Netflix’s lineup of upcoming original movies includes a little something for every viewer, whether they be a fan of animation, rom-coms, action movies, horrors, or thrillers. At the same time, it also has several original series that are making their return in 2022.
These include the likes of Stranger Things and several others that played a critical role in turning the company into a major player in the streaming industry today. At the same time, these Netflix productions have also resulted in creating a number of Hollywood breakout stars.
Updated on May 31st, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: With Stranger Things returning in 2022 with its fourth season, viewers have watched the kids from the series grow up a lot over the years. Not only have these kids grown older, but some of them have broken out big time thanks to the Netflix series. That seems to be a growing trend as Netflix grew huge in the market of original series and movies, often introducing new stars to the world. Someone like Millie Bobby Brown has moved on to headline her own movies and appear in Hollywood blockbusters, and burgeoning stars like her are just becoming normal after making their names on Netflix.
Finn Wolfhard, Stranger Things (2016)
Not only did Millie Bobby Brown break out after her appearance as Eleven on Stranger Things, but several of her fellow cast members also enjoyed success on the big stage as well. None have gotten a bigger opportunity than Finn Wolfhard, who played Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things.
After the word fell in love with the 14-year-old Mike, Wolfhard cashed in on his new popularity with a role in the two-part Stephen King adaptation It in 2017 and 2019. He then kept rolling with a voice role in 2019’s The Addams Family and then had his biggest role yet in Ghostbusters: Afterlife as one of Egon’s grandchildren.
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)
Before appearing in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Tituss Burgess was a theater star who only had a handful of roles in television episodes. However, once Burgess took on the role of Titus in the Netflix series, he enjoyed a massive breakout in his career on the big and small screen and has picked up several awards nominations for his performances.
He is now one of the main voices in the animated Apple TV series Central Park and has appeared in movies like Dolemite Is My Name and Respect.
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why (2017)
Katherine Langford was a newcomer to the world of acting when she picked up the role of Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why. This was also not an easy role. Hannah took her own life in the Netflix series and she narrated the story while appearing in flashback scenes. She also had the controversial scene where she died that shook up many viewers.
However, this was a big breakout for Langford. She went on to appear in the breakout movie hit Knives Out and then led her own movie in the fantastic indie black comedy, Spontaneous. She also got the chance to lead another Netflix series in Cursedbut it was canceled after one season.
Laverne Cox, Orange Is The New Black (2013)
One of Netflix’s early success stories was the women’s prison drama Orange in the New Black. There were a lot of great actors in the series, but the one actor who achieved the biggest breakout thanks to the series was Laverne Cox, who played Sophia Burset.
Cox picked up several award nominations for her performance as a trans actor playing a trans role, and she used her success from the Netflix series to move on to a bigger career in Hollywood. More importantly, Cox used her fame to help make a difference in the world for the LGBTQ + community.
Regé-Jean Page, Bridgerton (2020)
Regé-Jean had already got his career going before he took on the role in the first season of Bridgerton. However, once viewers saw him in the romantic period piece, he broke out and became a massive star. There were even viewers who claimed they wouldn’t watch the second season when he didn’t return.
(Picked up an Emmy nomination for Bridgerton and Time listed him in their “100 Next List.” He now has bigger roles coming, including this year’s Netflix original movie The Gray Man and he is also supposed to take the lead in the superhero movie The Saint for Netflix as well.
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things (2016)
Prior to getting cast in Netflix’s Stranger Things, no one really knew of Brown in Hollywood. In fact, few people may have noticed that she was among the child actors who briefly appeared in ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy years back.
Today, Brown is anything but a virtual unknown. After her work on Stranger Things earned her two Emmy nominations, the young actress went on to star in Netflix’s Enola Holmes, as the titular character. At the same time, Brown is also set to reprise her 2019 role as Madison Russell in the upcoming movie, Godzilla Vs. Kong.
Shira Haas, Unorthodox (2020)
The Israeli actress rose to fame following her critically acclaimed performance in Unorthodox, a Netflix series known for mixing uplifting and disturbing scenes, as well as delivering shock value where it counts. Interestingly, Haas had no idea she was even auditioning for the series before she got cast.
While speaking with Variety, the actress explained that she was informed by her agent that she was auditioning for a German show. “She told me,‘ So this is not The Orchestra – It’s Unorthodox, and it’s for Netflix, ‘”Haas recalled. “It’s a lead role. And they really, really loved you. ‘”
Mae Martin, Feel Good (2020)
Even today, actors who star in productions while also working behind the scenes is rather rare, which makes Martin a true Netflix gem. In fact, Martin also serves as a co-writer on her Channel 4 / Netflix series Feel Good, alongside writing partner Joe Hampson.
On the show, the actress portrays herself. Although, during an interview with Refinery 29, Martin explained, “I think she’s got all my same hangups and things, but she’s dialed up to 150%.” She also told Channel 4 that Feel Good is a “patchwork of real and personal experiences.” The series also stars Friends alum, Lisa Kudrow.
Emma Corrin, The Crown (2016)
The British actress, Emma Corrin, is being praised for her breakout performance in the Netflix critically acclaimed series The Crown. Corrin was cast to play a younger Princess Diana, who was introduced to the audience in season 4. Unbeknownst to many, the actress was still attending school when she auditioned for the show.
From there, her career progressed quite quickly. That said, joining the cast of The Crown was rather overwhelming for the actress, initially. While speaking with Variety, the actress confessed, “There were moments where I felt very out of my depth.”
Will Sharpe, Giri / Haji (2019)
Sharpe may have already been an established UK star for quite some time, but only a few of us had heard of him until he took on the role of Rodney Yamaguchi in the Netflix overlooked but binge-worthy crime drama, Giri / Haji.
For the actor, the key to portraying the character lies in his ability to hone in on various similarities between Rodney and himself. “Rodney’s half-Japanese, I’m half-Japanese,” Sharpe explained while speaking with the BBC. “He has a destructive streak in him, I think I have a bit of that in me.”
Madison Reyes, Julie And The Phantoms (2020)
Prior to starring in the Netflix series Julie and the Phantoms, Reyes didn’t have any acting experience. She was a fresh talent that the show’s production team found after sending out audition calls to several high schools in the US and Canada.
“She was a 14-year-old girl that had never been in front of a camera or in a recording studio before,” the show’s executive producer, Kenny Ortega, told Collider. “I was like, ‘That’s the girl to beat.'” Today, there is talk of a Julie and the Phantoms season 2. However, Netflix is still to offer an update.
Midori Francis, Dash & Lily (2020)
Francis may have already appeared in films such as Ocean’s 8 and Good Boysbut it was ultimately her role in the Netflix holiday rom-com show, Dash & Lily, that got everyone talking. In the series, Francis stars as Lily, a young woman who trades dares and messages with a young man named Dash (Austin Abrams) in a red notebook.
For Francis, it was a real treat to film the show in New York, where she currently lives. While speaking with Flare, Francis explained, “This show made me rediscover the city that I live in.”
Jo Ellen Pellman, Prom (2020)
In Netflix’s recently released musical Prom, Jo Ellen Pellman stars as an openly gay student who simply wishes to be able to go to the prom with her girlfriend. Unlike other Hollywood newcomers though, the actress had to hold her own, as she shared the screen opposite the likes of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, and James Corden in the Netflix movie.
When asked about her experience working with these stars, Pellman told Glamor, “I learned so much from them just by observing how they worked – I was a sponge on set.”
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black (2013)
Uzo Aduba rose to fame following her portrayal of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in the critically acclaimed Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Initially, she always thought she would become a lawyer. However, when she learned that she could attend a university for the performing arts, she told The Guardian that this was a “code-breaker.”
Since then, Aduba hasn’t looked back. After her breakout Orange Is the New Black role, Aduba has gone on to voice a character for the Netflix series 3Below: Tales of Arcadia. She has also recently starred in the mini-series Mrs. America.
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
Taylor-Joy stars in the current Netflix series hit, The Queen’s Gambit, where she portrays a competitive chess player with addiction issues. Her performance in the series was so compelling that fans are eager to see if a season 2 is happening.
While this remains unconfirmed, Taylor-Joy is set to appear in several upcoming feature films. Among these movies is Furious, which sees Taylor-Joy take over the titular role that Charlize Theron famously portrayed in the 2015 film, Mad Max: Fury Road. The movie will also star Marvel actor Chris Hemsworth and Aquaman’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
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