The end of the year inevitably is a time for looking back at the best that movies had to offer, but we also can't help but get excited looking over the release schedule for 2014. With all of the highly anticipated movies that we're marking on our calendars, there are actors in them that are worth the price of admission alone.
As we look ahead to 2014, these are the actors and actresses that we think will have big years. They range from up-and-comers to A-listers, but from what we know or have seen of their work next year, we might be considering them to be in a whole new league come this time next year.
As excited as we are to see this pair in the dystopian "Divergent," our hearts are set on their collaboration after that, the tragi-romantic "The Fault in Our Stars," based on John Green's book. The novel won over everyone who read it, and with two promising stars in the lead roles, we're convinced the movie adaptation will do the same.
Who would have thought that the loveable Andy Dwyer from "Parks & Recreation" would make a badass sci-fi action hero? Apparently, Marvel and director James Gunn did, because they made the inspired choice of casting Pratt in the role of Star-Lord for their superhero house's first foray into outer space, "Guardians of the Galaxy." It sounds like the strangest project the hit-maker has ever taken on. That, coupled with the creative casting, is exactly why we're excited.
The "Avengers" star isn't exactly an up-and-comer, but her role in Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" is sure to have people looking at Johansson in a new light. In the film, she plays an alien who drives around Scotland, seducing and capturing men. The film and Johansson's performance won raves on the awards circuit last year and will probably do the same when it hits theaters sometime next year.
"300: Rise of an Empire" has a difficult task ahead of itself. The sequel will attempt to capitalize on the success of Zack Snyder's original trip to ancient Greece from 2006 and do so without its leading man, Gerard Butler. Stapleton is more than up to the task, having proven himself in films like "Animal Kingdom," and if the movie hits, expect more to come.
For the past decade, Mackie has been quietly stealing scenes in movies like "The Hurt Locker" and "Pain & Gain," but now he has been rightfully given the opportunity to do so on a big-budget scale in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." Mackie plays Falcon, one of Cap's few allies as his own organization, the mysterious S.H.I.E.L.D. turns against him. Also, he has wings and machine guns, so at the very least, that will be unstoppably awesome.
Similar to Mackie, Rebecca Hall has consistently turned in stellar performances, while staying just off the A-list. She made a strong impression as Maya Hansen in this year's "Iron Man 3," however, and she's poised to show off her charm again next year in "Transcendence," the directorial debut from Christopher Nolan's go-to director of photography Wally Pfister. In the movie, Hall plays the wife of Johnny Depp's character, who takes his experiments with artificial intelligence a little too far.
Before they play the brother and sister team of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in the highly anticipated "Avengers: Age of Ultron," Taylor-Johnson and Olsen will share a different kind of familial bond as a husband and wife in "Godzilla." The Gareth Edwards-directed reboot debuted a striking trailer, and the résumés of both actors promise more great performances, even in big-budget monster movie.
After an exhaustive search, Michael Bay named these two relative unknowns as the young stars of "Transformers: Age of Extinction." They'll star alongside Mark Wahlberg, who takes over the human hero mantle from Shia LaBeouf, in a movie that is sure to be seen by pretty much everyone on the planet. How's that for a big break?
A sequel to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" will always be mostly about Caesar, the CGI chimp we learned to love, but "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" has mounted an impressive human cast to stand up to the super-intelligent simians. Clarke made a big impression as Dan, the brutally tough CIA operative in last year's "Zero Dark Thirty." He'll also appear as John Connor in the next "Terminator," which is set for a summer 2015 premiere.
Gillian Flynn's "Gone Girl" became the rare literary sensation that had everyone talking at the same time that they were fiercely protecting the novel's many twists. For the film adaptation, David Fincher has pick the "World's End" actress to bring the mind-bogglingly complex female lead, Amy, to life. We'll just leave it at that; wouldn't want to spoil anything.