8 modern actors who could become the next big action movie hero

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The ’80s were the era of the buff action hero, and since then, many types of actors have played such roles with great results: from Keanu Reeves (in two different decades) to Charlize Theron , via Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. All of these actors are well over forty, so who could take on these kinds of roles and make them unique and fun for a new generation? We have ideas, which do not include Tom Holland, as we believe among his Spider Man role and Unexplored, he’s already an action star. Here are eight modern actors who could be the next big action movie hero:


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8/8 Angus cloud

Angus cloud
Television distribution Warner Bros.

Angus cloud didn’t do much other than Euphoria, but he had some of the best moments in season two, showing off his range. It can be threatening; he can be a weedy clumsy guy; he can be romantic and he can be the best of friends. All of these qualities could make him the new rom-com action star in films that follow the style of Romanticize the stone Where Six days and seven nights, where he should play the urban guy to the other more jungle-friendly love interest.

7/8 Glenn Powell

Glen Powell in Top Gun: Maverick
Paramount Pictures

With charisma, sarcasm, arrogance, action hero banter and a showy physique, Glen Powell already has in his arsenal all the ingredients that could make him an action hero in the mold of Bruce Willis. His best performances come when he trains with a great stage partner, whether it’s Miles Teller in Top Gun: Maverick or Zoey Deutsch in Implement, so it’s a good idea that in his just-announced next project, he’ll star with Regé-Jean Page in a retelling of the Butch and Sundance story. Page as the stoic charismatic, while Powell talks and talks, sounds like a match made in Hollywood heaven.

6/8 Keke Palmer

alice-keke-palmer
vertical entertainment

Keke Palmer is an actress, singer, host and producer, and she has done it all greatly. Preparing for an action role wouldn’t be a problem for her, as she could use her screen presence as dynamite. Palmer’s performance in Nope showed how many registers she has as an actress: she can play comedy and drama at the same time, be brave, deceptively brave, intelligent, funny, charismatic, authentic and loving; all the ingredients that should make her a great action movie hero to lead her own franchise, whether as a superhero with a cape or just a real normal hero.

5/8 Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan's Hanna movie becomes a TV show
Focus characteristics

Four Oscar nominations before the age of thirty show that Saoirse Ronan is an actor’s actor. In all her roles, she always makes you believe in the character she plays, whether it’s a teenager in Sacramento, a kid in Victorian England or the Queen of Scotland. That’s why seeing her become an action superhero would be so fun. She has done it before, since she was the leader of Hanaand had many amazing action scenes.

Of those scenes, Ronan told MTV: “Of course I had to train and get stronger and things like that, but I’ve always been a pretty athletic person and my dad really did karate when he was younger, and he was an Irish All-Champion, and everything. I always saw him do things like that…so I kind of got the moves and the energy pretty easily. Hopefully a future where she’ll play that kind of character again, perhaps with her favorite director Greta Gerwig, it would be a unique action movie we’d love to see.

4/8 Quincy Isaiah

Buying Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
HBO

Quincy Isaiah is still quite unknown unless you have seen Buying Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty, where he plays Ervin “Magic” Johnson, and shows his charisma and athleticism, two essential characteristics for an action hero of this century. He was an athlete, and as such he could follow John David Washington’s path of an ex-athlete becoming an action hero. He could also be seen in a buddy cop movie, where he is the charismatic and charming character while another actor plays the quieter guy.

On being athletic and playing ‘Magic’ Johnson, Isaiah told GQ: “Honestly, what I think he wanted to see more than anything is that I’m athletic enough to at least do some things and was I going to work hard enough to get it down if I didn’t. And I like to think he saw both. But coming from being a football player , I kind of knew what it was going to be, so I knew how to bust my ass and make it hard for him to be like, ‘Nah.’

3/8 Florence Poug

Florence Poug
Walt Disney Studios movies

Florence Poug can do it all and has done it all, since his Oscar nomination for his role in Little womanto make us cry Midsommar while showing that she can be an athletic presence in both fight with my family and Black Widow. She might already be a superhero with action stunts (and a hero landing), but we want even more for Pugh. What about a movie in the Atomic Blonde style where she is a force to be reckoned with (and also to fight)? We could also see her as a sarcastic new hero of John McClane, because she can’t do no wrong in our book.

Related: Florence Pugh’s 9 Best Performances, Ranked

2/8 Zendaya

celebrity-couples-who-worked-together-on-a-movie
Sony Pictures release

Zendaya has been in the action and franchise world before, but always as lovers. We want her to pack a punch while showing off all the acting prowess we know after her incredible performance in Euphoria. We want a movie where Tom Holland is her love, the man in distress, while she’s in the middle of all the action. You could see her as an adventurous type in the mold of IndianaJones Where grave robberwhere his intelligence is as important as his tenacity, while knowing how to fight the worst villains.

Related: Zendaya’s 5 Best Movie & TV Performances, Ranked

1/8 Anya Taylor Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy talks about Magik and the New Mutants finally coming out [Exclusive]
20th century workshops

Anya Taylor Joy showed variety in her performances, although she was always drawn to darker roles. Many directors have cast her in characters who lived centuries ago, because of her milky skin and big eyes, but we think she could do a good job in a spy movie, a movie where she starts out as an anti-hero, where there’s both intrigue and action, and where Taylor-Joy could use her language skills (she speaks Spanish with an Argentinian accent because she has family there).

Both showing off her acting skills while also learning how to fight off some bad guys seems like a perfect combination for any new franchise; maybe a Bourne-like might be best. We’re not the only ones who think she should be an action star, as she’s already been cast as young Furiosa in the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel for which there are high expectations. Following in the footsteps of Theron, another great and talented Oscar-winning actress who was also an action movie hero, isn’t a bad idea to start with, that’s for sure.

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