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July 2008
Faces of Tomorrow: Ones to Watch 2008

Faces of Tomorrow: Ones to Watch 2008
by the writers of blackfilm.com


July 14, 2008

Last year was a breakout for a few people such as Tasha Smith and Rainforest Films
(Will Packer and Rob Hardy) and this year’s list features a number of individuals who could have long futures in this business. Musicians are making more waves into this industry more so than ever, and for some, the timing is just right. Others have gone on to claim their fame in smaller steps. The people listed below are not all new faces--some have gained recognition through other mediums including music, theater and television. However, when it comes to the silver screen, we predict that many will become marquee faves and possibly household names. This year's nominees represent formidable talents whose collective body of work is not only impressive but indicative of their future star potential. Blackfilm.com presents, in no particular ranking, the 2008 faces of tomorrow whom we predict will be on The 'Wood's radar for years to come:

 

  NATE PARKER

-After being overlooked in 2007 with roles in ‘Pride’ (opposite Terrence Howard) and ‘The Great Debaters’ (opposite Denzel Washington), we couldn’t let this year go by without mentioning Nate Parker, who has a supporting role opposite Harold Perrineau in ‘Felon’ and will be featured in ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ with Queen Latifah, Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okenedo, Dakota Fanning, and Alicia Keys. Parker will play the love interest of Keys. Parker also just landed his first lead role in 'Blood Done In My Name'.


  MALCOLM GOODWIN

- Working up the ladder from TV’s Law and Order to a small role in Denzel Washington’s ‘American Gangster’, Malcolm Goodwin has gained some featured role s in 2008 with George Clooney in ‘Leatherheads’, and Hugh Jackman and Ewan McGregor in ‘Deception’. His biggest roles will later come this year with a prominent role opposite Ice Cube, Tasha Smith and Keke Palmer in ‘The Longshots’ and a supporting part in Spike Lee’s war film ‘Miracle at St. Anna’ with Derek Luke and Michael Ealy among the cast.


  CIARA

- Seems like every year there’s a singer that enters the list with Jamia Nash last year and Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson making the 2006 Ones to Watch list. This year features Ciara, who has previously performed on numerous soundtracks but will making her theatrical debut in the long awaited ‘Mama, I Want to Sing!’ opposite Lynn Whitefield and Hill Harper. It’s a lead role and if she carries the film to success, expect more roles to come.


  JUSTIN MARTIN

- When you’re in a film opposite Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, and Sanaa Lathan, like Justin Martin was in ‘A Raisin in the Sun’, attention is hardly paid. When you’re playing the younger character of a lead person which is the case for two of his next three films, ‘The Express’ with Rob Brown, and ‘The Soloist’ with Jamie Foxx, who knows how big the role is; but when you’re in the ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’, regardless of how big or small the role, EVERYONE knows who you are. Look out – Here comes Justin Martin


  DANAI JEKESAI GURIRA

- In her film debut, Danai Jekesai Gurira played opposite Richard Jenkins and Haaz Sleiman in the critically acclaimed indie film ‘The Visitor’. Since then, she’s set to appear with Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear in ‘Ghost Town’ and will appear in Wes Craven’s ‘25/8’ with Denzel Whitaker, Shareeka Epps, and Max Theirot.


  JESSICA LUCAS

- As one of the few standouts from the horror film ‘Cloverfield’, Jessica Lucas will continue acting in the horror genre with Sam Raimi’s ‘Drag Me To Hell’, an original tale of a young woman desperate quest to break an evil curse. Lucas was also a member of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in its 2007 season,


  CRAIG ROBINSON

-- Talk about elevating your game. Robinson has been on TV’s The Office since the beginning but it took four seasons before being bumped up from recurring to star status on the show. This guy is hilarious and if you are not a fan of the show, you may have seen him in last year’s ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’ with John C. Reilly, and if not, wait until you see him in ‘Pineapple Apple’ with Seth Rogen and James Franco. He’s slated to be in Kevin Smith’s ‘Zack and Miri Make a Porno’, which comes out this October.


  WILL.I.AM

- As founding member and frontman of Black Eyed Peas, Will.i.am is also a talented songwriter and musician, his first steps in the film business will be as voice as Moto-Moto in sequel ‘Madagascar: Back 2 Africa’, which hits theaters later this year. His acting abilities will be put to the test when he stars opposite Hugh Jackman in the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a prequel to the X-Men film series next year. Will.i.am will play John Wraith, a.k.a. Kestrel, a character in the Marvel comics fictional universe.


  TRISTAN WILDS

- As an intrical cast member of HBO’s The Wire, Tristan Wilds stood out amongst the four boys brought in during Season 4 and continued his run through the end of the series. Many believed that the series could have kept going just based on his character Michael. Nevertheless, this Fall, Wilds will be seen on both the big and small screen as he will appear opposite Dakota Fanning in ‘The Secret of Bees’, which also includes Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. Wilds is also the only African American cast member in the new TV series 90210.


  JESSE WILLIAMS

- Williams will make his film debut in ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2’ opposite the original cast (America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively). The film is directed by Sanaa Hamri, who last did ‘Something New’ with Sanaa Lathan. Williams also just began filming ‘Brooklyn's Finest’, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke and Ellen Barkin.


  CONNOR CRUISE

- When you are the son of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and your first film is playing the younger version of Will Smith’s character in ‘Seven Pounds’, for Connor Cruise, all the stars are aligned for a good career if that’s what he wants. The film is about a man intent on committing suicide, and then falls in love before going through with it, only to confuse his plans.


  LIL WAYNE

- With a hit album (Tha Carter III) already in stores, Lil Wayne is going for the gold as he now sets in the film world, making his film debut opposite Bow Wow, Forest Whitaker, Isaiah Washington and Taraji P. Henson in the post-Katrina high school basketball film ‘Hurricane Season’. The movie tells the true story of five basketball players in Marrero, Louisiana from different high schools, who end up on the same basketball team one year after Hurricane Katrina. Not only is he contributing a song, ‘Tie My Hands,’ a duet with acclaimed R&B star Robin Thicke, for the soundtrack, but he will be playing a high school hustler who always bets against his own team.



EARLY CONTENDERS FOR 2009

JAMAL WOOLARD, ANTONIQUE SMITH, NATURI NAUGHTON, AND KEVIN PHILLIPS – from ‘Notorious’
- Coming out in early 2009 will be one of most highly anticipated films, ‘Notorious’, which is the story of Christopher ‘The Notorious B.I.G’ Wallace with Jamal Woolard playing Biggie Smalls, Antonique Smith as Faith, Naturi Naughton as Lil’ Kim, and Kevin Phillips

JAMAL WOOLARD ANTONIQUE SMITH NATURI NAUGHTON


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