The 2012 PNR Rising Stars Honors List

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THE SEVENTH ANNUAL POPCORN N ROSES RISING STARS LIST – 2012 For the seventh year in a row, Popcorn N Roses has announced its list of young actors and actresses we think you should keep an eye on. Given our track record, it’s a good bet that one or more of these talented young stars will explode sometime in the next year or so…

TOP TEN MALE RISING STARS 2012

1. LUCAS CRUIKSHANK

Lucas is the perfect example of the self-made teen star – he created and starred in a series of homemade YouTube comedy videos featuring an annoying yet charming six year old named Fred. And the rest is HISTORY. Within months of Fred’s debut, it was getting millions of YouTube hits, and when Nickelodeon came calling wanting to bring Fred to TV, Lucas jumped and hasn’t looked back. He’s an excellent actor, he’s proven his talents at writing and directing, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a genuinely funny young man. The trip from the Nebraska countryside to Hollywood can’t be easy, but Lucas is handling it with grace and charm; I have never heard a cross word about him (though there ARE anti-Fred trolls out there). With a career as an actor, writer, director, and probably standup comedy in his future, he is going to go all the way…and we can’t think of a nicer guy to be this year’s #1 MALE RISING STAR!

2. ALEX ESMAIL

From the moment we saw the original and hysterically funny UK horror comedy “Attack The Block”, we knew Alex was destined to take off. While co-star John Boyega (see #6 Male) was technically the lead, it was as the irrepressible and annoyingly hilarious gang pyromaniac Pest that Alex took over the film; he got the funniest lines because director Joe Cornish knew he could make them work. We have no doubt Alex will be able to handle drama as easily as he handles comedy. And with his love for martial arts and the running sport of parkour, and as a big fan of pro wrestling, most notably the American TNA Wrestling federation, Alex might be able to handle what it takes to become a major action star as well.

3. BRENDAN MEYER

Brendan is another young actor who’s been on our radar for several years, popping up in a number of TV series and TV Movies since his pre-teens. But since the premiere of his hit sitcom “Mr. Young”, airing on Disney XD in the US, he’s quickly moved to the top of the pecking order.  As Adam Young, a 16 year old child prodigy who returns to his old high school to be a teacher for kids who are also his longtime friends, he is spot on hilarious in all the goofy situations that arise on the show. But don’t be fooled by his comedic talents; his dramatic talents have also been on screen over the years, on the hit horror series “R.L. Stein’s ‘The Haunting Hour’” and numerous other TV and film projects. He should have no problem making the transition from teen actor to adult actor, and no matter what comes his way, you can bet Brendan will give it his best shot.

 

4. BLAKE MICHAEL

One look at Blake and you can see exactly why he’s going to be huge in the near future. With the uber-popular Disney Channel TV-movie “Lemonade Mouth” already in his resume, he’s about to add “Disney sitcom star” to his credits as one of the leads in the fall 2012 comedy “Dog With A Blog”. And he’s not just a pretty boy either – he handled both comedic and serious scenes from “Lemonade Mouth” and did so with great flair and charm. And prior to his work as a “Disney Prince”, Blake had done several short films, both as an actor and as a director, so obviously this 16 year old has plans for a long and varied career in the business. If he takes care to watch what he does, and to avoid the pitfalls that Zac Efron and the Jonas Brothers have had, he is going to be someone to watch take off in the next couple of years. Oh, and yeah, he’s another young performer who has taken to YouTube with his own stuff…so keep an eye there as well…

 

5. SPENCER DANIELS

Spencer has been on our radar for a number of years, having been very visible in both TV and Film since his pre-teen years, and especially since his role on the television series version of the Academy Award-winning film “Crash” and his turn as the 12 year old version of Benjamin Button in the Oscar nominated “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”.  And his no-line walk-on part in JJ Abrams’ reboot of “Star Trek” also helped put him front and center, even though you only see him for a couple of seconds. No matter whether he’s playing serious drama or fun comedy, Spencer clearly has the talent to take him a long way in show business. His winning smile and bubbly personality don’t hurt him, either…heh heh heh..

6. JOHN BOYEGA

John’s spot-on performance as the 15 year old Moses, a gang tough who takes on aliens in the hilarious UK horror comedy “Attack The Block” put him on everyone’s radar, and now he’s capitalizing on it. Almost immediately after the film became a festival favorite, winning the Audience Award for best film at the 2011 Los Angeles Film festival, people began to offer John roles, and he’s poised to take off into the stratosphere.

7. DANE DEHAAN

DeHaan made the leap in 2012 from his popular role as the troubled Jesse on HBO’s award-winning series “In Treatment” as…yes, another troubled young man, Andrew Detmer, in one of the best-reviewed films of 2012, the cinema-verte found footage thriller “Chronicle”. Dane brings such intensity to all the characters he plays that he makes them instantly believable, no matter how outlandish the situation may be. This summer, he will hit the big screen again starring opposite PNR Rising Star alums Shia LeBeouf and Mia Wasikowska in “Lawless”.

8. NICK KRAUSE

Nicks’ first major exposure came in the 2006 kids comedy “How To Eat Fried Worms”. Since then, he’s racked up a half-dozen appearances on various TV shows and now to a recurring role on the new weekly summer kids soap “Hollywood Heights”. But he’s best known as the goofy Sid in the critically-acclaimed dramedy “The Descendants” from 2011. After all, how can you get punched in the face by George Clooney and NOT be remembered for it? Funny, smart, good-looking, and talented is a hard thing to find all in one place, but with Nick, you’ve got the total package!

 

9. JOEL COURTNEY

Not every kid gets to start their career working with two of the biggest people in show business, but Joel did – his first professional gig was in the Steven Spielberg-produced “Super 8”, directed by the phenom himself, JJ Abrams. And it was THE LEAD too – as Joe Lamb, our hero, he gets to have fun making films with friends and also gets the girl in the end to boot. Since “Super 8”, Joel has done the popular kids horror show “R. L. Stein’s The Haunting Hour”, and is about to take to the big screen again as Mark Twain’s classic character Tom Sawyer in the upcoming film “Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn” (like they were going to call it something else?). His charming smile and easy to like on-screen personas are making him someone to watch closely in the months and years ahead.

 

10. COLIN FORD

Colin has been involved with the business since the ripe old age of four, and Kim has been interested in his career since he landed a recurring job as the young Sam Winchester in her favorite TV series, “Supernatural”. He has looks, determination and drive to make it big, and he also happens to be quite the voiceover maniac as well, frequently doing voices for “Family Guy” and as the lead in the hit Disney Channel animated series “Jake and the Neverland Pirates”. He lit up the big screen this past winter in “We Bought A Zoo”, playing surly teenage son to Matt Damon’s clueless newly widowed dad, and he has a very bright future ahead of him.

 

TOP TEN FEMALE RISING STARS 2012

1. SHAILENE WOODLEY

Shailene has been around for years, starting as a pre-teen model and actress. She became a household name with her peers thanks to the long-running ABC Family hit drama “The Secret Life Of An American Teenager”. But she became a name to everyone with her award-nominated performance as George Clooney’s eldest daughter Alexandra in the critically acclaimed comedy “The Descendants” and since that time, she’s really on a roll. She brings her acting skills, along with her considerable grace and beauty, to each role she takes on, and has proven to be adept at all kinds of characters. I’ve heard her talent and professionalism compared to Meryl Streep – no small complement that is, either. Without a doubt, as she matures into adult roles, Shailene’s comet is going to be streaking through Hollywood, and you can believe millions of fans will be along for the ride, and that is what makes her 2012’s #1 FEMALE RISING STAR!

2. AMANDLA STENBERG

Amandla plays Rue, the little girl whose demise triggers a major uprising in the spring hit “The Hunger Games”. With almost no lines – her character is seen a great deal of the time and not heard, which makes even more impressive that she takes over her part of the film, and the chemistry she has with her co-star, 2011 #3 Female Rising Star Jennifer Lawrence, is utterly amazing. With a very successful print ad career AND a very successful commercial career as well already under her belt, it’s only a matter of time before this 13 year old beauty takes off towards major stardom.

3. FELICITY JONES

Felicity has been acting since her early teens, mostly on UK television programs, and has been on our radar for quite a while. But in the last couple of years, she’s jumped into a major film career and every role she takes brings her greater praise and a growing fanbase. I wasn’t a fan of Julie Taymor’s version of Shakespere’s “The Tempest” but Felicity really stood out in that film. But she’s excellent as the somewhat pampered Brit who falls for 2009 PNR #1 Male Rising Star Anton Yelchin in one of 2011’s most critically acclaimed films, “Like Crazy”. And she never seems to stop working, either. She has several films in the can or currently underway, so you’re going to be seeing a lot of her in the near future, and without a doubt, she’s going to make you remember every role she plays.

4. COBIE SMULDERS

Cobie has been very visible since 2005 as one of the co-stars of the hit CBS comedy series “How I Met Your Mother”, but it was as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill in “The Avengers” that she really leapt out at us and showed off just how serious her chops are. An actress, musician, model, and mom – Cobie is the total package. Back before he left the long in development feature film version of “Wonder Woman”, director Joss Whedon said she would have been his choice for the title role, and after the ass-kicking she did in “The Avengers”, I’m inclined to agree that she would be excellent in the role. With tons of tv and movies to her credit, she’s poised to make the leap to the big screen in a really big way.

5. QUVENZHANE WALLIS

If Quvenzhane decides to stick with acting, and we think she should, she could rival the legendary Shirley Temple as a child star someday. At just 8 years old, Quvenzhane is one of the youngest performers we’ve ever named to the PNR Rising Stars list, and with good reason. Front and center and in nearly every scene of the inspired fantasy allegory (and festival circuit MONSTER) “Beasts Of The Southern Wild”, as Hushpuppy, she will charm the socks off of you. She will elict peals of laughter and genuine tears, and no child star has been this effective or has made this kind of overwhelmingly powerful debut in quite a long time.

6. JACQUELINE EMERSON

Jacqueline is completely unlike her ruthless, conniving “Hunger Games” character Foxface, and that’s a good thing…trust us. Although the film was Jackie’s first major film role, we’re betting that it’s only a launching point for her career. Her YouTube channel shows off her music very well; she’s also a gifted vocalist. And she’s also done voiceover work in the past, providing various voices for the 2004 TV series “Father Of The Pride”. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, she knows what she wants when it comes to a career, and she’s taking the point and making it happen..and it couldn’t happen to a more talented and deserving young lady.

7. BROOKE PALSSON

There is no doubt about the fact that Brooke’s star is on the rise. With her hit Canadian series “Less Than Kind” in the books for good, she’s branching out. As a dead girl come back to life in director Guy Maddin’s latest cult film “Keyhole”, she completely steals every scene she’s in, and Maddin’s usual habit of filming in black and white really highlights Brooke’s classic film beauty as well. Now doing both film and TV projects, we think she’s a sure bet for a booming career in the not too distant future.

8.MAGGIE ELIZABETH JONES

Maggie is the youngest performer to ever grace the PNR Rising Stars list and she gets that honor by totally walking off with her role as the adorable Rosie Mee in last Christmas’ “We Bought A Zoo”, starring opposite Matt Damon and fellow 2012 Rising Star honoree Colin Ford. In fact, she was the BEST part of that film. Already a veteran of a ton of commercials and episodic appearances, the adorably cute 7 year old makes her series debut in the fall of 2012 on the new Fox sitcom “Ben and Kate” and she’s bound to do what she does best – charm the ever lovin’ socks right off ya…

9. BRIT MARLING

What do you say when a young woman has already made her mark in several fields in show business at barely 30? Brit is doing it all, and living a dream. She wrote and starred in the 2011 festival favorite “Another Earth”,  and is doing the same in 2012 with her latest project “The Sound of My Voice”. She has instincts that have made her successful as an actress, as a writer, and as a producer on most of her projects. Let her shout “I’m Queen Of The World”…she’d be right on the money. And let’s face it guys, she’s pretty HOT too…J

10. NINA DOBREV

Nina has hit the big time this past year.  After appearing as Mia Jones in several episodes of the cult hit “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, this Bulgarian-born Canadian import began hitting her stride in the monster hit (no pun intended) “The Vampire Diaries”. And this fall, she takes on the role of Candace, the older sister of Charlie, the main character in the highly anticipated film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s best-selling novel “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower”, starring alongside 2010 Rising Star alumni Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller and 2011 alumni Owen Campbell. Nina’s drop-dead gorgeous looks don’t hurt her either, but don’t let her looks fool you – she’s got major acting skills right at her fingertips….