Variety Magazine released it’s eighteenth annual ’10 Actors to Watch’ list and there are several promises faces that made the cut, all with major projects coming later this year.
Among the names tabbed this year was three-time Black Reel Award winning composer, John Legend, Aja Naomi King and Mahershala Ali.
Legend’s company, Get Lifted, has produced both WGN America’s Underground and the upcoming Obamas first-date story, Southside With You. Get Lifted is also reportedly developing a new historical drama, Black Wall Street for WGN America. The talented writer/producer has won three Black Reel Awards for Outstanding Original Song in the past several years for ‘Shine’ (Waiting For Superman), ‘Who Did That To You?’ (Django Unchained) and ‘Glory’ (Selma).
King currently stars on the ABC legal drama series, How to Get Away with Murder, but soon will appear as the wife of Nat Turner in the critically acclaimed biographical film, The Birth of a Nation. Her performance as a young slave, Cherry, has received plenty of buzz with the 31-year old Los Angeles-native getting some early awards attention for her harrowing breakout star turn.
From his first major role in the 2008 David Fincher-directed romantic fantasy drama, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to his work in House of Cards, Ali has consistently delivered quality performances in quality projects. For further evidence, Ali has appeared in Predators (2010), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), Free State of Jones (2016), as well as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014) and its sequel, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015).
Next month, Ali will co-star in the highly-anticipated Netflix superhero drama, Marvel’s Luke Cage as drug kingpin, Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes.
This year’s honorees will be feted in the October 4th issue of Variety, in conjunction with coverage of the Hamptons International Film Festival, which runs October 6-10, 2016. This marks the fifth year Variety has collaborated with the festival to present Actors to Watch