Watch your back, Lindsay Lohan. These six young, talented, up-and-coming starlets are all perfectly poised to steal a lot of headlines this year. But unlike the hard-partying, rehab-jumping, car-crashing celebrities currently running amok, these actresses are in the news for their skills on the screen, not their paparazzi street cred. Even more inspiring, they’re all under the age of 25. While some of these talented ladies might not be familiar to you, they’re all on the fast track to becoming household names within the year, thanks to breakout performances alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood in some of the most hotly anticipated movies.
Emily Blunt, 24
The Scene Stealer
Last year was a banner one for Brit Emily Blunt, who stole the show in The Devil Wears Prada. Blunt, who made her acting debut in the theater alongside Dame Judi Dench, shone in the role that landed her a Golden Globe nomination as the hassled and hilariously sardonic assistant to Meryl Streep’s demanding editor from hell. But Devil was just a toe dip in the Hollywood pool for Blunt, who has a whopping seven films in the pipe, including the female lead in The Great Buck Howard alongside Tom Hanks and John Malkovich. Blunt may have had a whirlwind 2006, but 2007 looks to have even more in store for this gifted and congenial young star.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 22
The Dramatic Darling
At the tender age of 22, Winstead already has an impressive dramatic résumé, with parts in Bobby and Factory Girl under her belt. Currently she’s showing off her horror background (she starred in Final Destination 3 and a remake of Black Christmas) as one of a number of Grindhouse girls in the feverishly anticipated Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez grisly double feature, Grindhouse. This summer will see Winstead tackling action blockbusters as the daughter of Bruce Willis’ hard-to-kill detective John McClane in the latest installment of the Die Hard franchise, Live Free or Die Hard.
The Teen Queen
As the niece of Julia Roberts, it’s safe to say that Emma Roberts has one big golden ticket into the Hollywood hierarchy. Yet despite her famous relation, she’s nabbed roles and attention in her own right, not relying on her aunt for recognition. At the age of 10, Roberts had her breakout role in the drug-filled drama Blow, alongside Johnny Depp. Fast-forward six years and Roberts is making headlines as the guitar-toting, lovable klutz Addie Singer on Nickelodeon’s hit series Unfabulous, which has earned her an army of tween fans and a record deal with Columbia. That’s just the beginning. Roberts is creating major buzz for her first starring role in the upcoming Nancy Drew movie, based on the classic teen detective books.
Brittany Snow, 21
The Rebound Girl
Fans of the TV show American Dreams will remember Brittany Snow as the sweet-as-pie, American Bandstand-obsessed Meg Pryor in the Sixties-era television show that was critically acclaimed but suffered from poor ratings. When Dreams was canceled in 2005, Snow did a complete about-face, making a guest appearance as a racist neo-Nazi teen on the edgy FX drama Nip/Tuck. Now she’s diving headlong into movies, with roles in teen comedies like last year’s John Tucker Must Die and next year’s horror flick Prom Night. She’s also landing some meatier roles. She’ll play snotty Amber von Tussel in the upcoming movie version of the musical Hairspray with John Travolta and Michelle Pfeiffer and will star alongside Matthew Broderick in next year’s substance abuse drama Finding Amanda.
Hayden Panettiere, 17
The Sci-Fi Sweetheart
If “save the cheerleader, save the world” has any meaning to you, then chances are you’re already familiar with Hayden Panettiere, aka the indestructible cheerleader from the hit NBC sci-fi show Heroes. Before she was purposefully mangling her hands in garbage disposals or throwing herself into fiery buildings, Panettiere was taking on TV with guest roles in shows like Malcolm in the Middle and Ally McBeal. She’s also got a beauty deal with Neutrogena, who saw her potential and signed her on as a brand spokeswoman in 2005. While Heroes is currently her only commitment, she’s been putting in the hours on the red carpet, showing off her natural beauty and burgeoning sense
of style at various events and ceremonies.
The Underage Veteran
Stewart has made a name for herself playing freaked-out teenagers in horror movies. She’s best known for her role as the terrified diabetic teen trapped in 2002’s Panic Room. She held her own in the film with megastar Jodie Foster and soon landed other choice roles, including that of Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone’s daughter in the horror film Cold Creek Manor. But Stewart is out to show she’s more than just a screaming, terrorized, slasher-movie actress. While her first film release of the year, The Messengers, was a scary movie, she’s hitting other genres hard, starting with a starring role as Meg Ryan’s daughter and Adam Brody’s love interest in the upcoming romantic comedy In the Land of Women and a part in the Sean Penn directed wilderness drama Into the Wild, alongside Vince Vaughn. Currently, Stewart is filming the comedy What Just Happened with Robert De Niro and Stanley Tucci.