alike.

With such a fruitful career already established at the age of 32, McAvoy is certain to only get better and bigger.




Joseph Gordon-Levitt image

The forever likeable Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been a fixture on TV and film since his turn as an alien on Earth in Third Rock from the Sun at the young age of 15.

Yet it has been the last several years which have seen Gordon-Levitt flourish as a leading man, with acclaimed turns in indies Mysterious Skin and Brick leading to his “breakout” performance in 500 Days of Summer.

His upcoming turn as a man with cancer in 50/50 has already received calls for an Oscar nomination. Whether he receives it or not, the future is bright for an actor has already accomplished so much.




Andrew Garfield image

One of many criminal snubs at the last Oscars was the lack of nomination for Andrew Garfield’s supporting turn in The Social Network.

It was the latest in a string of performances which has seen Garfield become one of the most accomplished actors of his generation, with his acclaimed turn in Boy A followed by The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Red Riding and Never Let Me Go.

Garfield will next be seen in unfamiliar territory: the Hollywood blockbuster as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot. If what Garfield has shown us so far is any indication, then the iconic comic book character is in good hands.




Ryan Gosling image

A onetime Mouseketeer (you can find photos of young Ryan with the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake), Canadian actor Ryan Gosling has created the type of career any young thesp would dream of while also becoming the coolest man on the planet.

Although the football drama Remember the Titans would be his first breakthrough, it was the indie drama The Believer which saw Gosling’s real acting power shine through in his portrayal of a Jewish born Nazi sympathiser.

Since then he has broken hearts in The Notebook, won an Oscar nomination for Half Nelson and become an action star in Drive. No role is beyond his reach or capability, making Gosling an actor to always bet on.




Michael Fassbender image

Irish born actor Michael Fassbender has found that magical balance between the blockbuster and the art house, giving 100% in every film he has featured no matter the genre, audience, or screen time.

First receiving raves for his turn as IRA soldier Bobby Sands in Hunger, Fassbender has appeared in both indie films (Fish Tank) and big studio productions (Inglourious Basterds).

2011 has seen his star rise considerably thanks to his critically praised turns in X-Men: First Class, Jane Eyre and the soon to be released A Dangerous Method.

With 2012 promising Oscar hopes for his turn as a sex addict in Shame and more box office clout in Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel Prometheus, Fassbender promises to be the actor to watch.




Jeremy Renner image

Since winning an Oscar nomination for his riveting work as EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) team leader William James in The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner has become a prolific actor who is relishing the opportunities given after a decade of TV and film work.

While Boston crime drama The Town saw another Oscar nomination for Renner, his next bunch of projects is all about the box office with Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy promising much in the way of franchise opportunities.

Don’t be surprised if Renner becomes the new king of action cinema.    



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