Who Will Be The ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra’ Breakout Star?

We think you'll be hearing a lot more from Rachel Nichols and Byung-hun Lee.

“Star Trek” launched Chris Pine into Hollywood stardom. “Terminator Salvation” delivered Sam Worthington, a guy you’ll be hearing a lot more of in movies like “Avatar” and “Clash of the Titans.” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” introduced the world to a guy named Freddie Stroma, a blond Brit who has leading man written all over his chiseled cheekbones.

A bunch of big-budget summer movies have given us a breakout star, someone we must keep our eye on, an actor or actress who will use the summer of 2009 as a springboard to even bigger and better things. On Friday, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” hits theaters. Who will we be talking about on Monday? Will “Joe” prove popular enough to boost the profile of someone most people have never heard about before?

MTV News caught an early screening of the film, and now we present our top picks for the actor and actress you’ll be talking about in the days and years to come:

Rachel Nichols
The 29-year-old actress has been around for a while, snagging a season-long arc on “Alias,” a supporting role in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2″ and the lead in the forgettable horror flick “P2.” This summer might be a game-changer for her. She had a small but memorable role in “Trek” as a green-skinned, lingerie-sporting alien trying to hook up with James T. Kirk (Pine).

And in “Joe,” Nichols plays a sultry, red-haired intel specialist named Scarlett, who can also unleash serious havoc with her trusty crossbow. In between trying to defeat the bad guys, she finds time for a little bit of veiled romance with Ripcord (Marlon Wayans). She can do action, she can do the lovey-dovey stuff, and a smart casting director needs to give her a shot at a leading role worthy of her talents.

Byung-hun Lee
This South Korean action star has appeared in numerous films in Asia but hasn’t yet had a chance to show American audiences what he can do. And he can do a lot. Stepping into the role of Storm Shadow, dressed in an all-white ninja outfit, he wields a katana sword with ease and likes to chuck super-sharp throwing stars. Storm’s longstanding feud with Snake Eyes provides one of the more compelling subplots in the film.

Lee’s fellow countryman Rain is getting set to break into the American mainstream this November with “Ninja Assassin,” a revenge story with enough kicks, chops and flying bullets to spawn a few more sequels. Lee himself certainly deserves a prime role in one of these martial-arts action fests.

Check out everything we’ve got on “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”

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