By Stacy Jenel Smith
At the dawn of 2004, we consulted with producers, casting executives and other industry insiders to put together a list of personalities bound to rise in the show business spotlight in 2004. Some predictions were right on - Kanye West
, Emmy Rossum
, Diego Luna
and Bryce Dallas Howard
, to name a few. Things are developing for other names. (We'd still call Shia LaBeouf
a good bet for bigger stardom, for instance.) Still others, well, let's just say that European model Caprice didn't quite become the Stateside sensation we expected.
Now, at the sunset of 2004, we're looking ahead again. Here is what you can expect to see in 2005 from some of your favorite rising stars of this year. And we've sprinkled in some names to look out for in the new year.
Lindsay Lohan: With her "Speak" album debuting at No. 4 on the charts this month, a rumored new romance with none other than Colin Farrell (take THAT, ex-boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama!), a mouthy white collar ex-con father and a former Rockette mother - plus tabloid headlines every week -- this red-haired bundle of talent is the hottest thing in Hollywood. Disney is giving a prime June 3 release date to her "Herbie: Fully Loaded" - signifying its faith in the project. She also has "Dramarama" in the can. No, it's not the story of Lindsay's personal life. It's about a girl forced to drop out of her prestigious high school due to family financial misfortunes, who then takes on the challenge of competing against her former peers. She's pegged for the big-screen adaptation of "Gossip Girl," which is being scripted, and for "Fashionistas," the latter with her club hopping buddy, Paris Hilton (whose own slate of features in 2005 assures ongoing saturation media exposure). In November, Lindsay began shooting a movie (untitled) about a lucky girl turned unlucky by chance encounter with a supremely unlucky dude, played by hottie Chris Pine of "Princess Diaries 2."
: Next month, when her hit MTV reality skein, "The Ashlee Simpson Show," returns for its second season, they're going to show the whole behind-the-scenes saga of l'affaire "SNL." Who wouldn't tune in for that? Come on, people. One flub doesn't negate all this 20-year-old has accomplished in 2004. Okay, so it was a particularly embarrassing flub, being caught lip synching (something she said she didn't believe in doing) when they cued up a different song than she expected on "Saturday Night Live." But consider the brilliance with which Ashlee 'n' her handlers have turned the mishap into a promotional tool. It's almost scary. Now the former "7th Heaven" cast member is planning to tour as a headliner, beginning in February. She's also making "Wannabe," which has been called her first serious leap to the big screen. She stars opposite hot up-and-comer Kip Pardue in the story of a group of music star wannabes who come to L.A. trying to make it big. "There's not much romance for me in the movie," she told "E.T.," adding, "not much romance for me at all in my life right now." That's bound to change momentarily. Jessica Simpson
's little sister, who told us there was no way she'd make a public vow to retain her virginity 'til marriage ala Mrs. Lachey
, gets tabloid attention just about every time she steps out with a new beau.
Eva Longoria: The "Desperate Housewives" sexpot is set to begin filming the feature "Harsh Times" in January, which means she'll be shuttling between camera calls on two different sets - but what's a grueling double schedule when you're one of the hottest names in celebrity land? The dark urban comedy has Christian Bale, star of the June-opening biggie, "Batman Begins," as a Marine who comes home from Iraq to start a marriage and civilian life, only to find himself getting re-involved with a bad influence ("Six Feet Under's" Freddy Rodriguez, who'll also be seen heating up the screen in '05 with Anne Hathaway in "Havoc").
Gael Garcia Bernal: You can tell an actor's hit real stardom when the sobriquets start flying, like "the Latin Tom Cruise" or "the Mexican hell-raiser." Gael Garcia Bernal was romantically linked with no less than Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman) for a few months, going into this year. He showed up at the Cannes Film Festival in drag. He scored a double triumph -- playing young Che Guevara in "The Motorcycle Diaries" and multiple roles (including that one in drag, looking pretty nice by the way) in Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education," about a group of young men scarred by an abusive priest from their childhood. It appears America is catching up with his international stardom. Ahead, expect to see the handsome actor in the drama "The King" with William Hurt - and "Science of Sleep," a fantasy with Patricia Arquette about a man held captive by people in his dreams. He's also reportedly attached to star in "Alatriste," with Viggo Mortensen as a 17th Century Spanish mercenary.
Kanye West: One way or another, Feb. 13 is going to be a big day for West - the day he'll find out whether he wins some or all of the 10 Grammys for which he's been nominated. Or none. "I'm scared of getting 10 nominations and losing. It's happened before," admitted the artist who seems to vacillate between braggadocio and insecurity. Producer-turned-rapper West led all Grammy nominees and scored a bid for album of the year for his debut "The College Dropout," which touched on everything from his faith to his fears of failure and other crises from his life. The 27-year-old son of an activist-academic mother and a Black Panther father also had a nomination for best new artist and shared a songwriting bid for song of the year with his religious hit "Jesus Walks." West expects to get his follow-up album, "Late for Registration," out in March. He admits he's scared about how it will do, but also brags that it's so great it will "take people off guard and blow them away." John Mayer collaborated with West on something for the album, though West has been tight-lipped on exactly what. And, "I'm gonna ask Dre to mix it cos I'm still raising the standard," West informed London's Independent. He also said, "That's why I'm so good: I work."
Gretchen Wilson: Kanye West's bitter loser moment at the American Music Awards - i.e. "I'm the best new artist of the year so get that other bullshit out of here" - was a diss on the winner, Gretchen Wilson. Well, she may not have 10 Grammy nominations, but does have four - including Best New Artist, Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for the instant theme song of an entire demographic, "Redneck Woman," and Best Country Album for "Here For The Party." Again, Feb. 13 will be a big night. Pocahontas, Ill.-born Wilson got her start singing to CDs and tending bar at a club called Big O's at age 14, and according to her Sony bio, "By the time she was 15 and living on her own, she was managing the roughneck joint with a loaded 12-guage double-barrel shotgun stashed behind the bar for protection." Ahead for the 31-year-old Wilson, who is married and has a three-year-old daughter, is a tour with country's big-hatted crown prince, Kenny Chesney, which she expects to be "a whole lot of fun. I'm looking forward to having the middle slot with a big-name act like that."
Zach Braff: "Scrubs" lovers have been loving him for years, of course, but now he has "Garden State" to prove he's a gifted auteur filmmaker, not to mention, it appears he's got Mandy Moore, too. After his NBC hitcom wraps for the season in April, Zach is slated go before the cameras with Rachel McAdams ("Mean Girls," "The Notebook") in a remake of Italy's passionate "The Last Kiss." To be directed by Tony Goldwyn from a script by Paul Haggis ("Million Dollar Baby"), this is a tale of a man freaking out over his pending fatherhood and 30th birthday, wondering if he belongs with his long-time girlfriend. Zach actually is 29. He's also to be heard this summer in Disney's animated "Chicken Little," in which he voices the title character, assuring it won't be as cheep as it sounds.
JoJo: Massachusetts-born pop music It Girl JoJo goes before the feature film cameras in February with Emma Roberts (Julia's niece, Eric's daughter) in the mermaid comedy "Aquamarine." Based on the Alice Hoffman novel, the Fox movie project revolves around two teenage girls who discover a mermaid in their beach club's swimming pool. "Thirteen" filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke is also reportedly interested in directing her, and JoJo says, "Working with her would be unbelievable!" The artist formerly known as Joanna Levesque this year saw her debut album blast to No. 1 on the pop charts, becoming the youngest female to ever do so. Her "Leave (Get Out)" was a big summer single. She has her sites set on multi-media success, and she has time. She won't turn 14 until February.