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15 Amazing Actors Yet to Realize Their True Potential

August 9, 2017
11 min read

It’s not an easy thing for an actor to fully realize his true potential. Oftentimes it’s the directors who make them realize their worth and potential. But what an actor needs is good instincts at picking scripts that would enable him to exercise his skills to the fullest. A highly skilled actor could go unnoticed if he is not at the right place. There are many actors who are yet to full realize their actual potential. Perhaps it’s the directors who never really utilized them or it’s got to do with their lack of vision. Let’s take a look at 15 actors yet to realize their true potential.

15. Jesse Plemons

Best known for playing the deadpan teenage psychopath, Todd Alquist, in Vince Gilligan’s iconic crime drama television series ‘Breaking Bad’, Jesse Plemons is indeed a highly promising actor who is waiting for an explosive film role that would lift him off of obscurity. He was fantastic as Ed Blumquist in the black comedy crime drama series ‘Fargo’. He had a relatively minor role in ‘Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’ but Hollywood is yet to utilize his real potential. His consistently good work in Television should soon lead him to something very special in films as it would be a shame if someone as talented as him would go underutilized in an industry that has consistently produced the finest of filmmakers.

14. Michael Cera

Michael Cera is widely known for playing George Michael Bluth in the highly acclaimed sitcom ‘Arrested Development’. He hasn’t really been on fire in films but he sure is a highly promising actor who needs something really special to work on that would get him out of his comfort zone. Cera was superb in ‘Juno’ playing a teenager who impregnates his girlfriend and was also brilliant in ‘Superbad’ where he formed a memorable comic pair with Jonah Hill. While he is too young to be judged at this point of time in his career, it would be great if he realizes what he’s worth and gets to work on some more exciting projects with more amazing filmmakers in the years to come.

13. Carey Mulligan

Best known for her roles in ‘Shame’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, Carey Mulligan is one of the most exiting actresses we have at present. Her performance in ‘Shame’ was simply unnerving to watch as she fearlessly delves into a role that is unusually dark and disturbing. She was widely acclaimed for her role as Jenny Mellor in ‘An Education’ which was another superb display of her impeccable acting skills. But when you think of what she’s truly capable of pulling off, you can’t help but feel that she’s still far behind from being at her very best. We’d just love to see her essay a more variety of roles that would really help us know of her emotional range as an actor.

12. Idris Elba

Idris Elba is perhaps best known among TV freaks for playing the narcotrafficker Stinger Bell in the highly acclaimed HBO series ‘The Wire’. He has been consistently brilliant in Television and has also appeared in a number of films, notably ‘American Gangster’, ‘Thor’, ‘Prometheus’, ‘Pacific Rim’ but none of them got even close to bringing out the best in him. It’s almost as if Hollywood has no idea what to do with him or where to place him. It’s sad seeing an actor of such talent and class being wasted in massively bloated blockbusters that have nothing to do with character arcs or genuinely well constructed performances.

11. Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy’s case is a bit of a mystery, to be honest. He has been around for quite a long time now and has featured in many acclaimed films, giving fine performances in almost everything he’s been in. But the truth is he still remains a largely underutilized actor who needs more quality roles to prove his mettle. He is widely known for his iconic role as Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight Trilogy. The role did somewhat tell us of the kind of stuff he’s really capable of but then again Nolan’s films haven’t always been the most acting-centric films. He was unbelievable good in ‘Breakfast on Pluto’ where he played a transgender woman. The performance brought him high critical praise and earned a Golden Globe nomination. All we could do now is to wait and see if there’s something more in store for him that would really help him flaunt his raw acting prowess.

10. Mark Ruffalo

Without a doubt, the most popular actor on the list. Mark Ruffalo has starred in some great flicks over the past few years, working with some great filmmakers but nothing really has come his way that could display his true potential as an actor. He has starred in a few massively popular films like ‘The Avengers’, ‘Now You See Me’ but they aren’t the kind of movies that would provide an actor with a role that would prove his true worth. He has been good in ‘Begin Again’, ‘Shutter Island’ and ‘Zodiac’ but his parts were never really all that demanding. Let’s just hope that he begins to realize where he stands at this point of time and looks to work on some exciting projects in the near future.

9. Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell is such a dynamic actor who could slip into any roles with the least amount of effort. He is often typically associated with manic performances, playing wildly eccentric characters. He’s delivered some staggering performances in ‘Moon’, ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’ a and ‘Seven Psychopaths’. He is also well remembered for his portrayal of a manic drug addict in Frank Darabont’s prison drama ‘The Green Mile’. But for some reason he hasn’t really exploded in a way we’d have expected him to. His most recent works weren’t particularly well acclaimed works which include the 3d horror ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Mr. Right’. He just needs a good director who knows what to get from an actor of his class and caliber.

8. Ellen Page

Ellen Page is very young and still has a long way to got but when you take a look at some of her performances, it becomes very clear that she is a special talent. She was stunning in David Slade’s psychological crime thriller ‘Hard Candy’ where she played a 14-year-old vigilante who tortures a male sexual predator. She further displayed her astounding range in ‘Juno’ where she appeared in a completely different avatar. She has such magnetic screen presence and energy that completely pulls you towards her. This is a woman whom we’d expect to rock the industry in the coming years.

7. James McAvoy

James McAvoy is a superb talent and has already given us some really fine performances in ‘Atonement’, ‘The last King of Scotland’ and ‘Split’. His performance in ‘Split’ in particular was fantastic where he portrayed a man with 23 different personalities in his body. His talent is unquestionable but he still could be a lot more ahead of where he is today. With the exception of an unlikely M. Night Shyamalan,no other director seems to have recognized his worth and potential as an actor which is sad because the man has been consistently good in whatever movies he’s been in. It’s time now that we see something truly exceptional from this man.

6. Michael Pitt

Michael Pitt is one hell of an explosive talent. But the man certainly needs more film roles to prove his mettle. He was absolutely terrifying as a sadistic psychopath in Michael Haneke’s ‘Funny Games’ and was beyond brilliant in Gus Van Sant’s ‘Last Days’ where he played a character based on the great Kurt Cobain. Pitt’s laid back style brings a seductively intriguing aura on to the screen that makes his presence so damn exciting. He can be extremely intense and cool and has got the range to slip into the most challenging of roles. Pitt is easily one of the most exciting actors you should look out for.

5. Michael Shannon

Michael Shannon is one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood today. He has starred in numerous indie flicks delivering some amazing performances in lead roles, most notably in ‘Take Shelter’. He has been a frequent collaborator of director Jeff Nichols and has appeared in both supporting and lead roles. Shannon brings an exciting sense of realism that does not make you aware of his presence because he is so much into his character. But Shannon is yet to push himself a bit to give that one great performance that could match his truly great potential. With directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Coen Brothers being at the very peak of their artistic powers, we can only hope to see him delivering some more memorable performances in the coming years.

4. Paul Dano

“Beg for the blood Daniel….” are words that still echo in our minds. Paul Dano completely owned Paul/Eli Sunday and threatened to steal the show in Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic masterwork ‘There Will Be Blood’. And that’s really saying something because all know the man who was at the other end. It was a stunning performance and one that is hard to top. He has essayed some terrifically vulnerable roles in ‘L.I.E’, ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and more recently in ‘Love & Mercy’ as the American musician Brian Wilson. Dano has incredible range and he brings in a kind of mad intensity to the roles he plays. He lacks charisma and isn’t the most flamboyant actor but his remarkable acting chops would certainly lead him all the way to great heights and we could hope to see some more explosive performances from this genius.

3. Paul Giammatti

Paul Giamatti has starred in a lot of good movies and his overall body of work looks really fine but you’d still hesitate before going out to call him a great actor. Sure he is one hell of a talent but he just doesn’t seem to realize his potential and that kind of hampers the greatness because we’re not talking about someone really young. He was really good in Cindrealla Man for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and was also notable for performances in ‘The Illusionist’, ‘Love & Mercy’ and ‘Private Parts’. It would be great to see him essay more complex, challenging roles in the years to come because this is a talent that needs to be recognized.

2. Tom Hardy

The Masked Man of Hollywood has been on a great run since the past few years, starring in some of the biggest films of recent times. He is highly popular for playing the iconic villain, Bane in Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ opposite Christian Bale. He was equally memorable for his portrayal of the antagonist in Alejandro Inarritu’s epic survival drama ‘The Revenant’. But the problem with Hardy is that many of his roles have been bigger than himself. One truly great performance of his came in ‘Locke’ where he was astonishingly brilliant in a more restrained performance that demanded a lot of character internalization. He is an incredible actor and we just hope that very soon he soon realizes that.

1. Edward Norton

I’m quite sure that Edward Norton doesn’t himself realize the true genius that he is. Norton has had some fine performances in the 90s with films like ‘Primal Fear’, ‘Fight Club’ and ‘American History X’ establishing him as one of the most exciting actors at the time. But sadly things never went the same way as Norton would go on to become this “difficult to work with” kind of actor. He still had some amazing turns in the 21st century with films like ‘The Illusionist’, ‘The Painted Veil’ showing his true class as an actor. He has been somewhat of a hit-or-miss recently but his unforgettable turn as Derek Vinyard in ‘American History X’ is one of the greatest acting performances of all time and would remain etched in our memories for a long time. We just hope that he makes a massive comeback soon.

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