Youth, it is said, has a kingdom waiting for it. Here are thirty young stars whose domain is one of worldwide idolatry, fabulous riches and paparazzi hiding in the shrubbery. They're the promising pups nipping at the heels of Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts. Some are still establishing their cred with memorable indie parts. Others are one step away from becoming institutions in their own right. And then there are those kids that we just love anyway. Read on to find out what Hollywood's newest wave has coming up, and what films you need to see if you want to know what the future looks like.
Yep, the That '70s Show himbo has been trapped in crappy rom-com hell and is the May end of his May-December romance with Demi Moore. Butterfly Effect showed, though, that his mischievous Punk'd streak translates well. Taking the Sidney Poitier part in the upcoming Guess Who might make it all click.
The Beaumont belle became the epitome of the French ingénue with her turn in the worldwide hit Amelie. Both Dirty Pretty Things and A Very Long Engagement demonstrated this Victor Hugo fan with the pixie ears could tap darker emotions. Things can only get more intriguing with next year's The Da Vinci Code.
When it was announced that Routh was going to play Superman, the entire world went "Brandon who?" With just a few appearances in Gilmore Girls and MTV Undressed to his credit, the unknown from Iowa landed one of the most-coveted roles in Hollywood. Just don't mention Christopher Reeve.
In The Village, Howard backed up the Hollywood genes (dad is Ron Howard and her godfather is the Fonz!) with tremendous presence. She needs it, too. The flame-haired NYU grad is taking over from Nicole Kidman in Lars von Trier's harrowing Dogville sequel Manderlay and is due to play Mary, Queen of Scots.
Debut: Book of Love (2003)
Must-see Movie: The Village (2004)
Talk about an auspicious start. First time actress Moreno landed her role in Maria Full of Grace when an anonymous supporter brought her to the attention of casting agents scouting in Colombia. A callback, a gig, and now an Oscar nomination for best actress all in one shot, certainly prove she's one to watch.
Debut: Maria Full of Grace (2004)
Must-see movie: Maria Full of Grace (2004)
Since Spider-Man shot Tobey Maguire skyward, everybody wants to benefit from the Marvel effect. Evans is feeling it. After talking Kim Basinger through the underrated thriller Cellular, the vegetarian actor is playing hothead Human Torch in this summer's surefire Fantastic Four blockbuster.
Debut: Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
Must-see Movie: Cellular (2004)
Can the Woodster make us forget Frodo? He's having a damn good try. The 24-year-old indie rock fan noirs up for Sin City, then tackles another choice literary role -- looking for the woman who saved his granddad from the Holocaust in the adaptation of Jonathan Safron Foer's Everything is Illuminated.
Debut: Back to the Future II (1989)
Must-see Movie: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
He dressed up as his mom in The Mudge Boy, had a butt double for The Girl Next Door and stole Imaginary Heroes from under Sigourney Weaver. What more does this fresh-faced Californian need to get noticed? He might finally get his chance as skateboard deity Jay Adams in Lords of Dogtown.
Debut: Gargantua (1998)
Must-see Movie: The Mudge Boy (2003)
The Mexican actor steamed up screens with his frequently naked breakout appearance in Y Tu Mama Tambien. He kept things at boiling point as Marxist stud Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries. Bad Education confirmed his thinking person's pin-up status -- and that he looks good in a dress, too.
Debut: Amores Perros (2000)
Must-see movie: Y Tu Mama Tambien (2003)
Duff has become a one-girl acting/singing industry playing the ultimate resourceful blonde. That won't change soon. She tries to find her mom a match in The Perfect Man, copes with losing a fortune in Material Girls, and followed it with a flick called Outward Blonde. The teen titan's legion of fans should lap it up.
Debut: Casper Meets Wendy (1998)
Must-see movie: The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003)
Why isn't Jake a huge star yet? Maybe it's the curse of his cult sensation Donnie Darko. Or maybe it's a telling sign of the man -- careerism means less for him than experience. But pay attention this year, when his sizable talent erupts as a gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain and Jarhead's sardonic grunt.
Debut: City Slickers (1991)
Must-see movie: Donnie Darko (2001)
The Freaks and Geeks alumnus settled for second banana status to Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed and Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man. But Al Pacino has already dubbed him one to watch. He's out to deliver on promise in a fistful of new films, the pick of which is Robert Altman's art world satire Paint.
Debut: Whatever It Takes (2000)
Must-see movie: Spider-Man 2 (2004)
When Dark Angel was cancelled, this gorgeous golf fanatic nearly disappeared with it. That's until the surprise hit Honey, where she was sexy without kicking butt. She continues tarting it up in Sin City, then turns the Invisible Girl into a stealth sex bomb in Fantastic Four. Keep your eyes peeled.
Debut: Camp Nowhere (1994)
Must-see movie: Honey (2003)
The tabloid favorite from Texas gave a tremendous performance as a bubbly dunce in MTV's Newlyweds. So why can't she repeat the trick as Daisy in The Dukes of Hazzard? Personally, we can't wait for her and Ashlee to appear in a remake of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
Debut: Master of Disguise (2001)
Must-see movie: The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
She's got chops: Stiles has been in movie versions of Othello, Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew and did Mamet onstage and onscreen. The Columbia University student isn't afraid of playing smart, either. If she ever finds a role that can use her 23-year-old New Yorker's intelligence correctly, then watch out.
Debut: I Love You, I Love You Not (1996)
Must-see movie: 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Splitting sides in the multiculti stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Penn became the answer to the question, "How many Gujarati-Indian movie stars do you know?" After tweaking Ben Affleck in Man About Town, he takes the lead in Mira Nair's immigrant saga The Namesake.
Debut: American Desi (2001)
Must-see movie: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
The blonde champion horse-rider has the poise of a Brahmin -- but she can play a surfer (Blue Crush) as easily as Sandra Dee (Beyond the Sea). Bosworth, 22, tackles a different kind of icon -- Lois Lane -- in Superman Returns, and applies her beatific smile to a Hare Krishna disciple in the forthcoming The Bee Season.
King Arthur may have been a dud, but it proved that Knightley was a natural. Even when the waifish soccer fan is smeared with blue dye, the camera loves her. Ambiguous reserve should serve the teen well in the new Adrien Brody riddler The Jacket and as Elizabeth Bennet in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Debut: A Village Affair (1994)
Must-see movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Jamie Foxx grabbed the prizes for Ray, but there's some serious talent in support. Just check out his leading ladies. The Bronx-born actress who played his devoted wife first attracted note in Save the Last Dance. This summer, she'll flex her action muscles this summer's Mrs. and Mrs. Smith and Fantastic Four.
Since making her name playing the scariest 12-year-old bloodsucker you ever saw in Interview with a Vampire, Dunst has persistently outshone her material. 2005 gives her meatier stuff to chew on: helping Orlando Bloom survive a pre-life crisis in Elizabethtown and letting 'em eat cake as Marie-Antoinette.
Straddling the worlds of Disney star and tabloid train-wreck, Lohan could be our next Shelley Winters. When the 18-year-old's good, though, she's very, very good. But can her deft impersonation of Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday prepare her for acting opposite a cheeky VW in Herbie: Fully Loaded?
There's a sly look behind that cutie-pie face that can make her supporting roles seem fuller than the leads she's backing up. Secretary also revealed that Jake's 27-year-old sister had a taste for sexual danger. Both come into play in Happy Endings, as she bounces between the beds of a father and son.
After a flashy debut as a killer tween in The Professional a decade ago, Portman arrived with a one-two punch in 2004. A pink wig and smutty barbs got her an Oscar nom for Closer, but her eccentric Jersey girl in Garden State might be closer to the Long Islander's heart. Next is the Israeli drama, Free Zone.
The young Englishman has yet to prove there's more to him than elfin good looks -- although Pirates of the Caribbean was a start. This year presents drastically different challenges: cracking up in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown and defending Jerusalem in Ridley Scott's Crusades epic Kingdom of Heaven.
The very model of a modern movie star, this Southern belle has applied girl-next-door looks and comic flair to a successful franchise (as Legally Blonde's ditzy heroine) and smart sleepers (Election), all while maintaining a family and marriage. She'll need it all to tame the spirit of Johnny Cash, playing June Carter in Walk the Line.
Reynolds had already quit acting once when a pal convinced the Canadian to move to Los Angeles. After a series of near-misses, he buffed up and cracked wise as one of Blade: Trinity's hunky vampire slayers. After The Amityville Horror, he'll take a break from spooks in the romantic comedy Just Friends.
Clones, mutants, ravers, druggies ... this Brit with Joan of Arc's innocent look has been them all since turning heads as a mute in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown. Combining eerie presence with solid craft, she keeps things diverse this year, playing both Diane Arbus (Fur) and an Irish townie (Farmers on E).
Debut: The Future Lasts a Long Time (1996)
Must-see movie: In America (2003)
Like a Picasso portrait, Johansson has a face that doesn't seem to hang together -- too full lips, upturned nose, and sleepy eyes. Add a deadpan monotone, and the Lost in Translation star's misfit features create a startling duality. She's a voice of her generation ... and Hollywood's most unlikely sex goddess.
With teen flicks like She's All That and The Faculty as notches in his belt, the R&B heartthrob is headed for Hollywood. In Dying for Dolly, he falls for a mob boss's daughter under his protection. If his acting is as solid as his pecs, he could lockdown the hot, young black man roles as tight as he does the charts.
The action star stunner is a household name in China, and soon will be in the States as well. Zhang, 26, transcended the scenery in the visual marvels House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Next up she'll star in Memoirs of a Geisha, already a buzz flick for Oscars 2006.