A big year for the brooding Flemish actor, 2012 sees Schoenaerts star alongside Academy award winner Marion Cotillard in Jaques Audiard’s keenly anticipated love story Rust and Bone. With an intense, bullish yet sensitive screen presence, it’s easy to see why Schoenaerts has already drawn favourable comparisons with Ryan Gosling. Not afraid to ‘go method’ he gained 27 kilos in muscle for the exceptional 2011 Oscar nominated Bullhead, a powerhouse of a performance full of dark eyes, brooding violence and menace. Schoenaerts owns Bullhead, truly dominating every scene with a visceral ferocity that makes it impossible to take your eyes off him. Reminiscent of a young Vincent Cassel or even fellow euro-thesp Mads Mikkelsen, Schoenaerts possesses a rare almost esoteric on-screen air that simply demands your attention.
Already scheduled to appear in two American-led releases The Loft and Blood Ties in 2013, Schoenaerts has prime crossover potential; rugged good looks mixed with that unique European intensity and weighty vulnerability that Hollywood loves to embrace. Already on New York Times list of five Breakout Actors of the New Season, 2012 could see Schoenaerts follow in the footsteps of his Rust and Bone co-star Cotillard and make the leap to household name.
Her unique beauty and off the beat fashion have made Rinko Kikuchi a favourite amongst the film world and the fashion elite, with even Karl Lagerfield admiting he’s a big fan. An established name in the West and in her native Japan, it was her role in the Oscar nominated drama Babel back in 2006 that shot Kikuchi to fame. She put in an extraordinary performance as a deaf mute high school student, desperately trying to connect with a harsh world that she doesn’t fully understand. In 2010 she starred in the long awaited and much anticipated adaptation of Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. Directed by award winning Vietnamese/French Filmmaker Tran Anh Hung, it’s a gorgeous film to look at and is full of wistful romantic moments. In it Kikuchi plays the shy and depressed Naoko, recovering from her boyfriend’s suicide in a hospital tucked away in the hills around Kyoto. Her hushed, almost inaudible voice coveys all the pain of young, unrequited love.
In 2008 Kikuchi played a supporting role in Rian Johnson’s The Brothers Bloom, a stylish comedy caper that languished in developement hell for ages. Interesting enough she plays another deaf mute: the beautiful and dangerous Bang Bang. Next year Kikuchi’s profile will rise even further when she takes on a role in Guillermo del Toro’s long overdue Pacific Rim. Not much is known of her role yet but expect a stylish sci-fi flick in De Toro’s homage to Japanese monster movies. Also next year Kikuchi will star in the Hollywood adaptation of the old Japanese myth 47 Ronin based on Chushingurua’s tale of Samurai loyalty, with Keanu Reeves taking on lead role duties.
Her talent is undeniable and her range is growing year by year: Rinko Kikuchi is a rare bird of paradise in the movie business.
Exploding onto the international film scene last year, thanks to his extraordinary turn as a teenage psychopath in We Need to Talk About Kevin, Ezra Miller is an unconventional young actor. This is helped by his feral looks: thick black hair and cat like features, dominated by knife edge cheekbones and an avant-garde approach to fashion, he comes across as being deeply interesting and complex. When watching Miller on screen, it’s hard to take your eyes off him. He’s got that magical movie star quality that so few posses.
In Lyne Ramsay’s gut wrenching We Need to Talk About Kevin, Miller stole the show as it were from seasoned performers, Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly. His portrayal was chilling and disturbing in equal measure. Yet he received almost no recognition at the Awards season. Ridiculous. This month Miller is on our screens in the adaptation of best selling teen novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I don’t know the story but apparently Miller plays a flamboyantly gay high school teen. The film looks awful but starring alongside Emma Watson in a big budgeted feature can’t help your career prospects. Far more interesting is the news that he’s been cast alongside Mia Wasikowska in a new adaptation of Madame Bovary, scheduled to play one of Bovary’s lovers. Marvellous.