Next Gen Talent 2016: Hollywood’s Rising Stars 35 and Under

Twenty millennial stars shot in L.A. and N.Y. — including Ansel Elgort, Suki Waterhouse and Tye Sheridan — reveal what’s Hollywood about their lives (“health insurance from SAG!”), embarrassing auditions for Eminem (“I said, I want hair on my back”) and inspirations from Russell Simmons to Julia Roberts.

Christopher Patey

Every given year, thousands of fresh-faced hopefuls arrive in Hollywood dreaming of a break. For the 23rd annual Next Gen issue, THR swiped right on 20 actors who not only got that break but are breaking out. Among the actors who gathered in Los Angeles and New York for the bi-costal photoshoots: Olivia Cooke, 22, and Tye Sheridan, 19, who will share screentime in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One; Alex Wolff, 19, who will star in Patriots Day with Mark Wahlberg; and Thomas Mann, soon to be seen in Kong: Skull Island with Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson.

The talent roster was handpicked by a group of THR staffers, who spent months sifting through a sea of budding young actors to identify the most promising names, consulting with industry insiders along the way about who’s hot on producers’ casting lists. The result is a mix of indie standouts turned blockbuster stars (Me and Early and the Dying Girl‘s RJ Cyler has Power Rangers up next), television breakthroughs (Atlanta‘s Lakeith Stanfield, The Get Down‘s Justice Smith) and multi-hyphenate artists (rapper and comedian Awkwafina will appear in the female Oceans Eleven spinoff).

With 10 actors at each photoshoot, the gatherings quickly turned into reunions for some (Independence Day: Resurgence co-stars Jessie Usher and Maika Monroe embraced when they first arrived at Highland Park Bowl in L.A.) and a dance party for others (the N.Y. actors got down to the ’90s hip-hop music that blasted through the speakers at The Jane Hotel). When photographer Eric Ryan Anderson brought disposable cameras to the East Coast shoot, the actors snapped away — but at first awkwardly, as some of them hadn’t ever used a camera that wasn’t digital before. Thankfully, former model Suki Waterhouse, 24, with four films on the way, was able to show them the ropes.

Interviews by Rebecca Ford, Mia Galuppo, Brian Porreca and Bryn Elise Sandberg.

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