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Rising stars to watch in 2023

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For actors, among the benefits of being in a hit movie is that good work produces more (hopefully) good work.  A hit, whether at the box-office or with critics or with that elusive “buzz,” means a bigger spotlight and increased awareness. In showbiz, that’s the name game that matters.  For these five, 2022 was more than fine and now allows them a chance to see if dreams really do come true.

Letitia Wright

With Chadwick Boseman’s tragic early death, the “Wakanda” sequel had to be completely reconfigured and Letitia Wright saw her supporting role as the brilliant sister of Boseman’s T’Challa unexpectedly transformed into the franchise’s leading player.  Beyond the next “Wakanda,” Wright soon stars in “Surrounded,” an old-fashioned Western complete with hijacked stagecoach, custody of a dangerous outlaw and murderous bandits.

Jeremy Pope

A rising two-time Tony nominated Broadway star, Pope won major acclaim for “The Inspection” as a gay enlistee in the Marines.  A role he celebrated for allowing him to express his Blackness and his queerness.  He’s now starring on Broadway as Jean-Michel Basquiat in “The Collaboration” opposite Paul Bettany’s Andy Warhol. That production has already been filmed.  What might be next is another real-life saga: “Scandalous!” about the ’50s interracial romance between Sammy Davis, Jr. and Kim Novak, the sensual “Picnic” and “Vertigo” star.

Lashana Lynch

A standout in the feminist African warrior Viola Davis vehicle “The Woman King,” Lynch ended last year with another standout turn in Netflix’s now streaming “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.”  Moving into a star turn, Lynch is slated to play Rita Marley in a musical biopic about her husband, reggae legend Bob Marley.

Miles Teller

Starring as Rooster in last year’s top box-office hit “Top Gun: Maverick” made Teller a natural to be head of the class.  Also helpful, starring in the well-received Paramount+ series “The Offer” about the making of “The Godfather.”  Now Teller’s projects in the works include “The Fence,” a domestic thriller about a neighbor obsessed with safety, and “The Gorge,” a dark romance opposite Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Menu”), which is also the follow-up film for “The Black Phone” director Scott Derrickson.

Austin Butler

As someone who became a star literally overnight by playing Elvis Presley in, of course, “Elvis,” Austin Butler must be most careful about what’s next.  Already completed is his AppleTV+ WWII series “Masters of the Air” opposite Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), another rising star. Also wrapped is his  role in the concluding half of “Dune.”

Austin Butler poses for photographers upon arrival for the premiere of the film 'Elvis' in London Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Austin Butler poses for photographers upon arrival for the premiere of the film ‘Elvis’ in London Tuesday, May 31, 2022. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

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