Calling all casting agents: These five newcomers are armed with charisma, political awareness, and loads of cool-girl charm.
The Texas actress joins Stranger Things’ David Harbour in Hellboy, the January reboot of Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 superhero film. “She’s a badass chick, this ragged little London girl on the streets talking to dead people,” she says of her character, Alice. For Lane, 23, Hellboy follows a slate of indie flicks exploring youth culture: American Honey, Hearts Beat Loud, and the gay-conversion-therapy drama The Miseducation of Cameron Post. “Old-ass males are writing scripts,” says Lane, seen here with her brother, Sergio Darcy. “But kids these days are at parties, hitting the joint, going ‘Yo, bro. How do we fix the world?’”
“Every film is the director’s view of the world,” says the 28-year-old actress, who plays Colorado student activist Patrice Dumas in BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee’s August sizzler. “That’s why we need more female directors and directors of color.” To prepare for the ’70s period piece, the former model—who cut short a Grecian island vacation to meet with Lee—interviewed civil rights activists and studied Angela Davis’s 1974 autobiography. “We think of the Black Panthers as violent, militant, and anti-white, but that’s not true,” Harrier says. “It was more of a class thing than a race thing.”
Three months after moving to Los Angeles, Layne landed her debut role in this month’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins directs the film, which follows Tish Rivers, a pregnant 19-year-old whose fiancé is wrongfully imprisoned. “She’s very soft inside, somebody you just want to take care of,” explains the Cincinnati native, 26, who cut her teeth in the Chicago theater scene. “I keep my emotions hidden, but Tish’s are more present. She has such a gentle tenderness to her.”
The Big Little Lies breakout joins Lucas Hedges and Julia Roberts in December’s Ben Is Back, a family drama about the ripple effects of substance abuse. “It’s a beautiful mother-son story,” says Newton, 21, who plays Hedges’s perfectionist younger sister. She’s just wrapped the second season of Big Little Lies with Monterey newcomer Meryl Streep. (“Meryl walked in, and I was like, ‘What do I do?’ Reese [Witherspoon] said, ‘Well, Kathryn, you always say hi first.’ We walked right over together.”) Next up, Newton fronts a slew of projects, including the live-action Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (she stans for Psyduck), in which she plays a budding investigative journalist.
The New York actress and Columbia student might be in Utah filming the second season of Yellowstone, Paramount’s critically acclaimed Western, but back on campus, she’s laser-focused on human rights and indigenous populations. “[Professor] Audra Simpson has this book called Mohawk Interruptus. You should totally read it,” says Asbille, 27, who has Cherokee and Chinese ancestry. The One Tree Hill alum has fond memories of eating her grandma’s fry bread. “You’ve gotta try it,” she gushes about the Native American dish. “If you go to any powwow, they’ll have it."