The Handbook
The Handbook

Thank god for Netflix and Prime over the last three months, because we’ve watched a hell of a lot of TV. The two streaming giants have kept the nation sane during lockdown with a wealth of new productions. And with those have come a whole host of new stars that look set to be the A-listers of tomorrow.

From the brillant Lexi Underwood in the Reese Witherspoon-produced Little Fires Everywhere to Tom Rhys Harries in the binge-worthy White Lines, lockdown has given us a new crop of leading men and women and we’re pleased to say they’re not all cookie cutter LA types.

Oh, and we couldn’t mention TV and lockdown in the same breath without the most talked about show of 2020, Normal People. The stunning coming of age BBC adaptation of Sally Rooney’s much- celebrated novel has made household names of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mascal overnight and they both have future Oscar written all over them.

Here’s our pick of bright young things to keep your eyes on…

 

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Daisy Edgar-Jones

Previous roles have included the ITV comeback Cold Feet and Fox’s War of the Worlds, but nothing could quite prepare us for the meteoric rise to fame Daisy Edgar-Jones found herself in, with what seemed like only a matter of days.

The English actress (yes, the flawless Irish accent is fake), took on Sally Rooney’s Marianne in Normal People as a relatively unknown name, but post-lockdown life is sure to look very different. She’s appeared in numerous Vogue articles, is pretty much snapped on a daily basis by the tabloid’s paps, has been a guest (virtually of course) on the likes of The Graham Norton Show and The Late Late Show with James Corden, and managed to make a nation of women want to cut in their own fringe during lockdown.

Normal People was a ‘moment’ in lockdown. Never before has a love story and so much sex been portrayed so honestly, so raw and from both the female and the male gaze. This is a series that is going to be talked about for years to come and you couldn’t imagine it without the undeniable chemistry and magic of Daisy and Paul.

 

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Paul Mescal

Starring alongside Daisy in Normal People was Paul Mescal, who has been propelled to equal levels of stardom during lockdown and created a new, ‘normal’ leading man – yep, he might have the steely blue eyes and smouldering good looks, but he’s shown depth and sensitivity too.

Other than theatre work in Ireland, the Sally Rooney adaptation was pretty much his first gig. He’s gone from local boy and Trinity College alumni to household name overnight. There’s even an Instagram account celebrating his character Connell’s chain necklace – bizarre but brilliant with 75K followers and counting.

Life after lockdown is going to be very different for Paul, we expect a fair few calls from Hollywood on the horizon.

 

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Shira Haas

Back in March, Netflix launched Unorthodox, a drama that put the microscope on the usually guarded lives of women in the strict Orthodox Jewish community. It also made its protagonist, Shira Haas, an overnight sensation.

The controversial series follows Haas’s character Esty as she escapes her life, husband, family and community in Brooklyn for a secular life in Berlin. It’s shocking, revealing and a chance to see a community that usually has such little representation in TV and film. And while the setting might be extraordinary for most, Haas’s tough but also very naive and vulnerable portrayal of Esty resonated with so many.

Haas is no stranger to the big screen, however. The Israeli actress has appeared in Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, The Zookeeper’s Wife and won an Ophir Award, which is the Israel’s equivalent to the Oscars. It looks like the actual Oscars might not be too far off.

 

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Amit Rahav

Haas’s on screen, estranged husband ‘Yanky’ was played by another up and coming name, Amit Rahav. At just 24 his resume in Israel, where he’s from, is pretty impressive, with titles such as The Damned and Wild Horses under his belt.

In 2016,  he played the first character to come out in a teen television show in Israeli, in the show Flashback, making TV history. He subsequently won a legion of fans from the LGBT+ community and, being gay himself, has supported and spoken out on the subject.

On an international platform however, other than an American series called Dig, Rahav was pretty much an unknown until Unorthodox aired on Netflix. But with his talent, a voice that he’s willing to be heard and seriously good looks (he’s world’s away from the awkward Yanky), Amit has all the makings of a modern star.

 

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Lexi Underwood

Lexi Underwood is a 16-year-old with a bright career ahead of her. She got her first acting job at 10, was on Broadway by 12 and became the star of The Lion King stage production. She also has her own film company, Ultimate Dreamer Productions (beats a paper round), and is now the young star of the Reese Witherspoon-produced, Amazon Prime hit, Little Fires Everywhere.

Lexi plays Pearl Warren, daughter to Mia played by Kerry Washington, with Reese Witherspoon, Joshua Jackson and Rosemarie DeWitt in other roles. Warren totally holds her own despite her years and you can tell this is just the beginning for this bright young thing. 

 

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Tom Rhys Harries

The Netflix 10-part murder series, White Lines that’s set against a sun-drenched backdrop of Ibiza is full of plot holes, ridiculous ideas and storylines that don’t quite make sense. That’s not to say it wasn’t entertaining. It was, but probably not in the way it was intending.

It does however, some decent international acting talent – Angela Griffin, Laurence Fox, Daniel Mays, Nuno Lopes and Pedro Casablanc, to name just a few, and even though it hits slightly off the mark, we became obsessed with it in lockdown.

Welsh star Tom Rhys Harries plays central character Axl and he steels the show. With his impish good looks and bucket loads of charisma he plays out the troubled DJ role perfectly. His star is certainly on the rise with a recent role in Guy Ritchie’s long awaitied film, The Gentlemen. 

 

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Diana Silvers

Twenty-two-year-old Diana Silvers is well on her way to superstardom. With roles in the brilliant coming of age debut, Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde and the haunting Ma, starring Octavia Spencer, Diana has already entered into the Hollywood books.

But it’s the recent release of spoof space series, Space Force, created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, that’s going to send her intergalactic.

 

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Laura Harrier

Hollywood, Netflix’s colourful reimagining of the golden age of cinema, is teaming with a cast of bright young things, but it’s Laura Harrier who steals the show.

Granted, she’s already starred in a Spiderman film but unless you’re into your Marvel you might have missed it.

In Hollywood, Laura plays Camille Washington, a background actress who only gets cast in stereotypical ‘black women’ roles of the time. It follows her journey to getting the leading roles she deserves and, despite being set in a post-war time, is no less relevant than now.