HOW TOTAL FILM CHOSE…
You wouldn’t believe the blood, sweat and swearing that went into compiling this list. The rule was simple, really: the Total Film team had to believe each person would make a dynamic difference to the movies you – the reader – will be watching in 2008 and beyond. So, we chose innovators over icons (sorry, Clint) and fresh talent over old favourites. The result is a cutting-edge compilation of the most exciting and innovative filmmakers, stars and – yes – even suits, working today. Hell, there’s even an agent in here. Read on to find out why… and discuss the list with each other and Total Film staff on our forum.
100 EWAN MCGREGOR - ACTOR
Following the critical/commercial double bomb of The Island and Stay, McGregor appeared content with TV motorbike travelogues, but 2008 will see him recapture his vitality opposite Daniel Craig in satire I, Lucifer.
What’s next? Sex tourism in The List and suicide bombing in Incendiary. Happy 2008!
99 ROSARIO DAWSON - ACTRESS/PRODUCER
Plucked from NY streets for Larry Clark’s kids, Dawson has built a career out of the same spontaneity showcased in her breakthrough. Has a knack for teaming with cool Hollywood shot-callers – Spike Lee, Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith.
What’s next? Disturbia director DJ Caruso’s political thriller Eagle Eye, and – gods be kind – Sin City II.
98 KEANU REEVES - ACTOR
Reeves is on here for The Lakehouse... OK, so the Bullock co-starrer was cloying, but A Scanner Darkly showed his ambition can be rewarded and he’s returning to sci-fi with The Day The Earth Stood Still, a remake tapping his Matrix-era innocence
What’s next? A grief-stricken LAPD cop in James Ellroy adaptation The Night Watchman.
97 PAUL HAGGIS - WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
The creator of TV’s, umm, Walker, Texas Ranger, Haggis upped his game scripting back-to-back Oscar-winners (Million Dollar Baby, Crash), before retooling Casino Royale.
What’s next? In The Valley Of Elah is a troubling adult mystery, he’s solo-scripting Bond 22 and dark comedy Honeymoon With Harry has been announced.
96 BEN STILLER - ACTOR/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
Night At The Museum spanked Bourne’s box office – but no cash can compensate TF for the fact it wasn’t very good (although $574m would be nice). The Heartbreak Kid is also far from the Stiller silliness of Dodgeball, but...
What’s next? Helming Tropic Thunder – “Apocalypse Now, with laughs” – will see a return to form.
95 ABBIE CORNISH - ACTRESS
The bright-burning Australian starlet’s brief career has already thrown up collaborations with her country’s finest (Heath Ledger, Hugo Weaving, Geoffrey Rush) in a series of thoughtful films dealing with seduction and obsession (Somersault, Everything Goes, Candy). With the unusual ability to convince as both sexpot and smart girl, Cornish even emerged credibly from the tepidly received Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
What’s next? A spot in Stop-Loss – director Kimberley Peirce’s follow up to Boys Don’t Cry – with Ryan Phillippe, who also makes a second appearance as her co-star in Viking epic Last Battle Dreamer. Plus there’s Jane Campion’s period romance Bright Star.
94 ROGER DEAKINS - CINEMATOGRAPHER
Devon-born lenser Deakins has a remarkable eye, which has framed the astonishing-looking movies of Scorsese (Kundun) and Shyamalan (The Village). Despite five nominations, there’s still no Oscar taking centre-stage on his mantlepiece, but recent gigs The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, In The Valley Of Elah and – his latest with regular collaborators the Coens – No Country For Old Men, should see the winless streak end in ’08.
What’s next? Just shot Leo and Kate’s reunion in 1950s relationship drama Revolutionary Road and now lensing Winslet (again) and Fiennes in war flick The Reader.
93 RIAN JOHNSON - DIRECTOR/WRITER
Few debuts are as assured and original as Brick, Johnson’s 2005 high-school noir, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Sam Spade-styled teen trying to track down his ex-girlfriend’s killer. Course, we still don’t fully understand it, but then the man himself continues to befuddle industry watchers. Many don’t understand his decision to resist big-money assignments in favour of clinging to his own independent vision. But the boyish 34-year-old has our undying respect for sticking to his guns.
What’s next? Europe-shot con caper The Brothers Bloom, with Mark Ruffalo, Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz as an eccentric heiress.
92 JOHN CUSACK - ACTOR/PRODUCER/WRITER
After a mixed reception for 2002’s Hitler-as-artist drama Max, Cusack shuffled through a number of bill-paying gigs (Identity, Runaway Jury, Must Love Dogs). But the rot seems to have stopped thanks to the intriguing, grief-themed one-two of 1408 and the upcoming Grace Is Gone. The former’s a daft take on a Stephen King short story, but Cusack makes it more. The latter (yet to open) has garnered Oscar buzz for his portrayal of an Iraq War widower. The sure thing is back.
What’s next? Scripting, producing and starring in War, Inc – a satire he describes as “a spiritual cousin to Grosse Pointe Blank”.
91 TODD WAGNER/MARK CUBAN - MOGULS
The internet billionaires’ inauspicious film debut was 2004 De Niro schlocker Godsend. But the owners of 2929 Entertainment have taste and ambition – bankrolling Good Night, And Good Luck and signing Soderbergh to a multi-picture deal, changing the industry by distributing his films concurrently in theatres, on cable and on DVD.
What’s next? Giving The Proposition director John Hillcoat the cash to adapt Cormac McCarthy’s bleak sci-fi novel The Road.