Usually, actors we know and love work on blockbusters while at the same time doing indie flicks. These smaller productions can be a great place for future stars to start out, and a clear example can be Jennifer Lawrence, who got her breakthrough playing a poverty-stricken teenager in 2010's Winter's Bone. In this article, you'll find a list of foreign movies and indie flicks that you've never heard of starring some of your favorite actors.
1. Eva Green And Ewan McGregor — Perfect Sense (2011)
This science-fiction drama is directed by David Mackenzie from a script by Kim Fupz Aekeson, starring Eva Green and Ewan McGregor.
Perfect Sense tells the story of a chef (McGregor) and a scientist (Green) who fall in love as an epidemic begins to rob people of their sensory perceptions.
The names of Eva and Ewan might sound familiar for two pointers: Eva played Bond girl Vesper Lynd in 2006's Casino Royale, the very same movie that marked Daniel Craig's first film as the iconic 007. Thanks to Eva's performance, she distances herself from other actresses who've played Bond girls and is listed as being one of the top favorite Bond girls. Ewan played a heroin addict in director Danny Boyle's 1996's Trainspotting, a young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and in the 2001 musical film Moulin Rouge!
The film is refreshing, tells a different story and stars two actors who although have gotten their breakthrough, still are underrated.
2. Noomi Rapace — The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009)
I first heard of this film when I was in high school and when David Fincher was going to bring the English-language version with stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, but before that, I decided to do my own research on the side by reading the trilogy novels and then watching the Swedish films.
Yes, I'm talking about the origin film, the Swedish film. Directed by Niels Arden Oplev and starring Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace, the first film tells the story of journalist Blomqvist who gets called by a wealthy family to investigate into a 40-year-old disappearance of a woman. He recruits the help of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rapace).
Nyqvist has been typecast in Hollywood films to play the villain in films like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and John Wick. Whereas Rapace has starred in films like 2007's Daisy Diamond, 2010's Leena in Beyond, 2011's The Monitor, 2011's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and in the lead role in Ridley Scott's 2012's Prometheus. Both of these Swedish actors catapulted into Hollywood after working together, but continue working back in their native lands and doing indie projects.
The books have been translated and published in over fifty different countries and as of March 2015, 80 million copies have been sold worldwide. This trilogy is gritty, dark, smart, thoroughly written and made me fall in love with Sweden. Read the books, watch the films and maybe the same thing will happen to you.
3. Mads Mikkelsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan - The Salvation (2015)
If I were to tell you that Mads Mikkelsen, Eva Green and Jeffrey Dean Morgan star in a Danish western, would you believe me? Well, I'm not joking around!
Audiences might remember Mikkelsen after playing Bond villain Le Chiffre, the one who bleeds from his eye in 2006's Casino Royale. If not, as the title character in Bryan Fuller's reimagining NBC show Hannibal (which went for three season). Mikkelsen has risen to fame in Hollywood for playing baddies, but he's an actor who can play not only baddies, but also good guys and anything that you want to throw at him. If you're a little curious about him, go on to his IMDB page and find out everything that he's done. For example, The Hunt, a movie that earned him the Palme d'Or (an equivalent of Best Actor) at the Cannes Film Festival. Green (I suggest going on to my first film that I mentioned) and Dean Morgan is known in TV for playing the Winchester brother's father in Supernatural, but he's also been getting the popularity for playing baddies in Hollywood films.
This film is directed by Kristian Levring, who also co-wrote with Anderson Thomas Jensen.
In The Salvation, Mikkelsen lives in American West in the 1970s. He plays Jon, a Dane who comes to America to escape the aftermath of a war in his country, meeting with his young son and reunited with his wife after seven years apart. But when both his wife and son get killed, the themes of revenge begin. Dean Morgan plays Delarue, a gang leader and boss, who after seeing his younger brother's dead body, decides to also go on the path of revenge-- finding his brother's killer. Lastly, Green plays Madelaine, the widow with a slated-up lip who got her tongue cut. Although Green doesn't say an absolute word in the whole film, everything from her presence to her face expressions says it all.
Engaging, beautifully shot, incredibly choreographed action scenes. Fans of these three actors are in a joy.
4. Jack Reynor — What Richard Did (2012)
This 2012 Irish film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Room) and written by Malcolm Campbell. Based on Kevin Power's "Bad Day in Blackrock", a novel inspired by the real-life death of Brian Murphy outside the Burlington Hotel in Dublin, this film won the Best Irish Film of the Year award at 10th Irish Film & Television Awards and was the country's most successful film of that year.
It screened at that year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the BFI London Film Festival and was selected to screen at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York the following year. What Richard Did portrays the fall of a high school rugby star (played by Jack Reynor) whose world unravels after his involvement in an act of careless violence.
Reynor can be now known in the United States after director Michael Bay chose him to star in Transformers: Age of Extinction alongside Mark Wahlberg and Nicole Peltz.
Bay made the announcement on his official website that said the following:
"I just hired a great new actor for Transformers 4 to star against Mark Wahlberg. Jack Reynor, he is an Irish kid that came to America with 30 bucks in his pocket. Pretty ballsy."
5. James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saoirse Ronan — Atonement (2007)
This British romantic war drama is directed by Joe Wright, based on Ian McEwan's 2001 novel of the same name. Starring James McAvoy, Keira Knightley and Saoirse Ronan. Atonement chronicles a crime and its consequences over the course of six decades, beginning in the 1930s.
The film was nominated for six categories Best Pictures, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Ronan) and won for Best Original Score.
Atonement catapulted not only the leading trio's into the public eye, but also opened at the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival and made Wright, who was 35 at the time, the youngest director ever to open the latter event.
Once it was released, the film became a commercial success and earned a worldwide gross of approximately $129 million, made with a $30 million budget. The greatest thing about the film is the performances, cinematography and the score. Still while Knightley went on to star in Pirates of the Caribbean films, McAvoy currently plays a young version of Charles Xavier in the X-Men prequels and is still underrated and Ronan recently was seen in Brooklyn.
One thing to mention is that when I saw it, I was surprised to see Benedict Cumberbatch, who was two years away from getting his success in BBC's Sherlock.
6. Tom Hiddleston — Archipelago (2010)
Another British film. Written and directed by Joanna Hogg, starring Tom Hiddleston, about a family holiday on the island of Tresco, which forms part of the archipelago of the Isles of Scilly.
This indie film was at the time Hiddleston's second leading role before he got his breakthrough in Marvel's Thor, which was the director Kenneth Branagh, who recommended him for the role after both worked in BBC's Wallander. If you're in for an indie with dark humor and a dysfunctional family, this is the one for you.