Garsh, why on earth have these actors not had the breakaway success of, say, an Alex Pettyfer, Sam Worthington or Kirsten Stewart? Not a single name on the list below lacks anything in the charm, talent or looks department. They’re oozing with it. Then why haven’t they had similar star-making vehicles thrown at their heads? Hollywood’s a fickle place, for sure. And talented, good-looking folks languish in obscurity there every day. It’s also entirely possible that the following people have achieved exactly the level of fame they desire. Not everyone wants to be a franchise star or top a Forbes list. So let’s hope these immensely talented folks are stuck below deserved level of fame out of choice. The alternative is too infuriating.
Gael García Bernal: I honestly don’t know why García Bernal doesn’t have a Gosling-esque “Prince Of Hollywood” career. Are his looks slightly more off-beat? Maybe. But his charisma and his dramatic chops are a lethal combination. He broke onto the scene over a decade ago with Y Tu Mam También and has, since, turned in the kind of incendiary tragi-comic performances (e.g. Motorcycle Diaries, La Mala EducaciÃ³n or Science Of Sleep) that should have long ago earned him his Tinsel Town crown. He’s got an upcoming starring role opposite Robert DeNiro in the boxing flick Hands Of Stone and, stranger yet, will be a futuristic swashbuckler in Zorro Reborn. Who knows, that Masked Mad Max role may be the thing that finally makes him a genuine star.
Sandra Oh: I have two words for anyone who asks me why I still bother with that sh*tshow Grey’s Anatomy. Sandra Oh. That lady has been holding it down on the medical soap opera, consistently and impressively rising above the material. Why Heigl was the one to break out of that show and not Oh is a complete and utter mystery.
Michael B. Jordan It’s hard not to compare this “Friday Night Alum” to his brooding castmate Taylor Kitsch. And you know I love me some Tim Riggins. But Hollywood went too hard and fast with old Rigg who proved, indisputably, that he’s not up to the task. They should have put their money on Michael B. Jordan. And they still might. The kid was phenomenal last year in Chronicle and has been generating buzz with his role in Fruitvale, the true story of shooting victim Oscar Grant. Why he isn’t already a huge star is beyond me, but there’s still plenty of time. Sorry, Rigg.
Rosario Dawson Dawson has been around a long time playing girlfriends and, uh, girlfriends. She’s got great comedic timing (the criminally under-loved The Rundown) and solid dramatic depth (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) but why a woman of her skill and jaw-dropping looks isn’t anchoring her own action franchise is beyond me. Jolie can’t have them all.
Tony Leung Chiu Wai Leung has been likened to too many classic Old Hollywood actors for me to count. Cable and Grant come immediately to mind. His pas de deux with Maggie Cheung in In The Mood For Love is widely recognized as cinematic magic and his brutal, seductive turn in Lust, Caution was both expected (for its quality) and shocking (for its subject matter). English isn’t a problem here, the man speaks it fluently and he’s said, in his perfect, fluent English, that he’d like to work with Scorcese. Go ahead Scorcese, Leo wants a break anyway.
Archie Panjabi: Panjabi has been drowning in acting nominations nearly every year since she started on CBS’s “The Good Wife.” With good reason: she’s sex on legs and a fiercely impressive actress. Though she’s put in some great work on a BBC mini-series or two while the “Good Wife” is on hiatus, she’s only landed one film role: 2010’s The Infidel. As I said before, maybe that’s what she wants. But it’s less than she deserves.
Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey): Whatever he wants to call himself, the man has a serious on-screen presence. As enjoyable as he was in The Italian Job or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, he more than proved himself as a heavyweight in The Woodsman. He’s got an upcoming Elmore Leonard project and that seems like a perfect fit for his wry, smooth delivery. He’s been around so long and I’m not sure why he hasn’t had more opportunity to shine.
Chiwetal Ejiofor: This guy, right here, is the beginning and end of my list. This man can do no wrong. Never has. He even looks good in patent leather heels. As much as I love the cast of “Firefly,” it was Ejiofor’s effortlessly iconic villain that gave Serenity much of its cinematic credibility. He can do Mamet (Redbelt) as effortlessly as he does Woody (Melinda and Melinda) and nobody who has seen Dirty Pretty Things will argue that this Ejiofor isn’t an acting genius. He’s got three film projects coming up and, hey, only plays a slave in two of them! That’s progress.