Felicity Jones, Jack O’Connell, Andrew Garfield, Ben Whishaw and Emma Watson to name but a few…Britain has spawned some unparalleled talent in the past decade.
The latest actor to be touted as one to watch is Scott Chambers, the mesmerising star of Joe Stephenson’s rural family drama Chicken. Championed by Sir Ian McKellen and Noel Clarke and lauded by Mark Kermode, Chambers’ revelatory portrayal of a mentally-challenged boy has certainly got heads turning. As heart-warming as it is heart-breaking, the film combines excellent performances with a social realism evocative of Ken Loach’s Kes.
To celebrate the release of Chicken on streaming platform Colony on August 12th, we toast some of the best British breakthrough performances that Colony has to offer…
Scott Chambers – Chicken
Mark Kermode and The Times have compared Scott Chambers role in rural indie Chicken to Leonardo DiCaprio’s star-making performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?. His emotionally-charged turn as a boy with learning difficulties navigating family secrets will hopefully kickstart an equally prestigious career.He’s even got Sir Ian McKellen’s seal of approval, after the veteran actor came on board the project as a vocal supporter hosting screenings on its opening night. In his next film, Scott will exchange chickens for fellow actors Celia Imrie and Florence Pugh in horror film Hush.
See Scott’s BIFA-longlisted performance in Chicken here.
Bel Powley – The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Scooping a gong for Best Actress at the Gotham Awards, a BAFTA nom for the Rising Star Award for her performance as precocious teenager Minnie in The Diary of a Teenage Girl, as well as a BIFA Promising Newcomer nomination for A Royal Night Out, Bel Powley is a surefire one to watch. Based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s acclaimed 2002 graphic novel of the same name, the film opens with Minnie announcing to a cassette tape that she has just lost her virginity – to her mum’s boyfriend, Monroe, who is 20 years her senior. What ensues is daring and dazzling in equal measure. You’ll have a hard time pulling your eyes away from Powley.
See Powley’s award-winning performance plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview here.
Agyness Deyn – Electricity
Mancunian model Agyness Deyn plays feisty epileptic Lily in this visually-stunning adaptation of Ray Robinson’s novel Electricity. Deyn’s portrayal of a young woman whose debilitating condition induces frighteningly vivid hallucinations is sensitive, cerebral and deservedly-hyped. “I could really relate to her in a lot of ways…She’s fighting for her own reality…[Lily] encompassed how I felt in my twenties”, says Deyn on the challenges of her first lead role.
Get behind-the-scenes with Agyness in our exclusive Member’s Only interview.
Lauren McQueen – The Violators
At the tender age of 18, Lauren McQueen is the youngest actor on our list, after a searing performance in Helen Walsh’s tale of adolescent desire and alienation The Violators. Reminiscent of Katie Jarvis’ angsty breakout in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, McQueen makes the leap from small TV roles to her big screen debut with beguiling ease. Her performance reconciles both the vulnerabilities and hardened edges of a young woman growing up in urban poverty.
See Lauren’s BIFA-longlisted performance in The Violators, plus a behind-the-scenes interview here.
Mia Goth – The Survivalist
Mia Goth provides a lesson in authenticity in the BIFA-winning and BAFTA-nominated thriller The Survivalist. A film she literally stopped showering for. Director Stephen Fingleton transforms a Northern Irish forest into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, as the rest of civilisation fights it out for what’s left of the world’s resources. With minimal dialogue and a penetrating stare, Goth’s performance tingles with both fragility and stoicism; pulling off a third-act twist with manipulative magnetism.
See her BIFA-nominated performance in The Survivalist plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes featurette here.