Top 10 Actors And Actresses Under 20

Photo By: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

Choosing the Top 10 actors and actresses under the age of 20 may be a shot in the dark, but there is more than enough evidence to back up what follows. These kids (if you can call them kids) can flat out act. From leading blockbusters before their teenage years to commanding multi-million dollar salaries before reaching legal adulthood, these young adults deserve a tip of the cap. And the young people on this list…? To this point, all have maintained their sanity and good behavior. Bonus!

10. Bella Thorne

Anabella Avery Thorne. It’s tough to peg Bella Thorne. Is she a teeny-bopper, a tween or one of those girls who passes for a woman? She’s pretty much all three, and boasts a reputation in Hollywood as being one of the most approachable young celebrities in the game. One thing you can peg regarding Bella: she’s gorgeous, and delightfully dorky. If Hollywood were to create a prototype of future leading ladies, she’s got the goods. She’s a mix of types like Julia Roberts and Jessica Chastain with the fiery red hair, and she has a comedic and fiery personality to go along with it. The Pembroke Pines, Florida native is of Cuban, Irish and Italian descent. Down to acting, Bella has endured too much Disney, but she’s a blank canvas in terms of potential. She’ll turn 20 on October 8, 2017.

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9. Zachary Gordon

Zach Gordon’s resume reads like that of someone in their 60s. This kid, who won’t turn 20 until February 15, 2018, worked more than most seasoned screen veterans before he was legally able to drive a car. He is best known for his role as Greg Heffley in the Diary Of a Wimpy Kid films, but he has touched on everything in the land of the small and silver screen. Skilled with giving good face, offering surprising sentiment and lending his voice to a number of animated characters — including young Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series — Zach Gordon is already walking the yellow brick road. He could very well slide into that niche left vacant by Shia LaBeouf, but only time will tell. In the meantime, he’s still offering voice for the animated series Clarence.

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8. Jacob Lofland

Jacob Lofland is flying under the radar at present, though he has appeared in several quality independent films, as well as the TV show, Justified. He popped into the mainstream after starring opposite Matthew McConaughey and Tye Sheridan in the indie award winner, Mud, as the character of Neckbone. Being from rural Arkansas, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to jump into various productions following his work on Mud, but casting directors have had no issue finding him. Each job has been a step of progress, including the multiple episodes of work on Justified. The soon to be 19-year-old has jumped from job to job since booking his first role, and this September, he’ll be seen in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. If there are two perfect words to describe Lofland: Southern; charm. He’ll turn 20 on July 30, 2016.

7. Mackenzie Foy

The soulful-eyed Mackenzie Foy is best known for her role in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, playing the 10-year-old Murphy. They could not have cast a better actress to play a young Jessica Chastain. Mackenzie was a true heart breaker in the science fiction epic, and her work in the film has earned her a continuation of industry progress. At 14-years-old, Mackenzie is entering into, and navigating the challenges of adolescence with as much grace as is possible. These are the years that tend to put physical awkwardness at the forefront, when hormones throw things out of whack. Still, Mackenzie has the acting talent and ability to overcome any challenges that may come her way. She’s presently performing a small role in the Matt Damon, Willem Dafoe film, The Great Wall. Mackenzie will turn 20 on November 10, 2020.

Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

6. Joel Courtney

Joel Courtney may be the most well-rounded youngster on this list. He is technically the oldest, and he’ll put the 20th notch in his belt on January 31, 2016. Born in California, but raised in Idaho, Joel was a competitive swimmer, and had some interest in acting, but didn’t pursue it until he visited his older brother in Los Angeles several years ago. On instinct, the 14-year-old Joel decided he would audition for commercials and take in some acting classes with his brother, where he was connected to the casting director for a top secret J.J. Abrams film. That film was Super 8, and Joel became its star (after an audition and 11 callbacks). It has been a slow and steady climb to consistent work for Joel, but one can’t argue his level of talent — he was as green as new sprung grass in his first film. At 6’1″, he’s well on his way to becoming a tall, dark and handsome leading man.

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5. Kodi Smit-McPhee

Kodi Smit-McPhee is an Australian actor who offered an absolutely perfect performance as a young boy opposite Viggo Mortensen in the screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road. For anyone unfamiliar with this young actor, that is the work that will offer a proper introduction. Now 19, Kodi is mixing it up with the Hollywood big boys, and presently shooting the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. His most recent big release was Dawn Of The Planet of The Apes. There is no denying this kid’s chops. He was even one of the few young talents to star in the 2013 production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, in the role of Benvolio. (Because we all know that every production casts people who are way too old for the roles, they got it right casting teenagers.) Already boasting 25 film and television credits to his name, Kodi will turn 20 on June 13, 2016.

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4. Asa Butterfield

Asa Maxwell Thornton Farr Butterfield. Seriously, how could you not be some sort of celebrity with a name like that? Beyond having the confidence that you would derive from having so many really cool names, Asa Butterfield has acting chops that would make any young actor — or mature actor for that matter — envious. Asa starred in the incredibly touching Holocaust film, The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas, which helped him book the lead role of Hugo Cabret in Martin Scorsese’s love letter to imaginative filmmaking itself, Hugo. The British born Butterfield has already scored more awards and nominations than most people dream of, and all before the age of 18. Asa will turn 20 on April 1, 2017, and that ain’t no foolin’.

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3. Elle Fanning

There must have been something in the water at the Fanning household. Elle Fanning, and her older sister, Dakota, have got the goods. They may not be typical leading lady fare in terms of Hollywood glam, but in terms of fearless storytelling through a very refined version of playing make believe…? And Elle is only 17. Elle started turning heads with her work in Phoebe in Wonderland, and was possibly the best thing about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. With her turn as the sullen Alice Dainard in J.J. Abrams’ Super 8, her Hollywood foundation was securely laid. She now has more films in development and pre-production than most actors will ever enjoy in a lifetime. Elle turns 20 on April 9, 2018.

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2. Kaitlyn Dever

When it comes to pure acting chops, and the ability to throw down a fearless performance in the presence of a cast and crew, Kaitlyn Dever may be the individual on this list to score the first Oscar. What makes Kaitlyn so cool is that she probably wouldn’t care either way, so long as she’s working. Kaitlyn has owned principal roles on television in Last Man Standing and Justified, but it was her tour de force in Destin Daniel Cretton’s indie darling, Short Term 12, that garnered high praise and opened industry eyes. People should keep their eyes peeled for the release of The Greens Are Gone, which is presently in post-production. Kaitlyn stars opposite Catherine Keener and Anton Yelchin. It should be another film solidifying her reputation as an incredible young actress. Kaitlyn will turn 20 on December 21, 2016.

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1. Chloe Grace Moretz

Was there ever a more adorable, foul-mouthed a**-kicking little girl than Hit Girl in Kick-Ass? Perhaps Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional, but therein lies a most excellent comparison to likely career tracks. Chloe Grace Moretz is getting up there in age. Now a whopping 18 years of age, Chloe will turn 20 on February 10, 2017, and she’s already worth millions. She is obviously the child of business-savvy parents (both parents work in medical fields) who have guided her in creating her own brand. From endorsement deals to locking down one acting gig after another, Chloe has already achieved lucrative financial success. What promises to keep her in business is the fact that she is a fine actress. With 41 films, two handfuls of television credits and two years until she’s 20? This girl has the IT-factor.

Photo By: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

James Sheldon