Class Of 2017: 14 Stars You'll Need To Know This Year

Now that awards season is over, we're ready to starting casting our predictions on the rising stars that will make it big in 2017 (we didn't do too badly with last year's list, after all...) Start placing your bets: from major franchise stars to indie darlings, these are the new actors and actresses whose names you'll need to learn this year.

Yara Shahidi

Actress and activist Yara Shahidi's star has been on the rise since she was barely out of elementary school. After starting out with bit parts in US TV shows (including appearances as a younger version of Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope in Scandal), it was her role in hit comedy Black-ish that had everyone sit up and take notice - everyone including Beyoncé, who recently cast Yara in her Ivy Park fashion campaign. The 16-year-old is a powerful, politically engaged voice on social media, has interviewed Michelle Obama for Teen Vogue (the former First Lady is going to write her a college reference) and also practises karate at black belt level in her down time. Remember: you have as many hours in the day as Yara Shahidi.

Read our exclusive interview with Yara Shahidi

Anya Taylor-Joy

The talk of the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 thanks to her uncanny performance as a young girl seduced by the supernatural in The Witch, Anya Taylor-Joy followed up her first success with a string of intriguing roles, from a violent hybrid-human in Morgan to an abductee in M. Night Shyamalan's comeback thriller, Split. Her eclectic CV earned her a BAFTA Rising Star nomination for 2017. Later this year, she'll appear in eerie family drama Marrowbone alongside fellow up-and-comers George MacKay, Mia Goth and Charlie Heath, and in Thoroughbred opposite the late Anton Yelchin (in one of his final roles).

Read our interview with Anya Taylor-Joy

Trevante Rhodes

You'll recognise Trevante Rhodes as the oldest of the three Chirons (he shared the character with Alex Hibbert and Ashton Saunders) in Moonlight, one of the most talked-about Best Picture Oscar winners of recent years. Before this breakout role, the 27-year-old former track and field star's CV was mainly confined to smaller parts (he appeared in Westworld and will crop up briefly in Terence Malick's new film Song to Song). Basking in the post-Moonlight glow, he has recently been confirmed for The Predator, the sequel to the classic 1987 sci-fi film and landed a Calvin Klein campaign with his co-stars.

Angourie Rice

She's aged just 16 (yep, another teen who has already super-charged their career), but Australian actress Angourie Rice had already notched up parts in indie shorts and Aussie TV before playing Ryan Gosling's daughter in The Nice Guys. Next up is a role in Sofia Coppola's dreamy Civil War-set drama The Beguiled, part of a stellar ensemble cast that also features Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning and Colin Farrell, and a foray into the Marvel universe with Spider-Man: Homecoming (she plays Peter Parker's classmate Betty Brant).

Alden Ehrenreich

Admit it: you weren't exactly convinced about the prospect of a Han Solo spin-off movie (after all, who could possibly compare to Harrison Ford?) until Alden Ehrenreich - who you'll recognise from his scene-stealing turn in the Coen brothers' Hail! Caesar - was confirmed as the lead (seeing off competition from just about every other young male star in Hollywood in the process). It's this as-yet-untitled origins film that will doubtless propel him to inter-galactic levels of fame, but this year he'll also be seen in Rules Don't Apply alongside Lily Collins and Warren Beatty, and The Yellow Birds, an Iraq war drama that also stars Jennifer Aniston.

Lucy Boynton

Cast your mind back to Christmas 2007, when Emma Watson appeared in her first non-Potter project, a cosy BBC adaptation of Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes. Acting alongside as her younger sister was a then 13-year-old Lucy Boynton, who'd also recently appeared as a young Beatrix Potter in Renée Zellweger's Miss Potter. Now 22, Lucy has followed up her early successes with a clutch of TV roles and, most notably, her role as Ralphina in last year's charming 80s-set musical Sing Street (it's on Netflix - watch it). 2017 will see her star in J. D. Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye, with Nicholas Hoult and Zoey Deutch, and in Netflix's forthcoming drama Gypsy, alongside Naomi Watts. She'll also join the stellar cast of the latest screen adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express as Countess Andrenyi.

Sadie Sink

Meet the teen most likely to become 2017's answer to Millie Bobby Brown. 14-year-old Sadie - a former Broadway Annie who also starred in The Audience alongside Dame Helen Mirren - will give Barb a run for her money as Hawkins' favourite red-head when she appears in the hotly anticipated second season of Stranger Things later this year, She'll play Max, a 'tough, suspicious tomboy,' and will also crop up in The Glass Castle, the adaptation of journalist Jeannette Walls' memoir of a dysfunctional childhood co-starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.

Joe Alwyn

The title role in Billy Lynn's Half-Time Walk (directed by Ang Lee and co-starring the likes of Kristen Stewart) wasn't just the first time 26-year-old Joe Alwyn had top billing on a film's credits: it was the first time he'd been in a film, full stop. While in his final term at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he received the career-making call from Lee (the man behind the camera on Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi), who cast him as the returning Iraq war hero in his latest project. This year, you'll catch him on screen in the adaptation of Julian Barnes' Booker-shortlisted novel The Sense Of An Ending. Alwyn will also start work on The Favourite, a period drama set in the court of Queen Anne, where he'll play the husband of Emma Stone's determined social climber, Abigail.

Amandla Stenberg

18-year-old Amandla Stenberg is at the forefront of a new generation of socially engaged teen stars prepared to use their platform (in her case, a breakout role as Rue in the Hunger Games franchise) to engage with pressing political issues: her video 'Don't Cash Crop My Cornrows,' created for her history class, schooled viewers on the widespread problem of cultural appropriation, and has had millions of hits on YouTube to date. Last year saw her release her first short film and star in Beyoncé's visual album, Lemonade; next up are lead roles in YA adaptation Everything, Everything, playing a teen whose auto-immune disease has isolated her from her peers, and in Where Hands Touch, a World War II-set inter-racial love story co-starring George MacKay, directed by A United Kingdom's Amma Asante.

Read our interview with Amandla Stenberg

Issa Rae

32-year-old writer, director and actress Issa Rae is a creative powerhouse. After the success of her YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl (which she started making as a response to the portrayals of African-American women she was seeing on screen), Issa started work on a TV pilot that would eventually become Insecure, the hit HBO show which debuted to critical acclaim last November. 2017 has already seen her confirm a second season, set to air later this year, and earn her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.

Read our interview with Issa Rae

Katherine Langford

Fresh out of Australia's prestigious WAAPA stage school, Katherine Langford landed the lead role in 13 Reasons Why, Netflix's adaptation of the best-selling young adult novel by Jay Asher. 13 Reasons Why is hardly your standard teen drama fodder: it's directed by Spotlight's Tom McCarthy, exec produced by Selena Gomez and deals intelligently with mental health and slut-shaming, suicide and social media. Katherine plays Hannah, a high school student who commits suicide - and sends her classmates 13 audio tapes explaining 'why.' It's a complicated, thought-provoking part that will probably prove to be a career-maker.

Sasha Lane

A spring break trip to Florida proved to be a game-changer for Sasha Lane, who was spotted partying on the beach by British auteur Andrea Arnold. Conveniently, Arnold was on the hunt for a female lead for her next project, American Honey, and the then-psychology major had some indescribable quality that just seemed to fit the bill. Since the film (which also starred comparative acting veterans Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough) made its debut at Cannes Film Festival, Sasha has signed up for roles in a young adult thriller, Hunting Lila, a dramedy about an obsessive Smiths fan named Shoplifters Of The World and The Miseducation of Cameron Post opposite Chloe Grace Moretz (in which, somewhat confusingly, her character is named after Hollywood legend Jane Fonda...)

Read our interview with Sasha Lane

Darby Camp

Sky Atlantic's flawlessy executed, utterly addictive murder mystery drama Big Little Lies boasts Oscar-winners Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman as its headline acts, but by our reckoning it's the pint-sized cast of talented kids that really steal the show. Our favourite is nine-year-old Darby Camp as Chloe, the devastatingly sassy daughter of Reese's character who has a faultless way with a one-liner. She's previously appeared on HBO's The Leftovers as Justin Theroux's daughter, so she's used to mingling with the A-list. The Emmy campaign starts here...

Here's more on why we love Darby Camp in Big Little Lies

Britt Robertson

A lead part in a buzzed-about Netflix Original can be a star-making career move (see the entire cast of Orange Is The New Black for a case study) so expect to see a lot of Britt Robertson in the very near future. The 26-year-old will play Nastygal founder Sophia Amoruso in the streaming site's forthcoming series Girlboss, a comedy drama based on Amoruso's memoir. Think of it as a funnier, cooler Devil Wears Prada for millenials, with retro style inspiration thrown in for good measure. While her Netflix gig is certainly her highest profile role to date, she's actually had a steady stream of roles for the past ten years, appearing in US shows like CSI, Law and Order and The Secret Circle.

Annabelle Wallis

Oxford-born actress Annabelle Wallis is perhaps best known for starring in period dramas: as Jane Seymour in The Tudors (2009-2010) and alongside Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders (2013-2016) - the gangster drama set in 1920s Birmingham. Her other acting credits include the horror film Annabelle, Sacha Baron Cohen's Grimbsy and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (due to be released May 2017). Her most recent endeavour is starring alongside Tom Cruise in the horror-adventure reboot of The Mummy, set for release in June 2017.

READ MORE: The Films You Can't Miss In 2017

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