Canada's 15 Emerging Entertainment Talent

9:00 AM 9/7/2019

by Etan Vlessing

'Wynonna Earp' breakout Shamier Anderson, 'Riverdale' actress Tiera Skovbye and more fresh northern talents make The Hollywood Reporter's sixth annual list.

From left: Humberly González, Eve Harlow, Shannon Kook, Rebecca Liddiard, Tyler MacIntyre, Jessica Matten and Amybeth McNulty.
From left: Humberly González, Eve Harlow, Shannon Kook, Rebecca Liddiard, Tyler MacIntyre, Jessica Matten and Amybeth McNulty.

Given the sheer number of streaming projects, studio movies and TV series shooting in Canada year-round, it's not surprising that 2019's crop of emerging Canadian talents have more paths than ever to Hollywood stardom. The northern talent pool also offers Hollywood casting directors and producers a wealth of diversity. From Venezuela-born actress Humberly González (Orphan Black) to Amybeth McNulty, the Irish-Canadian star of Anne With an E, and Jessica Matten, a descendent of Canada's indigenous Metis who stars opposite Jason Momoa on Netflix's Frontier, these 15 up-and-comers represent a multicultural mix that, as evident in their comments below, is a source of national pride (along with Schitt's Creek, the homegrown Ryans — Gosling and Reynolds — and, of course, universal health care).

  • Jared Abrahamson

    Actor, 31

    Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

    The former MMA fighter known as Wolfblood made a strong impression in the 2018 heist movie American Animals, which premiered at Sundance.

    10 YEARS AGO I WAS … "Broke as a joke, prize-fighting for smokes."

    RYAN GOSLING OR RYAN REYNOLDS? "Ryan Gosling via TKO. He was all Muay Thai'd up for Only God Forgives."

  • Shamier Anderson

    Actor, 28

    Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic

    Wynonna Earp star Anderson will join younger brother Stephan James, star of 2018's If Beale Street Could Talk, to host the annual B.L.A.C.K. Ball at TIFF.

    BIG BREAK "Definitely not the Tim Hortons commercial I was edited out of in 2013."

    THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING CANADIAN "Living in a country that is diverse and inclusive, and no matter where your family is from, we have the right to celebrate our heritage and culture while still being Canadian. And free health care!"

  • Nesta Cooper

    Actress, 25

    Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

    Toronto-born Cooper landed one of the lead roles on Apple TV's upcoming streaming series See, opposite Jason Momoa.

    10 YEARS AGO I WAS … "Working at Tim Hortons, living on Vancouver Island and dreaming of moving to Vancouver."

    CBC OR CNN? "CBC — they have great animal segments that make me smile. I remember one a couple of years ago titled 'Moose on the Loose.' "

  • Humberly Gonzalez

    Actress, 27

    Courtesy of subject

    A triple threat as an actor, singer and dancer, González boasts TV credits including Orphan BlackSaving Hope and an upcoming role on Netflix's animated superhero drama Jupiter's Legacy.

    BIG BREAK "This year I was cast in my first series-regular role on a new TV show called Utopia Falls where I got to showcase not just my acting but also my singing and dancing."

    THE BEST CANADIAN SHOW AMERICANS ARE MISSING OUT ON "Workin' Moms. Hilarity in motherhood and everything in between. Seasons one and two are on Netflix. Drop everything and go watch!"

  • Eve Harlow

    Actress, 30

    Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

    Born in Moscow, Harlow has been a part of two Diablo Cody-penned features, 2007's Juno and 2009's Jennifer's Body. She currently appears on The CW's dystopian drama The 100.

    RYAN GOSLING OR RYAN REYNOLDS? "Reynolds always came in for coffee and bagels at the coffee shop I used to work at, so going to have to go with him."

    WHAT DOES THE HANDMAID'S TALE GET RIGHT ABOUT CANADA? "That it's a place that provides freedom, acceptance and opportunity for people in search of a better life. As a first-generation immigrant, my family and I are living proof of this."

  • Shannon Kook

    Actor, 32

    Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

    Kook grew up in apartheid-era South Africa before landing in Canada and, like Drake, nabbed a breakout role on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

    THE MOST CANADIAN THING ABOUT SCHITT'S CREEK "Noah Reid. As an immigrant, I remember feeling a broader sense of what made Canada special simply via his tastes and character."

    THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING CANADIAN "We are all people of the world."

  • Rebecca Liddiard

    Actor, 28

    Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic

    Toronto-based Liddiard has been a standout in period dramas like Netflix's Alias Grace and the 2016 Fox miniseries Houdini & Doyle.

    10 YEARS AGO I WAS … "18, beginning my first days of theater school and already considering dropping out and becoming a chef. Thank God I did not do either of those things."

    RYAN GOSLING OR RYAN REYNOLDS? "15-year-old me screams Gosling!"

  • Tyler MacIntyre

    Director/Editor, 35

    Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic

    MacIntyre and co-writer Chris Lee Hill are developing a mystery-comedy series at FX called Red Herrings and recently sold the script for a thriller called Nightlight to Sony.

    ACTOR OR DIRECTOR I'D MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH "Jim Carrey, but on something really, really dark. Also a fellow Canadian!"

    THE MOST CANADIAN THING ABOUT SCHITT'S CREEK "Haven't seen it. But I'm so Canadian, I thought about lying and saying I had."

  • Jessica Matten

    Actress, 34

    George Pimentel/WireImage

    Starring with Jason Momoa on Netflix's Frontier, Matten supports local causes like #n8vgirls, a social media campaign bringing awareness to missing Canadian native women.

    ACTOR OR DIRECTOR I'D MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH "Ava DuVernay. Everything she represents and brings to our society through the power of film and TV is beautiful."

    THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING CANADIAN "That we have one of the best passports in the world and our health-care system."

  • Amybeth McNulty

    Actress, 17

    George Pimentel/Getty Images

    Born to an Irish father and a Canadian mother, McNulty was a natural to take on the iconic role of Anne Shirley on Netflix's Anne With an E, the latest adaptation of the Prince Edward Island-set Anne of Green Gables.

    10 YEARS AGO I WAS … "About to turn 8 and perform in my first proper musical. I played Molly in Annie and thought pretending to be drunk was ever so funny."

    TIM HORTONS OR STARBUCKS? "Timmy's! Their iced cappuccinos remain unbeaten."

  • Ally Pankiw

    Writer/Director, 32

    Courtesy of subject

    Pankiw got her start directing and producing music videos for artists like Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea and Janelle Monáe and works in Los Angeles, Toronto and London.

    ACTOR OR DIRECTOR I'D MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH "Jennifer Lawrence because she can do no wrong. And her face defies all logic. It's so smooth yet so expressive."

    THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING CANADIAN "I'll have a passport and a place to flee when The Handmaid's Tale becomes a reality in the U.S."

  • Connor Price

    Actor, 24

    Courtesy of subject

    Price, who started acting at age 6 in Ron Howard's Cinderella Man, next appears on the last season of USA Network's Dead Zone.

    THE BEST CANADIAN SHOW AMERICANS ARE MISSING OUT ON "I was going to say Schitt's Creek, but judging by the four Emmy nominations, I think America is catching on."

    THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING CANADIAN "Ketchup chips."

  • Daniel Roher

    Director, 25

    George Pimentel/Getty Images

    Roher caught the eye of legendary rocker Robbie Robertson and is set to hit the big time after directing this year's Toronto Film Festival opener, the documentary Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band.

    BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF 2019 "Interviewing Bruce Springsteen, Martin Scorsese and David Geffen in one day and only causing one of them to walk out on me!"

    THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING CANADIAN "Our sexy prime minister, ketchup chips and universal health care."

  • Inanna Sarkis

    Actress/Director, 29

    Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

    In addition to creating a WWE character, Miss North, for a YouTube video, Sarkis appeared in the teen drama After, which has grossed nearly $70 million globally.

    BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF 2019 "Booking After. So many people read for the role. I went through the audition process and booked it without realizing how big of a fan base the books [it was based on] had. I also bought my first house."

    TIM HORTONS OR STARBUCKS? "Absolutely Tim Hortons. I wish I could open one in Los Angeles."

  • Tiera Skovbye

    Actress, 23

    Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

    Riverdale star Skovbye, who shuttles between auditions and acting gigs in her native Vancouver and L.A., also has appeared in SupernaturalOnce Upon a Time and Arrow.

    10 YEARS AGO I WAS … "A very awkward 14-year-old high school student."

    ACTOR OR DIRECTOR I'D MOST LIKE TO WORK WITH "I'm currently obsessed with Rachel Brosnahan."

    This story first appeared in the Sept. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.