The next wave of international names to know.
Acting came naturally to Marie Gillain. “It all started when I saw the casting ad for ‘The Lover,’” says the 31-year-old petite brunette, referring to Jean-Jacques Annaud’s steamy 1992 film. Though she didn’t get the part, the experience launched her career. Within months she landed a role opposite Gerard Depardieu in Mon Père ce Héros (My Father the Hero). Then, at 17, she scored the lead role as an irresponsible teenager in Bertrand Tavernier’s L’Appât (The Bait), which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Over the years, she’s never stopped stretching, whether as a sultan’s favorite in Ferzan Ozpetek’s Harem or as actor Fabrice Luchini’s clinging mistress in Bruno Chiche’s Barnie et ses petites contrariétés (Barnie’s Minor Annoyances). Despite her panoply of roles, Gillain said she still feels uncomfortable doing some things on screen. “I have a problem crying in front of the camera,” says Gillain, who now stars in jewelry house Piaget’s ads. In January, she stars as an enigmatic character in Regis Warnier’s adaptation of Fred Vargas’ best-selling book Have Mercy on Us All, a twisted crime story. This spring, she’ll play Nina, a junkie musician in Martin Valente’s film Fragile, and in July, she’ll be transformed into a blonde in Marc Gibaja’s romantic comedy, My life Without Meg Ryan. Later in the year, she’ll play opposite Guillaume Canet in Guillaume Nicloux’s latest film, The Key. Despite the raft of credits, Gillain still has plenty of screen ambitions. “I’d like to play a woman with guts now, a warrior,” she says. —Chantal Goupil
Known for her passionate on-screen interpretations and her fresh-faced beauty, Laura Chiatti, 24, is the young revelation of the Italian art cinema. With a comedy called Ho Voglia di Te (“I Desire You”) due out in March and two dramatic films screening at cinemas nationwide—A Casa Nostra (“At Our House”), in which she plays a cocaine-addicted model, and L’Amico di Famiglia (“Family Friend”), presented at the Cannes Film Festival—Chiatti has been dubbed the Italian Brigitte Bardot. Adding to the cool factor, the pretty blonde is dating Roman actor Silvio Muccino, 27, the younger brother of international film director Gabriele Muccino. —Chiara Hughes
Taís Araújo, 29, is a fast-rising Brazilian film actress. She’s been in two hit Brazilian indie films recently: The Greatest Love in the World (2006), in which she stars as a Rio slum girl who falls in love with a wealthy man, and Daughters of the Wind (2004), playing a farm girl who becomes an actress. But she still says her favorite role was her turn as cabaret singer Elsa Soares, the lover of a former Brazilian soccer star, in the indie film Garrincha (1999). —Mike Kepp
Could Trans-Tasman “It” girl Pebbles Hooper be Down Under’s most fashion-literate teenager? Noted for her accessories obsession—her collection already boasts Chloé, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Marc Jacobs handbags, 39 pairs of sunglasses and 50 pairs of shoes—the 17-year-old daughter of Auckland, New Zealand, designers Denise L’Estrange Corbet and Francis Hooper has been designing T-shirt graphics and jewelry for their World fashion label for two years and is emerging as a media star in her own right. In addition to making regular television appearances, she co-pens a weekly column in The New Zealand Herald and is the fashion director/stylist of The Ponsonby News. —Patty Huntington