Actors with A-List Potential

Patrick Wilson

Richard Armitage

David Tennant

James Roday

Idris Elba

The Ready-For-The-Big-Time Players

There are two kinds of actors in Hollywood. Leading men/Leading Ladies, and the character actors who support them by playing second-fiddle. A-List actors include guys like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington, George Clooney and Tom Cruise. The A-List actresses would include the likes of Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts. The strength of these names can sell a film. They get top billing and top salaries for their films.

But it's the second-tier names I want to talk about. Some of the second-bannana actors have just as much talent and good looks as the big-name stars but for some reason, they languish below the mega-stars. Most of them have paid their dues for a long time but still have not quite made it to the leading roles. They may have starred in successful TV series but in films they seem to have hit the glass ceiling when it comes to making the leap to movie stardom.

Here is a list of people I think could be just as good--if not better--than some of the top level movies stars of today

5) Patrick Wilson--At first he was mostly cast as the romantic interest for the female leads, as in his early films like Phantom of the Opera and Little Children. But he's branched out to more varied roles, such as the reluctant super-hero Nite Owl in Watchmen and evil CIA agent Lynch in The A-Team. I think he's got more potential than he's used so far and the man deserves watching, because I think he can be a big star. Look for him in the highly anticipated sci-fi epic Prometheus.

4) Richard Armitage--A handsome British actor with a lot of intensity and yet is able to project vulnerability. Starting with an uncredited appearance in the 1999 Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace, he's worked steadily in the industry. He was in North & South but his big break-out role was his excellent performance as Sir Guy of Gisbourne in the BBC Robin Hood series. (2006-2009) Although the series was merely mediocre, Armitage stole every scene he was in with his angst-ridden interpretation of the morally ambiguous Sir Guy. He's appeared in the series MI-5 as Lucas North, and had a role in the recent Captain America: the First Avenger film as Heinz Kruger. Look for him in Peter Jackson's upcoming Hobbit films.

3) David Tennant--Before he became a sci-fi icon, he appeared in the BBC series Blackpool, as Peter Carlisle, and played the title role in the mini-series Casanova. He also had a small but pivotal role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But it was only after he took the starring role in the ever-popular sci-fi show Dr. Who, playing the latest incarnation of the mysterious Time Lord known as the Doctor, that he shot to TV mega-fame. He left that show at the height of his popularity to pursue a film career which has so-far eluded him. Still, his scene-stealing role in the recent Fright Night remake as Peter Vincent shows he has what it takes to make it on the big-screen. He'll be providing the voice for Charles Darwin in the upcoming animated film The Pirates: Band of Misfits.

2) James Roday--I think this guy has what it takes to be the next big comedy star. If the industry is waiting for the next Eddie Murphy or Jim Carrey, I think Roday could fill the void. He spent five years playing small roles in films like Showtime, Dukes of Hazzard, Beerfest and Gamer, then he got the role of faux-psychic detective Shawn Spencer in the cable comedy Psych. Roday's consistently hilarious performance as Shawn is as assured and slick as any big-screen comedian. He has the potential to be the silver-screen clown of the next decade once Psych goes off the air. In the meantime, we can enjoy him each week as the wild-and-crazy Shawn.

1) Idris Elba--I think this guy has more talent and intensity than any of the trendy, A-listers of today and is the most under-rated person working in the industry. The guy is bursting with talent. He's a British actor who's been paying his dues for over 20 years. He first came to some recognition playing "Stinger" Bell in The Wire. He's appeared in others series, including the British version of the Office and The Big C. His movie roles include 28 Weeks Later, American Gangsters and The Losers. Recently, he was a scene-stealer playing Heimdall in Thor. But his best performance has got to be as the maverick cop-on-the-edge in the wonderful BBC series Luther, the best cop show to come along in years. His performance there is absolutely riveting. Look for him in the upcoming, much anticipate sci-fi film Prometheus. He's a man to watch and he has Star written all over him.

These are five names I think deserve watching because they can potentially be the dominant stars at the box office in the future--with luck!

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Comments 24 comments

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Awesome, awesome collection. All of these actors are fantastic. And I can personally attest to Richard Armitage's power as an actor. He had my friends and I screaming at my television screen as though we were watching the Super Bowl with his superb performance in North & South. And David Tennant? God, I love that man.

I hope we see all of these talented individuals make it big!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Simone; He was superb in 'North and South'. He has a lot of star potential and he could really go places with the right break. And I have a soft spot for David Tennant because he starred in 'Dr. Who' for 4 years. I'm such a Whovian!

Thanks for the comments, Simone;

Rob


marellen 4 years ago

Hi Rob...interesting hub. Although, I don't know any of these new actors because I don't see movies very often or its my age, its always nice to read about the news kids in town. Its like reading a People magazine, I know maybe half of the folks in there. lol


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Hey Rob...well time will tell if you are correct. I would say Patrick Wilson has a good chance....but his move to television surprised me....he has appeared in a ton of movies already...and he seemed to be going in the right direction. David Tennant was awesome as Dr. Who....his start in the US has not gone as quickly as I think he was hoping...as for the other three actors...I will keep an eye out for them...as they have not really caught my attention before reading your excellent hub...voted up and awesome.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Marellen; It's not surprising that you haven't heard of most of these guys. They haven't gotten their just due yet. That's why I wrote this hub, because they should be better known than they are.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi cogerson; I don't know if any of these guys will ever break into the top tier of show business, but I really think they have the talent to make it if they get the chance.

I was surprised about Patrick Wilson moving to television also, since his movie career seems to be coming along nicely. Of the people on this list, I think he has the best shot at being a big star.

David Tennat is loaded with charisma and I think he really has star power. It's just a question of whether he gets that plumb role which gets the world's attention. Right now, he's mostly known by sci-fi fans. Still, at least he had the legacy of 'Dr. Who' even if the movie career doesn't pan out.

And watch for Idris Elba. The guy has gravitas.

Thanks, as always, for the comments,

Rob


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I find that character actors have a better chance to to have a long career because their roles require good actors. Sometimes A-listers are there simply because they look good and once their 15 minutes are up, do not go anywhere further. This is more true now than during the studio era, because by the time movies were released then you had already made several more films-and studios gave you acting lessons too.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Flora; It's true that character actors tend to have longer careers and make more films than the A-listers. As an artist, it's probably more satisfying to be a character actor because they have more variety in their roles than the A-listers, who generally get stuck in a niche. On the flip-side, the A-Listers get more attention and a lot more money. I guess it depends what they want.

Always good to hear from you,

Rob


Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

Hi Robwrite,

I like your list a lot, especially your last two. I didn't know James Roday until Psych premiered, but now I can't imagine him not being in that role. His timing is amazing and his chemistry with Dule Hill is unbelievable. I also think Idris Elba is cool not only because of his great presence, but just for the diverse amount of roles he can tackle.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Alecia; I agree that James Roday has amazing comic timing. Better than most of the Hollywood comics. And Idris Elba is just so versitile.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I'm looking forward to seeing Mr. Elba in "Prometheus". He'sd be my top pick for soon-to-be-A list, I think, though David Tennant and Daniel Day Lewis (who wasn't mentioned here) are very much in the running.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Paradise; I look forward to seeing Idris Elba in anything and I'll be eager to see him in "Prometheus". He definitely has all the talent necessary to be the next big screen star. David Tennant can hopefully follow up "Fright Night" with more juicy roles.

I didn't include Daniel Day Lewis on the list since he's been a leading man already in many films going back to the 80s and he's won an oscar. So he's kind of made it already. He's not quite in the stratosphere of Pitt or Cruise but he's had a very successful career.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


AlabamaGirl86 profile image

AlabamaGirl86 4 years ago

I love Patrick Wilson, although I did not realize he had a television show. Nice hub.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks Alabama. Patrick Wilson has a new show called "a Gifted Man". It's another of those 'I-see-dead-people' type of stories. I haven't seen it myself.

Thanks for stopping by,

Rob


Kerri McClelland profile image

Kerri McClelland 4 years ago

Unfortunately, the only NAME i recognized was Patrick Wilson. I will have to check out his new show. I do agree though that many of these second tier actors and actresses have the same quality of talent as these A List stars, but not the popularity of their name to back them up.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Kerri; It's true that the A-List actors don't have a monopoly on looks and talent. Lots of second-tier actors are even more talented. It just takes that one big hit to launch them into the public eye.

Thanks for reading,

Rob


izettl profile image

izettl 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

Those British actors are doing quite well nowadays. My vote is for Richard Armitage. I think you nailed it on the head about his intensity.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Izetti; Yeah, the British acting invasion is under way. Some of the best Hollywood talents are from across the pond.

Thanks for stopping by my hub,

Rob


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

Pretty impressive hub, as some of these guys I've never even heard of, but from reading this, i can definitely see why you'd say they have a lot of potential. I definitely agree with you about Idris Elba. I think all he really needs is one break blockbuster to launch his career. I know Marvel Studios had "Black Panther" on back burner for a while, so maybe Marvel should cast him for that part.

After all, if "Iron Man" can launch Downey Jr. into A-List stardom, then I'm sure "Black Panther" can do the same for Idris Elba. Although, there is the issue with the name of the character though considering I think most people tend to associate "Black Panther" more with the terrorist group rather than the superhero character...

Anyway, great job putting all this together.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

I think Patrick Wilson has fallen off a little bit. As Cogerson said, going to television was an odd decision. I think Idris Elba is a terrific actor and deserves that big role to show off his talents.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Steven; I agree. Idris Elba just needs that one big hit to reach the big time. I can see him as a top marquee talent in a Spielberg or Jackson or Nolan film. As for the Black Panther, they've been talking about that as long as they've been talking about a Wonder Woman film and I don't think I'll even get to see either one of them.

Good to hear from you,

Rob


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Nickalooch; It's true that Patrick Wilson has fallen off a bit, and his decision to go to TV when he was so close to breaking into the top tier was very odd.

Idris Elba definitely deserves a showcase for his impressive talents. I see an Oscar in his future.

Rob


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I agree with your assessment that recognition for Idris Elba is overdue. He's a great actor; but then there really are quite a few very good actors, both male and female, that never quite get the breaks their talents deserve.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi; It's true, there are a lot of underappreciated actors out there. I'm glad Idris Elba got the golden golbe for his TV work. At least he's getting Some recognition.

Thanks for reading,

Rob

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