Next Generation 2011: Actors

Todd Plitt/Contour by Getty Images

Three actors who are headlining some of the biggest projects in Hollywood.

Henry Cavill | 28
Immortals, Man of Steel

An original Jersey boy (as in, the U.K.'s Jersey, Channel Islands), Cavill is streaking faster than a speeding bullet right now. Though he had made strides in movies before -- his feature debut was in The Count of Monte Cristo in 2002 -- he was, until recently, known in Hollywood for film roles he didn't nab, such as the leads in Superman Returns and Casino Royale. In 2007, he did win the role of Charles Brandon in Showtime's period melodrama The Tudors, garnering an international fan base in the process. These days, Cavill's rugged image can be seen on countless billboards and bus shelters across the country for Immortals, Relativity's entre into the visual effects-heavy tentpole business that opens Nov. 11. Next year, audiences will watch him opposite Bruce Willis in the thriller Cold Light of Day. And, in true Hollywood-ending style, Cavill has gotten a second shot at Superman, becoming the first non-American to portray the Man of Steel. The Zack Snyder-directed movie is now in production.

Armie Hammer | 25
J. Edgar, Untitled Snow White Project, The Lone Ranger

"The best compliment I receive is when people ask me, 'Hey, where's your brother?' " says Hammer. "I think, 'That's awesome! We tricked you.' " The actor is, of course, referring to his breakout role -- well, roles -- as the twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network. The cachet of his first major film role ("Being directed by David Fincher was grueling, in the best way," he says) not only landed the actor critical acclaim but three of young Hollywood's most sought-after roles: He can next be seen playing J. Edgar Hoover's lover in Clint Eastwood's biopic of the FBI director; Prince Albert Alcott in Tarsem Singh's Snow White project; and the title role in The Lone Ranger alongside Johnny Depp. For someone who could have rested on his family's haughty pedigree for an automatic Hollywood "in" (his paternal great-grandfather was oil tycoon and philanthropist Armand Hammer), the Dallas-and-L.A.-raised Hammer considers himself a "self-taught" actor. "I studied every method and read a ton of books -- all on my own," he says. Hammer, who's married to TV journalist Elizabeth Chambers, says he trying to stay grounded. "What can I say? I love my wife. Looking 10 years ahead, I have no idea what I'll be doing professionally, but I know who I'm going to be with. That's very comforting."

Jeremy Irvine | 21
War Horse

Before Irvine was cast as the equestrian World War I soldier in Spielberg's War Horse, he was just a kid from tiny Gamlingay, England (pop. 3,535) who trained at the National Youth Theatre and London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He won limited fame for an MTV commercial, a British Disney Channel show and a role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's Dunsinane, "literally playing a tree," as he puts it. Good thing he fell into the hands of Steven Spielberg, who has launched little-known actors to fame before -- Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun and Liam Neeson in Schindler's List. "I virtually went from having no lines in a theater show to playing the lead in a Spielberg film," says Irvine. Never a horse lover, he had to act alongside 130 of them, including one that stepped on his foot during a shot. He has just finished Now Is Good with Dakota Fanning and is filming Mike Newell's Great Expectations with Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter, due in theaters next year.

 

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