New Action Stars: 5 actors who could pull it off

Jake Gyllenhaal and Dev Patel are making welcome stabs at action superstardom this spring, but who should be next?

New Action stars

Jake Gyllenhaal is taking a long-awaited stab at action superstardom with his upcoming Prime Video remake of Road House hitting the streamer on March 21st (although it should really be going to theaters). Dev Patel also is making a promising attempt at the genre with his amazing looking Monkey Man hitting theaters in April. Not too long ago, we wrote a piece of JoBlo that asked who the next big action icons might be, and indeed, some fresh blood being worked into the genre is long overdue. Gyllenhaal and Patel both seem like great new additions to the canon, but who else could make it in the genre?

Here are a few stars we think have what it takes to be action heroes:

Iron Claw efron

Zac Efron:

I would have thought you were nuts if you had told me a decade ago that Zac Efron would become an Arnold Schwarzenegger-style muscleman as he got older. Yet, the former High School Musical star has consistently pushed himself to the brink by packing on muscle. In The Iron Claw, he also proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he also has the acting talent to play darker roles brilliantly. Given how physically capable he is, it’s strange that Hollywood has never cast him in a major action flick, with him having the look and presence of a truly iconic addition to the genre. With Edgar Wright tackling The Running Man, wouldn’t Efron be an inspired choice to take the lead?

The Bear

Jeremy Allen White:

The same goes for Efron’s The Iron Claw co-star, Jeremy Allen White. His performance on The Bear is already iconic, and while people are fond of saying he looks like he could be related to Gene Wilder, to me, he has a Steve McQueen-style presence that hasn’t been exploited yet. Steven Spielberg is doing a sequel to Bullitt with Bradley Cooper in the title role, but I can’t help but think White might be even better.

Michael B. Jordan is set to produce and potentially star in the thriller The Dwelling, about a mysterious buried house, for Amazon Studios

Michael B. Jordan:

Ok, Michael B. Jordan got a big action movie a couple of years ago – Without Remorse. Despite good Tom Clancy source material, the movie kinda fell flat. The studio that produced it, Paramount, made it too small-scale, and it’s no wonder they offloaded it to Prime Video during the pandemic. Jordan deserved more of a chance to shine, and apparently, the studio agrees as a sequel/ spin-off based on Rainbow Six has been greenlit, although it remains to be seen if it will ever get made.

love lies bleeding review

Katy O’Brian

While known for small roles on shows like The Mandalorian, this actress is about to break out in a big way with Love Lies Bleeding (check out my Sundance review). In it, she plays a female bodybuilder who, along with her lover (played by Kristen Stewart), ends up embroiled in a noir-ish plot. In that movie, she shows some legitimate dramatic chops, and with her physical presence, casting her in a major action role seems like a no-brainer.

Scott Adkins

Scott Adkins:

A perennial favourite – it makes no sense that Hollywood has never given Scott Adkins a legit A-level action flick. He has it all: presence, looks, a cool accent and even some decent comedy chops. He would make for a terrific Jason Statham-style action hero if given a movie on par with The Beekeeper. If they do a sequel to that movie, Adkins would be an ideal antagonist. And, for those who may dismiss Adkins as an actor, do yourselves a favor and check out Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning. His performance in that one is iconic.

Who do YOU think should be the next action icon?

About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.