Our film industry?s continued success rests on its ability to find, attract and nurture new talent. The latest crop of actors includes scions of acting dynasties and discoveries from theatre, television and pop. We salute them
Every schoolboy?s dream? The son of actor Richard Pettyfer, Alex hits the bigtime young in Stormbreaker, the adaptation of Anthony Horowitz?s best-selling novels, playing the teenage spy, Alex Rider. (Horowitz reportedly pushed for him to get the part after seeing him play the title role in Tom Brown?s Schooldays.) Pettyfer, 15, also gets to ride a horse bareback around Hyde Park and act alongside a stellar cast, including Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy and Stephen Fry.
Cinema-goers who saw Stephen Fry?s adaptation of Vile Bodies, won?t quickly forget Fenella Woolgar?s hilarious performance as Agatha Runcible, a bright young thing out of control in a racing car. This RADA alumni, with stacks of TV cozzie drama under her belt, also appeared in Stage Beauty. Currently playing Charlotte Bronte on stage, Woolgar, TK, sheds the corsets for Wah-Wah, Richard E Grant?s memoir of his childhood in Swaziland, with Gabriel Byrne and Emily Watson.
As the daughter of Bill Nighy and Diana Quick, good things are expected of Mary Nighy. After appearing in Spooks and Stephen Poliakoff?s The Lost Prince on the telly, this engaging 21-year-old appears with Jacqueline Bisset in The Grooming, out next year, and in the most eagerly awaited movie of the moment, Sofia ?Lost In Translation? Coppola?s Marie-Antoinette, based on Antonia Fraser?s life of the French queen, out in the autumn of 2006. Watch this space.
After stints in theatre, including Elmina?s Kitchen at the National, and television, including Silent Witness, former model Emmanuel Idowu, TK, has been getting his first taste of cinema, so far with relatively small roles, but in some very big movies: Batman Begins and Lars von Trier?s Manderlay, as well as The Secret Life of Words, with Julie Christie.
?Most arresting impression made by a supporting player,? according to Variety, ?comes from Sturridge, as a poised, aware son anyone would be proud of.? The 19-year-old?s screen parents in Being Julia were Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons, but his real life parents are Charles Sturridge and Phoebe Nicholls (of Brideshead fame). Next year Tom, who also played young Georgy in Vanity Fair, appears with Rupert Graves in the BBC?s Waste of Shame and Toni Collette in Like Minds.
LOIS AND JAMIE WINSTONE
Lois Winstone?s career began early, with a walk-on appearance in Gary Oldman?s Nil By Mouth, alongside her father Ray Winstone, also appearing alongside him in Last Orders and this year?s Everything. Lois, 23, is set to come out from under her dad?s wing in an upcoming new Ashley Waters movie, Life?n?Lyrics, a love story set in the hip-hop world. Sister Jamie, 20, who acted alongside Waters in this year?s Bullet Boy, next appears in the disturbing new British teenage drama Kidulthood.
At 26 ?unlikely but true? could be the verdict on Will Young?s career thus far. The bright, articulate Pop Idol winner who left the closet with singular grace and then wowed fans by making a good album is set to surprise us again, with a standout performance alongside Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins in Mrs Henderson Presents, out next month. The boy can really act. Who knew? (Oh, and another album is on the way.)
?In Negga,? a reviewer enthused when the Dublin-born actress appeared at the Royal Court, ?Max Stafford Clark has discovered a glowing young talent: eager, wistful, sexy and vulnerable.? Cinema-goers get to see her qualities in Color Me Kubrick and Neil Jordan?s Breakfast on Pluto, where Negga (TK) appears with other gifted Irish actors who?ve put their show on the road, including Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy (who plays a small-town boy who becomes a transvestite cabaret star in 1960s London).
This Oxford-born actor is familiar to many of us as Danny Hunter from Spooks. But Oyelowu (TK) first made his mark as the first black actor to play an English monarch for the RSC - in a performance of Henry IV which won him an Ian Charleson award. Look out for him in Kenneth Branagh?s As You Like It, and The Last King of Scotland, with James McAvoy and Gillian Anderson, based on Giles Foden?s novel of life in the court of Idi Amin.
This is Lucy Punch?s moment. After paying her dues in television from Midsomer Murders to The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, this brilliant comic actress caught casting directors? attentions with small but very funny performances in Ella Enchanted and vampire blockbuster Being Julia, with Jeremy Irons and Annette Bening, while in Festival, Punch (TK) shone as a fiercely ambitious young comedienne at Edinburgh.