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The New Movie Stars: How Young Actors are Redefining Stardom

April 03, 2013

Movie stars are an endangered species. So how does a rising generation of Hollywood talent break into the big time if having their name above the title means less than it ever has before?

Studios are making fewer movies and handing out smaller deals to the actors who anchor them. The number of stars who command a big paycheck, boast major acting chops and deliver a massive opening weekend at the box office can be counted on both hands.

Despite the more earthbound nature of today's stardom, there is still a cavalcade of young, up-and-coming actors who are forging fascinating careers and building a following. The approach they are taking differs wildly from the one employed a decade ago, and their interpretation of stardom is more malleable.

"Now more than ever it's really about the role rather than the size of the movie," Todd Lieberman, producer of "Warm Bodies" and "The Muppets," told TheWrap. "Actors are making choices based on interesting material rather than paydays. They would much rather build a career off a supporting role in a phenomenal director's film, rather than a lead role in a movie where they might be getting paid more, but it does not have the same cache."

Today's stars are more entrepreneurial, more digitally savvy and as interested in building long and creatively fulfilling careers as they are in scoring a franchise role. They are as willing to pop up in a Web series as they are to don a superhero's cape — just as long as the work is stimulating. Read More