8 Underrated Actors and Actresses We’d Love to See More Of
by Reannon Muth
There are some underrated actors in Hollywood who never seem to get the credit and screen time they deserve. Here are eight stars that should be on everyone’s radar in 2015.
There are some underrated actors and actresses in Hollywood who deserve more recognition than they currently get. Often it’s the funny, scene-stealing sidekick or the character actor who looks familiar but whose name you can never remember. The following are eight young, Hollywood stars to watch for.
1. Miles Teller
Miles Teller is perhaps best known for playing mischievous, wisecracking charmers in films like That Awkward Moment and 21 and Over, which has lead some to label him “the next Vince Vaughn.” But Teller’s director on Whiplash, Damien Chazelle, cautions audiences against writing the 28-year-old off as being someone who just likes to “party every day” and who has “no larger goals in life.” As Chazelle told RollingStone in 2014, “Miles reminds me a lot of Robert Mitchum or Brando—the sort of older-era actors who are famous for playing antiheroes. I mean, you just can’t help but watch him.”
The world will be watching to see if Teller’s success will continue as he moves on to more mature roles. Teller is set to play the role of real-life boxer Vinny Pzienzastar in the 2016 biopic Bleed for This.
2. Brit Marling
When 32-year-old Brit Marling first moved to Hollywood to become an actor, her good looks earned her multiple offers to play “the cute blonde in horror movies.” Frustrated and yearning for roles with more substance, Brit Marling decided that if she wasn’t going to be offered a great role in a film, she’d have to write her own. Three of the films she co-wrote and starred iin—Sound of My Voice (2011), Another Earth (2011) and The East (2013)—earned high marks at Sundance. In Sound of My Voice, Marling played a menacing cult leader, which is about as far from an airhead murder victim as you can get.
Although Marling remains relatively unknown at the moment, that may soon change, as a series Marling wrote and starred in has recently been picked up by Netflix.
3. Michael Pena
You probably recognize Michael Pena as the hilarious best friend of Paul Rudd’s character in the comic-book film Ant Man. But although you may not realize it, that likely wasn’t the first time you’d seen Pena in a Blockbuster film. In his 20 years in the entertainment industry (yes, that’s 2-0), Pena has appeared in over 30 films and has guest-starred in almost 20 television shows. The fact that most people don’t immediately recognize Michael Pena speaks volumes to his skills as a character actor. He’s such an engrossing talent that it’s easy to forget you’re watching a Hollywood veteran.
4. Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie is just 25, but if you saw her mature performance as Leonardo DiCaprio’s trophy wife in The Wolf of Wallstreet, you’d think she was at least 10 years older. Not because she looks older—her creamy complexion is flawless—but because she carries herself in a way that suggests a maturity and wisdom beyond her years. Like Jennifer Lawrence, Margot Robbie performances have surprising depth. Film.com declared the Australian actress to be “nothing less than a unicorn,” describing her performance in Wolf as “complex” and “indelible.” In a review of her post-apoclyptic drama Z for Zachariah, Hitflix pronounced her “one of the very best actresses in her age range today. ”
It seems movie execs agree, as Robbie was chosen to play Harley Quinn in the upcoming DC Comics movie Suicide Squad.
5. Elizabeth Olsen
Frequently overshadowed by those OTHER Olsens (Mary Kate and Ashley are her older sisters), 26-year-old Elizabeth Olsen is just beginning to earn some much-deserved attention for her role as an escaped cult victim in Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene. But despite snagging several “best actress” awards as well as the role of Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Olsen remains firmly under the radar. She likes it that way, however. Olsen, who once worked as a real estate agent while attending New York University, is determined to keep her personal life out of the press. She’s decidedly anti social media, saying in a May 2015 issue of Fashion: “I don’t [use] social media…I just want people to see the work that I’m proud of.”
6. Chloe Grace Moretz
It may be tempting to write off 18-year-old Chloë Grace Moretz as nothing more than Hollywood’s current “it girl.” Moretz has starred in several commercially successful films, including Kick-Ass and the poorly panned If I Stay. But what sets Moretz apart from other young actresses is her self-awareness; a rare quality that shines through well onscreen. Her performance as a teenage prostitute in The Equalizer (she was only 17!) was brilliant. She also gave a refreshing, understated performance in Laggies, holding her own opposite Keira Knightly. Moretz will soon get to test her comedic chops in the upcoming Neighbors sequel.
7. Michael B. Jordan
Unlike some of the other names on this list, the 28-year-old star of Fantastic Four has been on the world’s radar ever since he starred in the critically acclaimed Fruitville Station in 2013. Time named him one of the top people under 30, and he landed on Entertainment Weekly and GQ’s list of 2013’s “Breakout Stars.” Jordan’s powerful onscreen presence as well as his roles in That Awkward Moment and Friday Night Lights have demonstrated that Jordan has the acting talent to handle both comedic and dramatic material. Despite his recent catapult into blockbuster stardom, Jordan hopes to return to his indie roots, telling Wired: “I just want a balanced career. … I come from a place of independent film and sophisticated television. So I’ll never turn my back on that stuff.”
8. Ben Foster
Ben Foster may not be a name you recognize, but it should be. The 34-year-old has been acting in film and television since the mid-90s, starring along greats like Bruce Willis and Russell Crowe. He’s mostly known for playing violent and deranged villains in movies like Hostage and 3:10 to Yuma, which is probably why he isn’t as well known as he should be (it’s hard to pay attention to the bad guy when the good guy is Christian Bale!). The tides may be changing for Foster, however, as he’ll soon star as Lance Armstrong in the biopic The Program.