Since 2004, Screen’s annual Stars of Tomorrow list has served as a bellwether in an industry where it’s notoriously difficult to predict anything with certainty. From spotting a young Benedict Cumberbatch and Emily Blunt more than 15 years ago, to directing industry attention towards Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jodie Comer, and Taron Egerton in more recent editions, they’ve got it right every time. 2020 might be a year we already want to put behind us but you can look forward to seeing a lot more of the actors that make up Screen’s list. With that in mind, here’s an introduction to the performers making up 2020’s Stars of Tomorrow.
Coming to acting after a career in nursing, Helen’s story is proof that there’s not one “right” way into the industry. The star of The Virtues and Elizabeth Is Missing spoke to Backstage earlier this year about bumping into Shane Meadows in a pub, why nursing still informs her acting work, and how she still struggles with imposter syndrome.
From Wolverhampton to The Witcher, Anya Chalotra is best known as Yennefer in Netflix’s fantasy series but has also graced the stages of the Globe and National Theatre. She’ll soon be appearing alongside Russell Tovey in a joint venture between Sky Arts and Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Recent Brit School grad Sheyi Cole makes his screen debut later this year. And what a debut it is, playing alongside John Boyega, Letitia Wright, and Rochenda Sandall in Small Axe, a miniseries from Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) exploring the experiences of London’s West Indian community between 1969 and 1982. Cole is the first but far from the last actor on this list featured in McQueen’s highly anticipated drama.
Emma Corrin will be a household name after starring as Princess Diana in The Crown, arguably the best gig an actor can land. The Cambridge grad started off with smaller roles in Grantchester and Batman prequel series Pennyworth before auditioning for The Crown between shifts packing underwear.
Along with fellow Normal People star Paul Mescal (also on this list), Daisy Edgar-Jones has had a very good 2020. We spoke to Daisy earlier this year about the making of the show, audition horror stories, and her lucky fringe.
The Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa gets a well-deserved mention on this list along with co-star Tanya Reynolds. As well as series three of Sex Education, Gatwa has a batch of projects lined up, including starring alongside Felicity Jones in Last Letter from Your Lover.
About to be seen as the lead in the screen adaptation of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Max Harwood went from studying at London’s Urdang Academy to shooting in Sheffield with legends Richard E Grant, Sharon Horgan, and Sarah Lancashire. Despite the role, Max is going back to finish his training this year.
Another actor going back to training, Khan is about to be seen in coming-of-age drama County Lines but will spend 2020 balancing shoots for a new instalment of crime drama Baptiste with studying film in London.
Undoubtedly set up for great things by Normal People, Paul Mescal is currently shooting Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter alongside Jessie Buckley and Dakota Johnson and Olivia Colman. We’ve spoken to Paul a couple of times this year, including about what one lesson from training he keeps with him for every job.
Yasmin Monet Prince
Another Brit School kid who’s done great things and is destined for even great ones, Prince is best known for her role in action series Hanna. During lockdown she starred opposite the awesome Nicholas Pinnock (Marcella, Top Boy) in an episode of ITV’s Unsaid Stories.
Dónall Ó Héalai
Dónall has been steadily building a CV for the past decade both in Ireland and the US, but all that is set to change. Not only does being on Screen’s list bode well for Ó Héalai, but his lead role in searing new Irish-language drama Arracht has been earning him well-deserved acclaim and attention.
The second actor here to have found their breakthrough in Sex Education, Tanya has been working steadily since leaving the Oxford School of Drama in 2015. This year she’s popped up in feature film Emma alongside Anya Taylor-Joy and in TV series Breeders with Martin Freeman and is set to return in Series 3 of Sex Education.
If an injury hadn’t put an end to his promise in the boxing ring, the world might not have known Jack Rowan as an actor. After making waves in Channel 4 miniseries Born To Kill, Rowan cemented his place on screen with a leading role in the brilliant BBC adaptation of Noughts & Crosses earlier this year.
Amarah-Jae St Aubyn
The second of three actors on this list to be making their screen debut in Steve McQueen’s series Small Axe, St Aubyn trained at the Brit School, National Youth Theatre, and has been working part-time jobs to support her acting.
The last of the list and another star of Small Axe, Ward has been building traction with roles Top Boy and feature film Blue Story (made by Rapman, Screen’s Star of Tomorrow in 2019), for which he won the BAFTA Rising Star Award this year.
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