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The Future A-list: 5 Young Actors Contending For Next Mega Movie Star!

Written by Nathan Rubin. Published: July 08 2024


Long ago, Hollywood invented a very particular kind of celebrity. Back in what’s known as the Golden Age of Hollywood, actors worked on a contract system where they were legally bound to perform only in films that were produced by a specific studio. Paramount’s contracted actors each received a star on the company’s logo. That’s where we get the name "movie star". The contract system is no longer, but the legacy of the movie star has long outlived it. In the past few decades, though, movie star culture has seemingly waned. With the transition to a much more online society and everything that comes with it, fame is a little different. Still, some young talent are being credited with bringing back that movie star feeling — fresh faces, spectacular performances, and bulletproof personas. Here are our biggest contenders for the coveted informal title of Hollywood’s next big movie star!


1. Glen Powell 

Everything's coming together for Glen Powell. He has perhaps the deepest roots in Hollywood of anyone on this list. Although he comes from the Lone Star State, he’s been credited in film and television projects going all the way back in 2003 when he had a small role in Spy Kids 3. He’s been working prolifically ever since, and for many years, his undeniable work ethic didn’t bring him fame but rather small successes one after another. In the past couple of years, though, he has shot up in popularity, and both younger and older generations have fallen in love with his charismatic performances and authentic public presence. After projects like Top Gun: MaverickAnyone But You, and Hit Man were massive financial and critical successes, he’s equipped to star in whatever he wants. We’ll see him soon in the highly anticipated reboot Twisters, which releases on July 21st.



2. Zendaya

Need we even explain ourselves further? Zendaya is already a global phenomenon, the ultimate package -- talented, beautiful, and kind. She was one of the few former Disney child stars able to reposition herself in the industry and become a well-adjusted adult — a genuine accomplishment considering the track record of that demographic. Now, her versatility speaks for itself. She can transition from drama to action to comedy with ease and is one of the most highly-coveted actors in the industry simply for her star power. If that doesn’t make a movie star, we don’t know what does.



3. Paul Mescal

The first on this list to get his start on the stage rather than the big screen (and the only one on this list so far with an Oscar nomination under his belt), Paul Mescal grew up performing theater at local venues, hoping for a big break. He comes from a relatively rural part of Ireland, which admittedly is a long way from somewhere like Hollywood. After one of his first television roles in "Normal People", though, he exploded in popularity, partly because of his heartthrob on-screen presence but mostly because of his undeniable talent. Since then, he’s become something of an indie prince, specializing in art house movies with strong male characters. He’s often lauded by the directors he works with and is perhaps one of the most one-of-a-kind talents on this list. His real test will be his performance as the lead in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator II, releasing on November 22nd of this year.



4. Sydney Sweeney

Ambition personified, Sydney Sweeney is one of the hardest working and hungriest actors on this list. She has the most credits of anyone listed here at only 26 years old, getting her start as a child actor. She’s even founded her own production and development company, Fifty-Fifty films, which assisted in making the horror hit Immaculate, in which Sweeney has been credited as a standout performer. She has four projects currently in development and over 20 million followers on Instagram. Sweeney did not come to this industry to play, and we’re convinced she is already poised for Hollywood superstardom. 


5. Mason Gooding

Although he may be one of the lower-profile names on this list, we assure that Mason Gooding’s name is soon to become one of the household variety. His credits don’t go back further than a decade, but his role in cult favorite television show "Everything’s Gonna Be Okay" put him on the map, and his lead role in the two most recent installments in the Scream franchise have allowed him to shine. Now, he has 5 new projects in development, including a horror-comedy titled Heart Eyes directed by Josh Ruben. He’s charismatic, unproblematic, and the poster child of Gen-Z. He’s on a meteoric rise, but he hasn’t hit his peak quite yet, and we think he’s headed right for the stars.


6. Jenna Ortega

Scream queens are back, baby! Jenna Ortega is one of the most obsessed-over young actresses in the industry, and her explosive rise shows that she already has an extremely loyal fanbase that’s only increasing in numbers. She’s been working since she was a small child, but her work ethic has only increased. She’s had strong performances in relevant drama films, but her main presence is very in-genre. She’s had a hand in many of the most famous horror franchises, from Insidious to Scream to Ti West’s X trilogy. Most recently, her role as the titular Wednesday Addams has achieved peak viral status, and now the star carries over 40 million followers on Instagram alone and many upcoming projects in development. We’re most excited to see her in the reboot of the famous Tim Burton film Beetlejuice, releasing September 6th of this year.