Let's face it: There's nothing like a French accent…especially when it belongs to Mélanie Laurent (above). In Inglourious Basterds, the then-unknown actress not only wreaked havoc in a red dress—she kicked some serious Nazi ass. Like Marion Cotillard before her, Laurent is the very embodiment of European chic—and she's not alone. Here are six more exquisite up-and-coming actresses who are poised to take Tinseltown by storm.
Name: Holliday Grainger
Provenance: the U.K.
Look: The epitome of the nice girl your mom wants you to marry, Grainger is doe-eyed, innocent, and fresh-faced—the thinking man's pin-up, if you will. Like Kate Winslet and Emilia Fox with a dash of Naomi Watts.
Notable Performances: Jane Eyre, The Borgias (in which she plays the infamous Lucrezia)
Why She'll Be Big Soon: She'll appear as the bitchy Estella opposite Helena Bonham Carter's Miss Havisham in Mike Newell's Great Expectations. Later this year you'll see her opposite Jude Law and Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina.
Name: Alessandra Mastronardi
Look: Think early Susan Sarandon, but Italian. Let's hope she can hook up with, say, the Russian version of early Catherine Deneuve, and remake that cheeky sexy vampire flick from the eighties, The Hunger. Or Holliday Grainger (see above).
Notable Performances: To Rome With Love, as well as two hugely successful Italian television series, I Cesaroni and Romanzo Criminale
Why She'll Be Big Soon: While she's already had a very successful career in Italian film and television, Woody Allen personally selected her for his latest film, To Rome With Love. Next up, she stars in another American movie, Ameriqua, opposite Robert F. Kennedy's grandson Bobby, Alec Baldwin, and another hottie of Italian heritage (and incidentally, the daughter of Susan Sarandon), Eva Amurri Martino.
Name: Felicity Jones
Provenance: the U.K.
Look: Unconventional and cool. Who else would dare to wear a full-length leather dress to Vanity Fair's infamous Oscar party?
Notable Performances: Like Crazy, 2011's indie hit about a romance between two college students—one British (Jones), the other American (Anton Yelchin)—separated by U.S. immigration and customs enforcement. Jones won awards at Sundance and recognition from the National Board of Review for her role. Fun fact: It was her unusual audition that got her the part: She sent in a tape of herself performing the final scene from the script, which she shot in her own shower. Then, of course, there was the little-seen—yet highly touted—film Hysteria (costarring Hugh Dancy), about the true story of the invention of the vibrator.
Why She'll Be Big Soon: Jones is working on her second collaboration with director Drake Doremus in Untitled Drake Doremus Project (with Guy Pearce), as well as The Invisible Woman, in which she plays the teenage mistress of Charles Dickens (Ralph Fiennes).
Name: Louise Bourgoin
Look: Smart. Chic. With that twinkle in her eye, she's a dead ringer for a nouveau Audrey Hepburn. Bourgoin isn't sexy, per se; she's sensual.
Notable Performances: The title character in Luc Besson's The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
Why She'll Be Big Soon: She's about to star in her first-ever English-speaking role, opposite Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan, in Love Punch (2013). In the meantime, she's back with costar Mathieu Amalric in the French film Tirez La Langue Mademoiselle, as well as shooting with actress-director Nicole Garcia in Il Est Parti Dimanche.
Name: Imogen Poots
Provenance: the U.K.
Look: California blonde with a British accent. One of the few to really rock the 19th-century look in her films.
Notable Performances: It seems that it is a requirement for all British actresses to star in at least one Jane Austen-related piece—Poots starred in the BBC production Miss Austen Regrets and then went on to conquer another romantic-novelist rite of passage with a role in Jane Eyre. Most important, though, who could forget her portrayal of a kick-ass tough girl (and one of the lucky few to escape the plague) in 28 Weeks Later?
Why She'll Be Big Soon: First comes Filth, in which she stars opposite James McAvoy; then Poots appears in Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups with Christian Bale.
Name: Lizzie Brocheré
Look: Smoldering, disheveled chic—she's heading straight into funkadelic Chloe Sevigny territory with a dash of Angelina Jolie. Definitely more Indie Spirit Awards than Oscars, expect her to eventually design her own clothing line and date one of the heirs apparent to Vincent Gallo's indie crown, like Michael Pitt or Shiloh Fernandez.
Notable Performances: She earned a César Best Newcomer nomination for her turn as Lucie in the controversial film Chacun Sa Nuit, in which she spent a lot of time nude. Brocheré previously starred in the recurring role of Elina Volkova in the French series Les Bleus.
Why She'll Be Big Soon: Ryan Murphy cast her as the femme fatale opposite Jessica Lange in the forthcoming season of American Horror Story. As Lange's nemesis, she's going to give the blonde a run for her money.
—Susan Michals is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles and a regular contributor to Details.com. You can follow her on Twitter @Susan_Michals.
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