10 Names About to Break Out This Summer Movie Season

With breakthrough performances in some of the most acclaimed and anticipated movies of the summer, these are the rising stars to watch.

by | May 21, 2018 | Comments

We think we know which stars are going to totally own the summer at the movies — Brolin, Bullock, Pratt and other leads with multiple projects and hotly anticipated comebacks. But what about the emerging stars who will be stealing those big guys’ scenes all through the sweltering season — and drawing the attention of directors and casting agents looking for the next big thing? We’ve seen some of summer’s biggest releases and buzziest indie flicks, and have been doing some homework on the movies yet to screen, and we think we have a solid idea of some of the names you may not know now, but definitely will come fall. From a Queens rapper on a big-screen roll, to a teenager who set Sundance on fire, to an Indonesian martial arts sensation, these are your summer 2018 breakout stars.


(Photo by JA/Everett Collection)

The Queens-born rapper’s hilariously crude song “My Vag” has racked up more than 2 million views on YouTube since its release in 2013, and we think that figure might double come summer’s end. When people see Awkwafina, born Nora Lum, in supporting roles in Ocean’s 8 and then in rom-com Crazy Rich Asians, they’re going to want to know more. If you’re going down the rabbit hole, you’ll also discover she was one of the sorority sisters from hell who helped push Neighbors 2 into Fresh territory on the Tomatometer.

Zazie Beetz

(Photo by © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.)

Those who watch the Certified Fresh, Emmy-winning Atlanta on FX will know Zazie Beetz as Van, former girlfriend to Donald Glover’s Earn. They will also know she has a knack for scene-stealing. She plays the very lucky Domino in this summer’s R-rated hit, Deadpool 2, and proves that she can steal those scenes no matter how big the screen. We’re already lining up for X-Force (date, unfortunately, unknown).

Justice Smith

(Photo by © Netflix)

Critics were lukewarm on Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix series, The Get Down, which told the story of the early days of hip hop — the first season sits at 75% on the Tomatometer. And audiences ultimately didn’t come to the party, leading Netflix to bring down the ax. But one thing everyone agreed on: Justice Smith, in the lead role of Ezekial, was a star. This summer, he will outrun dinos — and volcanoes — as Franklin, in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. He’s also been cast in next year’s Detective Pikachu, alongside Ryan Reynolds.

Isabela Moner

(Photo by Jason Smith / Everett Collection)

It’s back to the border for the second Sicario movie, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, this time sans director Denis Villeneuve and original star Emily Blunt. But it’s what’s been added to the mix that should make fans of the first movie excited. Isabela Moner, who many might recognize from her Nickelodeon series 100 Things to Do Before High School, is said to more than hold her own against returning stars Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro.

John David Washington

John David Washington, right, with Adam Driver, in BlackKklansman. (Photo by © Focus Features)

Ballers’ John David Washington proves the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — in this case, the tree is Denzel. But the junior Washington isn’t riding anyone’s coattails, this summer giving a breakthrough performance in Spike Lee’s BlackKklansman, which took out the Grand Prix at Cannes in May. The movie is sitting on 95% on the Tomatometer so far, and critics are singling out Washington for a bravura performance.

LilRel Howery 

(Photo by Quantrell D.Colbert; Courtesy of Lionsgate)

OK, it might seem ridiculous to say that LilRel is about to break out when he pretty much stole the show in last year’s Get Out as a TSA officer with some serious detective skills, and has a long list of TV credits to his name. But Uncle Drew, a feature-length take on the character played by Kyrie Irving in the popular Pepsi commercials, gives Howery his first big-screen leading role and we’re expecting it won’t be his last. He also has a TV show, Rel, in pre-production at 20th Century Fox, due in the fall.

Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro

(Photo by © A24)

Believe the hype: Hereditary is scary as hell. Ari Aster’s super-personal horror film debuted at Sundance to raves, sits at 100% on the Tomatometer, and has been drawing comparisons to The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby. Toni Collette is remarkable as grieving mom Annie, but pay close attention to Alex Wolff (brother of Nat, and IRL Dwayne Johnson in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Milly Shapiro as her kids — they more than hold their own. Shapiro’s off-kilter Charlie is terrifying – you’ll never hear a cluck the same way — while Wolff, challenged with an incredible arc, delivers a performance for the ages.

Elsie Fisher 

(Photo by Linda Kallerus / © A24 )

Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade was this year’s big Sundance breakout, with critics falling hard for its charms and for the young actor at the center of it — it’s currently at 100% on the Tomatometer with 34 reviews. Elsie Fisher plays Kayla in the film, and her performance as the YouTuber going through her last week of middle school has been hailed as a breakout in line with Abigail Breslin’s in Little Miss Sunshine. Expect superlatives to be thrown her way, along with some awards talk.

Iko Uwais

(Photo by JA/Everett Collection)

The Indonesian star of The Raid and The Raid 2 is already a favorite among the martial arts and action fans who (rightly) revere that series. He has been practicing silat, a form of martial arts native to the Malay peninsula, since he was a kid, and will be showing off his skills in his first big breakout U.S. role, co-starring with Mark Wahlberg and Rhonda Rousey in Mile 22. It’s the first in a string of stateside movies Uwais is set to star in. Fun fact: He doesn’t have a Rotten movie to his name.

Tag Cloud

cooking basketball dexter movie renewed TV shows Watching Series Quiz suspense a nightmare on elm street Dark Horse Comics Writers Guild of America YA cats 90s spider-man HBO Max superhero sitcom Red Carpet Drama President TV renewals debate women 93rd Oscars Lucasfilm BAFTA obituary olympics rt labs critics edition teaser Avengers screenings Nominations monster movies deadpool Warner Bros. Hear Us Out FX on Hulu blockbuster free movies AMC political drama politics nbcuniversal blockbusters TCA child's play Logo cults green book chucky high school Superheroes RT21 Podcast doctor who Peacock rt archives Set visit diversity zero dark thirty Fall TV nature black Spectrum Originals animated Heroines Tokyo Olympics twilight Schedule BBC America marvel comics Lifetime Christmas movies legend all-time Kids & Family reviews archives Trivia Opinion golden globe awards elevated horror game of thrones Paramount Network dragons Creative Arts Emmys CBS 20th Century Fox TCA Awards vampires south america Television Critics Association critics MSNBC DC Comics ratings Music Reality Competition lord of the rings Sundance Now comics Arrowverse thriller National Geographic WGN LGBT MTV DGA natural history Image Comics Musicals 1990s canceled TV shows TNT medical drama cinemax Netflix Christmas movies cars saw Fox Searchlight Academy Awards BET Awards Summer Tubi binge Polls and Games NBC Spike Disney Plus comic book movies Valentine's Day TCA 2017 CBS All Access dark Rom-Com TIFF cancelled mutant romance christmas movies Walt Disney Pictures docudrama Bravo psychological thriller docuseries DC Universe hollywood Paramount Plus scary BET art house football GoT 21st Century Fox MCU marvel cinematic universe james bond scorecard romantic comedy casting Britbox know your critic Black History Month TV movies Ellie Kemper Comic Book ITV Video Games Apple TV+ Reality game show Anna Paquin Toys Elton John Pride Month IMDb TV Netflix comiccon comedies action-comedy Discovery Channel Disney toy story USA crime drama A24 anthology LGBTQ international Instagram Live boxoffice APB rotten dc Pacific Islander finale sports name the review singing competition Disney streaming service AMC Plus rt labs movies Vudu Spring TV Captain marvel book adaptation Universal sequel joker Film BBC SXSW Pop TV telelvision sag awards indiana jones festivals PBS directors biography rom-coms 2020 WarnerMedia Acorn TV 73rd Emmy Awards richard e. Grant comic Mystery royal family comic book movie franchise USA Network best versus series Sundance ghosts witnail werewolf TruTV ABC Signature zombie Box Office spy thriller CMT biopic aapi Super Bowl The CW Comic-Con@Home 2021 hidden camera transformers dramedy Lionsgate popular japan news what to watch GLAAD Extras discovery Holiday serial killer Pixar mob award winner Wes Anderson Mary Poppins Returns australia 2016 Alien History worst Mudbound Ovation gangster kong SundanceTV psycho Pop Apple TV Plus Crackle genre Universal Pictures First Reviews Trophy Talk Rock Mary poppins Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 2019 Character Guide Hulu CNN king kong Nickelodeon Paramount venice dogs Tomatazos Cannes universal monsters CW Seed The Arrangement TV ViacomCBS VOD boxing godzilla Freeform New York Comic Con American Society of Cinematographers Countdown prank Fox News PaleyFest Amazon Prime sequels Comics on TV Teen television Pirates Animation El Rey Amazon Prime Video TCM fresh Tumblr Best and Worst scary movies ESPN hispanic Shondaland revenge independent new york The Walt Disney Company OneApp Legendary robots spain mcc 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Binge Guide Masterpiece japanese adaptation foreign war Calendar Neflix TV One posters Endgame ID 2015 Apple E! SDCC Star Trek DC streaming service composers 2017 See It Skip It Interview Showtime die hard TLC target stoner Grammys indie TCA Winter 2020 Marathons true crime screen actors guild YouTube Exclusive Video FXX FOX VICE Adult Swim Mary Tyler Moore The Purge Turner spanish reboot king arthur new zealand critic resources 2021 2018 toronto Trailer spider-verse Oscars harry potter Awards Tour Cartoon Network Holidays 99% hispanic heritage month spinoff DirecTV First Look jurassic park GIFs video on demand zombies cancelled TV series E3 stop motion BBC One rotten movies we love laika PlayStation Premiere Dates Disney Channel IFC stand-up comedy jamie lee curtis Thanksgiving concert halloween tv documentaries RT History social media X-Men Hallmark supernatural justice league french documentary quibi Sony Pictures crime thriller Sci-Fi razzies Superheroe Baby Yoda Comedy Marvel Starz black comedy spanish language fast and furious Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Amazon Studios Television Academy tv talk Amazon sopranos scene in color Epix Awards VH1 Fantasy anime cops police drama latino pirates of the caribbean A&E mission: impossible Women's History Month adenture 24 frames dreamworks Sundance TV Esquire Marvel Studios blaxploitation Marvel Television Chernobyl slashers Disney+ Disney Plus Shudder crossover San Diego Comic-Con adventure talk show IFC Films trailers 007 Emmys 72 Emmy Awards HBO Go kids ABC Family mockumentary Biopics live event 71st Emmy Awards emmy awards Election asian-american Broadway Columbia Pictures young adult Year in Review Western The Academy cartoon historical drama Certified Fresh new star wars movies superman crime Photos miniseries Cosplay video NBA live action The Walking Dead Rocky heist movie streaming movies remakes space Christmas ABC science fiction HBO Classic Film worst movies hist halloween golden globes Lifetime Film Festival slasher The Witch parents YouTube Red satire Winners Stephen King Country YouTube Premium cancelled TV shows batman strong female leads streaming based on movie Black Mirror feel good Tarantino Nat Geo disaster unscripted Family Sneak Peek Comedy Central Winter TV nfl children's TV Rocketman italian cancelled television breaking bad Infographic Horror Brie Larson Hallmark Christmas movies OWN Mindy Kaling theme song travel wonder woman TV Land book Pet Sematary Song of Ice and Fire period drama dceu Crunchyroll kaiju aliens Musical TBS classics Star Wars canceled criterion festival Syfy vs. Action Emmy Nominations Travel Channel Funimation films technology FX Turner Classic Movies 4/20 comic books Martial Arts facebook Ghostbusters Food Network NYCC 45