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Next Gen 2011: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars

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    Actresses
    Felicity Jones
    Sarah Dunn/Contour by Getty Images
    Felicity Jones
    "Like Crazy"

    "English literature is about understanding character," says Jones, 27, a 2006 Oxford honors graduate, "so it's fed into the way I now approach scripts." It's a bit ironic then, that her wordless audition for Drake Doremus' star-crossed-lovers film Like Crazy -- a scene that took place in a shower -- won Jones the part opposite Star Trek's Anton Yelchin. Later, the actors helped write the film's dialogue. "[Doremus'] script has stage directions and tells what happens, information we had to deliver when we're improvising," she says. "The key is to relax and just let the scene happen. The first few times it felt very contrived and very forced, but by the 15th take, it becomes a lot more naturalistic. You sort of relax into it, and you find the right words to say." Jones, who lives in London and starred in the 2007 TV film Northanger Abbey with her friend Carey Mulligan and won kudos as Shakespeare's Miranda in 2010's The Tempest, loves Doremus' spontaneity. "I didn't know you could actually improvise a whole film straight onto camera," she says. Now Jones, who won Sundance's special jury prize for her performance in Like Crazy, is an awards contender alongside Mulligan (Shame) and another former co-star, Keira Knightley (A Dangerous Method). "The main thing was just to create something as honest as we could," says Jones. "From then on, it's just been crazy."

    PHOTOS: THR's Next Gen Class of 2011

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