19 Teen Actors Who Are Gonna Be Huge In 2016
One of the best things about being at the Sundance Film Festival last month was getting an early glimpse at some of the movies that are bound to stir up conversation later on in the year. From The Birth of a Nation, which was the subject of the biggest sale in Sundance history, to Manchester by the Sea, which didn't leave a single dry eye in the audience, many of the films I saw at Sundance are bound to become huge upon their releases. Even better than that, though? Getting to see so many great actors either take on breakout roles or get much-deserved recognition, especially considered how many incredible teenage actors were featured in this year's festival's films. From Amandla Stenberg to Maude Apatow, the 2016 Sundance program was filled with impressive young stars who are bound to go on to have huge, breakthrough years.
It's not just limited to those who had movies premiere this January, though. Looking at the films and TV shows set for release over the next many months, it's clear that 2016 is going to be a huge year for a large number of teenage actors. Some of them, like Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams, are already stars, while others, like Manchester's Lucas Hedges, are just on the rise, but all of the teens on this list can look forward to a career-making 2016.
Amandla Stenberg (17)
Once best known for playing Rue in The Hunger Games, Stenberg has morphed into a talented actor, a passionate activist, and a major star on the rise. Her next film is As You Are, a '90s-set indie that broke hearts at Sundance, but a great acting role isn't the only thing in her future; Stenberg told me at the festival that she wants to "pull a Spike Lee," adding directing herself to her already-impressive resume.
Tom Holland (19)
The talented actor, who first made waves in 2008 as Billy Elliott on Broadway and then again as Naomi Watts' son in 2012's The Impossible, has a huge year coming up, thanks to two words: Spider-Man. He'll get to play the legendary hero in the first new film of the franchise, set for 2017, but will first appear as him briefly in May's Captain America: Civil War.
Joey King (16)
The former child star (she gained fame in the kid flick Ramona and Beezus) has stayed in the spotlight thanks to a number of great roles, and the projects she has lined up this year — Independence Day: Resurgence, Going in Style, the highly anticipated Stargirl — will cement her as a serious talent to watch.
Maude Apatow (17)
Judd's oldest daughter has been a presence in his films and shows for years, but it's a movie without his name on it that should be her true breakout: Other People, a dramedy that premiered to great reviews at Sundance.
Iris Apatow (13)
And then there's Judd's youngest, who's about to have her own great year, thanks to a scene-stealing role as a child star in her father's new Netflix show, LOVE.
Chloe Grace Moretz (18)
Already a well-known star, Moretz will gain even more recognition this year thanks to The 5th Wave, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and Brain on Fire, among other exciting projects.
Jacob Tremblay (9)
He's not quite a teen, but Tremblay being left off a list of promising young actor would be a crime. The pint-sized actor wowed in the Oscar-nominated Room, but he's no one-act wonder, as his upcoming list of projects includes a thriller with Naomi Watts and a drama directed by Colin Trevorrow.
Elle Fanning (17)
Fanning has a busy 2016 ahead, thanks to roles in films ranging from a drama with Annette Bening to a sci-fi film with Nicole Kidman. Like her sister, she shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Jenna Ortega (11)
Like Tremblay, Ortega's a bit too young to be on this list, but her potential 2016 is too good to ignore. There's her continuing work as young Jane on Jane the Virgin, but there's also Stuck in the Middle, a new Disney Channel show with Ortega in the lead role.
Maisie Williams (18)
In addition to starring as Arya on Game of Thrones, Williams is set to appear in The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, a drama, and perhaps even reprise her role as Ashildr on a few episodes of Doctor Who.
Jaden Smith (17)
In addition to (along with his sister, Willow) making waves in the worlds of music and fashion, Smith has a few interesting acting projects coming up. The most intriguing? The Get Down, a Netflix musical drama that also stars Justice Smith and Shameik Moore — two great actors juuust too old to make the cut for this list.
Sasha Pieterse (19)
As long as Pretty Little Liars is on the air, Pieterse's performance as Ali will keep being a total must-see.
Lucas Hedges (19)
Previously seen on the short-lived series The Slap, Hedges won rave reviews for his performance in the Sundance tearjerker Manchester By the Sea.
Auli'i Cravalho (14)
She's an unknown now, but after she becomes the newest Disney princess in Moana, you won't be able to forget her name.
Abigail Breslin (19)
Breslin comes off a great, Scream Queens-filled 2015 to have another season of the hit show, an upcoming TV drama called Freak Show, and a Dirty Dancing remake in the pipeline.
Alex Wolff (18)
Nat's little brother is about to have a breakthrough year of his own, thanks to upcoming films that include Dude and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.
Kodi Smit-McPhee (19)
A huge role in X-Men: Apocalypse (he plays Nightcrawler) should help this talented actor become a fully-fledged star.
Hudson Yang (13)
The Fresh Off the Boat star will find even more success as the hit show finishes up its second season and likely finds a third.
Asa Butterfield (18)
The prodigiously talented actor has a big year ahead, with the sci-fi romance The Space Between Us coming out this summer as well as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, set for December.
Watch out: these 19 stars are going to take over the pop culture landscape in 2016.