Actors to watch in 2023

Halle Bailey, Danielle Deadwyler, Jeremy Pope and more make theGrio's list of top actors to look out for in the coming year.

From Halle Bailey’s highly anticipated star turn as Princess Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” to stars like Ncuti Gatwa and Yasmin Finney breaking boundaries in their respective projects, theGrio has the top actors to watch in the coming year.

Variety's Power Of Young Hollywood Celebration Presented By Facebook Gaming/Meta - Arrivals
Halle Bailey attends Variety’s Power of Young Hollywood Celebration presented by Facebook Gaming/Meta at NeueHouse Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2022, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Halle Bailey

We’re kicking off our list with Princess Ariel herself, Halle Bailey. Years after the actress, singer and songwriter was announced as our next Disney princess in the live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid,” her turn as the iconic redheaded princess is finally hitting screens in spring 2023.

This year, the teaser trailer alone proved the film looks to be a success for Disney, with her interpretation of “Part of Your World” going viral on social media. In popular TikToks, parents filmed young Black girls and boys watching Bailey as Ariel for the first time, seeing the power of authentic representation in real time.

Disney’s “reimagining” of “The Little Mermaid” is set to hit theaters May 26, 2023.

Bailey Bass

Another young actress taking the industry by storm is Bailey Bass, who ended 2022 with two major and well-received projects. Bass’ latest role is in one of the biggest films of the year, “Avatar: The Way of Water.” She stars as Tsireya, a love interest for one of Jake Sully’s sons and member of the Metkayina tribe introduced in the film.

The World Premiere of James Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water"
Bailey Bass attends the world premiere of James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on Dec. 6, 2022 in London. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney)

Bass also stars in AMC’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire” series. Bass portrays the eternally 16 Claudia, who is “raised” by Louis and Lestat, played in this iteration by Jacob Anderson and Sam Reid, respectively.

Speaking to theGrio about “Avatar” earlier this month and her love of the film, Bass told us, “This movie is character-driven, so yes it’s an action movie, but sometimes I felt like it was an independent film at times because of how much care went into every scene.”

With a second season of “Interview” already greenlit and more “Avatar” sequels on the way, it seems this is just the beginning of work we’ll be seeing from Bass.

Grace Duah

Duah stars in the latest reboot of “Gossip Girl,” currently streaming on HBO Max. The first dark-skinned series regular ever on both iterations of the series, Duah is currently having her moment, with her character Shan standing out in almost every episode as she finds her place in the land of the “Upper East Siders.”

In a recent interview with theGrio, Duah opened up about her journey, which in many ways began with her working as a production assistant in late night and how that helped her once she booked her first TV role. Check out our interview with Duah below:

Danielle Deadwyler

As awards season rages on at the top of 2023, Danielle Deadwyler has all eyes on her as she continues to rack up multiple nominations for her powerful performance as Mamie Till in the biopic, “Till.”

"Till" UK Premiere - 66th BFI London Film Festival
Danielle Deadwyler attends the “Till” UK premiere during the 66th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on Oct.15, 2022, in London. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for BFI)

Deadwyler is currently nominated for a Critics Choice Movie Award, Satellite Award, Independent Spirit Award and more. She also won Breakthrough Performance – Female from the National Board of Review earlier this year for her turn in “Till.” While SAG and Oscar nominations are still to come, theGrio will continue to follow this actress’ rise, all while more projects, including the sci-fi thriller “Parallel” wait in the wings for release next year.

Jeremy Pope

60th New York Film Festival -  "The Inspection" Red Carpet
Jeremy Pope attends “The Inspection” red carpet during the 60th New York Film Festival at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center on October 14, 2022, in New York City. (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for FLC)

Already a two-time Tony Award nominee and star of the stage and screen, Jeremy Pope is more than ready for the current moment he’s having. The multi-talented performer is currently promoting his new film, “The Inspection,” which premiered at TIFF this year to rave reviews. In the Elegance Bratton project, Pope stars alongside Gabrielle Union as a gay man who joins the Marine Corps, struggling with hiding his sexual orientation while also dealing with his own relationship with his mother.

On the theater front, Pope is currently on Broadway, starring as Jean-Michel Basquiat in the play, “The Collaboration.” The piece focuses on the famed artist and Andy Warhol (played by Paul Bettany) in the summer of 1984. The project is also being adapted into a film, which is set for release in 2023.

Ncuti Gatwa

BFI London Film Festival Luminous Gala - Arrivals
Ncuti Gatwa attends the BFI London Film Festival Luminous Gala at The Londoner Hotel on Sept. 29, 2022, in London. (Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images)

Get ready for a new “Doctor Who.” As theGrio previously reported, Ncuti Gatwa of Netflix’s “Sex Education” is tapped as the newest lead of the popular U.K. series. Gatwa makes history as the first Black actor to officially lead the series.

At the time of his casting announcement, Gatwa said, “This role and show means so much to so many around the world, including myself, and each one of my incredibly talented predecessors has handled that unique responsibility and privilege with the utmost care. I will endeavor my utmost to do the same.”

Yasmin Finney

GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2022 - Arrivals
Yasmin Finney attends the GQ Men of the Year Awards 2022 at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park on Nov. 16, 2022, in London. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

One of the biggest shows of 2022 was “Heartstopper,” Netflix’s charming and sweet LGBTQ+ romance set in the U.K. While the lead couple of the series swept viewers off their feet, one of the strongest supporting performances came from Yasmin Finney, who plays transgender student Elle Argent.

A major moment for authentic trans representation in TV, Elle’s character goes on a nuanced and impactful journey throughout the first season that does not harp on Elle coming out per se or any trauma often associated with LGBTQ+ narratives on TV. Speaking to Elle UK earlier this year, she explained, “You only know [she’s transgender] because she’s moved from a boys’ school to a girls’ school. It’s so beautiful to see a trans story on television that’s normalized, rather than see a narrative focused on gender dysphoria, bullying, or the dark parts that comes with being a trans person.”

In addition to starring in the second season of “Heartstopper” in 2023, Finney is also set to appear in a brand new “Doctor Who” anniversary special.

Jasmin Savoy Brown

74th Primetime Emmys - Arrivals
Jasmin Savoy Brown attends the 74th Primetime Emmys at Microsoft Theater on Sept.12, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

From “Yellowjackets” to “Scream,” Jasmin Savoy Brown kicked off 2022 with some major projects, and seems like she’ll only continue in 2023. The second season of the acclaimed Showtime series is set to air next year, reuniting viewers with the women of the “Yellowjackets” soccer team who suffered a plane crash in 1996. The series flashes back and forth between the teenage girls surviving in the wilderness in the ’90s, and the lives of the survivors in present day, with Brown starring as young Taissa Turner.

In addition to the second season of “Yellowjackets,” Savoy’s character in the Scream “requel” from earlier this year was one of the only survivors, meaning she’ll be back along with her twin brother in the films (played by Mason Gooding), Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera for “Scream 6,” which is set to take place in New York City. The teaser trailer for the film just dropped, with Brown taking center stage in a subway sequence. Check out the clip below:

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