News

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.


Awkwafina 

(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

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