After their incredible onscreen chemistry in Crazy, Stupid, Love., everyone is excited to see the magnetic and hilarious Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling reunited in Damien Chazelle’s follow up to Whiplash, La La Land. In addition to excitement though, there may be just a bit of regret that the originally rumored cast of Miles Teller and Emma Watson won’t be the ones bringing the Los Angeles-based musical to life. Not because Stone and Gosling are inferior in any way, but because they’ve already been paired together before. Been there, done that.
Audiences love to see what kind of sparks fly when two of their favorite actors are brought together in a film. It can result in an epic romantic connection, or the chemistry could be seriously lacking. Either way, it’s great fun to see how two talented actors play off of each other. So, while Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are consistently fantastic together, there comes a time when it’s necessary to mix up some fresh, starry-eyed duos. Here are 15 Actor Pairings We’d Love To See As Romantic Leads.
15. BRIE LARSON AND MICHAEL B. JORDAN
It’s fair to say that Brie Larson is having what the entertainment industry calls “a moment.” Considering her exceptional talent though, it’s likely to last longer than that. After years spent struggling to build up a career, an exceptional turn in Short Term 12 and then her Academy-Award winning performance in Room have pushed her into the spotlight. Even with bigger studio films like Kong: Skull Island and Captain Marvel on the horizon for her, she always brings a strong dramatic acting skill set to each project.
And, if anyone knows about the patience needed to break out in the business, it’s Michael B. Jordan. He’s been blowing people away with his talent for years, but hasn’t quite climbed up to the A-list elite yet. After the lack of Oscar love for his performance in Creed and the somewhat disastrous Fantastic Four reboot, Jordan is due for a big comeback. If he and Larson teamed up, they would knock any viewer’s socks off with the sheer amount of talent on screen.
14. GUGU MBATHA-RAW AND JAKE GYLLENHAAL
It’s about time that Gugu Mbatha-Raw was given a powerful role in a big studio film that puts her on equal footing with her male counterpart (if not giving her the lead itself.) Concussion had Mbatha-Raw alongside Hollywood legend Will Smith, but her part clearly only scratched the surface of what she’s capable of. Her moving leading performances in Belle and Beyond the Lights prove that she has the acting ability. She just needs the right platform to launch her into the film stratosphere.
Jake Gyllenhaal has established himself as a powerhouse dramatic actor, willing to go to extremes for his roles. Not to downplay his own talent, but the more famous Gyllenhaal could be just the man to compliment Mbatha-Raw and give her name a slight boost by association. Mbatha-Raw’s talent is without question, but pairing her with someone more familiar to the public could help in selling a movie financially. While neither is exactly a box office dynamo, if they starred in an indie film together, it would be hard to ignore that much talent in one place.
13. MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD AND RIZ AHMED
After the surprise hit from earlier this year, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Mary Elizabeth Winstead is now on everyone’s radar. She’s been turning in great performances for years, but 10 Cloverfield Lane saw her take the lead in a small, acting-intensive setting against one of the all-time greats, John Goodman—and there was never a question in the viewer’s mind of whether she was matching him the entire way.
Another actor who’s been having a great year is Riz Ahmed. You probably recognize him as Gyllenhaal’s protégé from Nightcrawler, but he’s about to become a lot more recognizable. With a strong secondary role in Jason Bourne, the lead in the HBO series The Night Of, and a coveted spot in Rogue One, Ahmed is on the rise. Both actors’ diverse experience and recent successes would make them an appealing package to anyone looking to put together a movie with powerful performances a lot of star-making potential.
12. OSCAR ISAAC AND JOHN BOYEGA
All the other pairs on the list are actors who haven’t been seen together before, but it’s impossible not to mention two current co-stars that have fans begging for a romance. Oscar Isaac has had a meteoric rise to fame: from small but intriguing minor roles, to starring in the Coen Brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis, to rocketing on up to studio fare like X-Men: Apocalypse and Star Wars.
One of the few people who can claim an even faster and more direct route to the A-list is John Boyega. Plucked from relative obscurity, the leading role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens has made him a household name overnight. The interaction and relationship between Isaacs’s Poe Dameron and Boyega’s Finn in TFA has stirred up quite a lot of talk about what the new series’ main romantic storyline might be. The pair’s instant connection on screen and continued friendship has many people hoping that the time has finally come for a central LGBTQ romance in the Star Wars universe.
11. CHRIS PRATT AND EMILY BLUNT
Chris Pratt is in the interesting position of having made almost too much money at the box office. After all, where does one go after raking up over $1.5 billion dollars globally on the worldwide sensation Jurassic World? Probably off to make gobs more money on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. But, in order to sustain his level of financial success and fame, he’s going to need some great actors by his side, churning out better and better performances.
It’s actually fairly surprising that no one has thought to put two comedic geniuses like Pratt and Emily Blunt together before. It could be that Blunt’s star just hadn’t risen quite high enough yet. But, now, with her leading role in the highly anticipated book adaptation of The Girl on the Train and her casting as Mary Poppins, one of the most iconic roles of all time, it seems like there’s never been a better opportunity to pair two such charismatic actors together.
10. TARON EGERTON AND ALDEN EHRENREICH
Taron Egerton is one of best young acting discoveries from the past few years. He appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in Kingsmen: The Secret Service and has been popping up all over the place ever since. From the World War I story, Testament of Youth, to the Kray Brothers mob flick, Legend, to his very own underdog lead in Eddie the Eagle, Egerton is on his way up, and it seems like he has the goods to make a career at the top.
Alden Ehrenreich caught audiences and casting directors’ attention with his sincere and endearing turn as Hobie in the Coen Brothers’ Hail Caesar!, and he’s about to enter the hallowed halls of Star Wars legend as a young Han Solo. Two old soul, 26 year olds with big careers on the way could choose to do some exciting things in film. And, just as the cinematic masterpiece Brokeback Mountain showed the world what young Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal were capable of, Egerton and Ehrenreich could make a mark with their own love story.
9. EMMA STONE AND AZIZ ANSARI
Before Master of None premiered on Netflix, many people probably didn’t think of Aziz Ansari as a leading man. But, after the sensational series hit both comedic and dramatic notes beautifully, Ansari is likely in high demand for many main character roles. His career of hilarious work and now demonstrated ability to address what’s current and relevant in today’s culture would make him a shoe in for the next big studio comedy.
Movies like Zombieland and Easy A established Emma Stone as a comedic gem, and she’s since proven that her dramatic acting chops are more than up to snuff with her Academy Award nomination for her role in Birdman. Adding together two incredibly entertaining and funny people like Ansari and Stone would be an instant recipe for comedic gold. Not to mention, if Ansari wrote whatever film they starred in together, he would likely add a dose of moving reality, just like he did in Master of None.
8. TATIANA MASLANY AND EMILIA CLARKE
It’s far past time for Tatiana Maslany to have a kick-ass feature film role. Her consistently remarkable work as several clone characters on Orphan Black should have merited her a franchise lead by now. Her undeniable strength and adaptability as an actor demands an equally challenging and fascinating role for her to pour herself into.
Speaking of actors who have proven their strength on the small screen, but have yet to make a big splash in cinemas—Emilia Clarke is effortlessly in control as Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, but has yet to wow movie audiences in the same way. The poorly reviewed Terminator Genisys may have had a lot of money behind it, but as can be seen on GOT, Clarke can handle much better material. One can only imagine the complexity and electricity these two women could create as co-stars in a big budget (or any budget for that matter) film.
7. MARGOT ROBBIE AND RAMI MALEK
Margot Robbie’s career has been of extreme interest ever since she wooed Leonardo DiCaprio and audiences alike in The Wolf of Wall Street. Since then, she’s been keeping busy with an incredibly diverse bunch of films including Z for Zachariah, Focus, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, The Legend of Tarzan, and perhaps her most eagerly awaited role to date, Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad.
Rami Malek hasn’t been building up his feature film resume in quite the same way, but he’s still one of the most buzzed about actors right now. His outstanding work in the USA series Mr. Robot caught everyone’s attention, and the hype for that one show has lifted him from unknown to “in the zeitgeist.” Despite the many flimsy and one-dimensional roles Robbie has most certainly been offered, she usually chooses characters with more depth or interest to them. The dark and dramatic Malek would be an ideal partner for Robbie to really get to show off her range and skill. And it’s almost too fun to imagine how Mr. Robot’s Elliott would react if confronted by the charismatic Robbie.
6. FELICITY JONES AND CHADWICK BOSEMAN
If her spectacular performances in The Theory of Everything and Like Crazy didn’t have you convinced about Felicity Jones, her rebellious character in this winter’s Rogue One should do the job. Jones brings sophistication and self-assurance to every role she takes on, while also being able to show doubt, fear, and insecurity. Her performances are always natural and multi-faceted, showing the entire human and their experience along the way.
With a history of impressive leading roles including icons like Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up, it’s no wonder Marvel came knocking on Chadwick Boseman’s door when they were looking for a Black Panter. Boseman brought the Wakandan king to life as a regal and noble hero in Captain America: Civil War and managed to develop a full persona in a story packed with more heroes than you can count. His assured air matches perfectly with Jones’ quiet confidence, and with both their careers headed for big things, this combination would have the studios seeing dollar signs.
5. ZOE SALDANA AND TOM HARDY
Zoe Saldana would be extremely intimidating, not only to most other actors, but probably to most men. Her extensive body of work—that includes massive franchises like Avatar, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy as well as impressive performances in indie films—makes her one of the most in demand and successful actors working right now. It takes an extraordinary partner not to be dwarfed by her skill and experience (hey Chris Pratt!).
Luckily, Tom Hardy is a force of nature on screen who also knows how to share, and even hand over, a story to a powerful woman, as was the case in Mad Max: Fury Road. He’s played almost too many commanding roles to count, including his Oscar-nominated performance in last year’s The Revenant, and he’d be a worthy collaborator for the best actors in the business. Hardy’s smart and tough style seems like a perfect fit to go round for round with Saldana and make a truly memorable pairing on the big screen.
4. JOHN CHO AND JENNIFER LAWRENCE
If there were any justice in the world, Jon Cho would have hit leading man status years ago. He’s been putting in quality work for some time, but thanks to severe diversity issues in Hollywood, he’s never risen to huge fame. He’s given more to do in Star Trek Beyond than in the previous films in the franchise, but it’s time for Cho to be given his own starring role.
Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, has seen nothing but opportunity come her way since her breakout role in Winter’s Bone. She’s become not only a big money earner in franchise flicks, but also a regular nominee at every award show. Cho doesn’t need someone to validate his talent, but pairing with a well-known and respected actress like Lawrence could certainly help show the world all that he has to offer. Lawrence really should start working with someone other than Bradley Cooper, anyway, and Cho absolutely has the potential to become an A-list star and international heartthrob.
3. RYAN GOSLING AND REBEL WILSON
Ryan Gosling has been playing heartthrobs for years. The world has seen him in full-on romances like The Notebook, heartbreaking dramas like Blue Valentine, quirky indies like Lars and the Real Girl, and traditional rom-coms like Crazy, Stupid, Love. Recently, the world was reminded just how completely hilarious Gosling can be as well in his inspired turn as a haphazard detective in The Nice Guys.
Rebel Wilson has built a career in comedy by starring in some now-classics like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect. She’s worked with some of the best in the business, and can stand out even in a crowd of talented people like Melissa McCarthy, Kristin Wiig, and Anna Kendrick. Another standard romantic comedy starring Ryan Gosling would probably seem pretty repetitive at this point. But, something out-of-the-box bonkers with Wilson’s larger than life personality and humor and some of the great, zany characteristics Gosling brought in The Nice Guys could be just what what the doctor ordered.
2. ALICIA VIKANDER AND CHRIS EVANS
Alicia Vikander has been on an absolute roll over the past year (one pretty much everyone saw coming), and it doesn’t look like she plans on slowing down. After starring in Testament of Youth, Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Danish Girl, and now Jason Bourne, she is turning next to rebooting the Lara Croft franchise in the leading role. She has shown that she can tackle a variety of parts, which has made her one of the most sought-after talents working today.
And who better to pair with Hollywood’s golden girl than America’s most beloved hero…Chris Evans? Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War were both phenomenal successes, largely thanks to Evans being the most likable person alive. Vikander has been working her way through an incredible list of co-stars like Oscar Isaac, Kit Harington, Henry Cavill, and Matt Damon. The only logical step up is to work with the Star-Spangled Avenger himself. Combine Vikander’s recent rise in popularity with Evans’ persistent boyish charm, and it sounds like a moneymaker.
1. GAL GADOT AND KIT HARINGTON
With the first trailer of Wonder Woman released at Comic Con, the pressure is on for the character’s film to top her thrilling cameo in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And a whole separate pile of pressure is added because she is one of the only female superheroes to get her own movie in recent years. With such high expectations mounting so many months out from the film’s premiere, it would seem that the film might be doomed from the start—but not if Gal Gadot has any say in it. It’s thanks to Gadot’s herculean and human performance as Wonder Woman that people are so excited to see what will happen in her film.
Kit Harington may know a thing or two about expectations and pressure looming large over one’s head as one of the most important characters in one of the most popular television series for several years running, Game of Thrones. He’s got a large part of the show resting on his back, and he’s handled the responsibility flawlessly. A lady who can play Wonder Woman with such authority needs a co-star who also can convince the world that he’s a true leader of the realm, and the man who knows nothing would be a natural fit.
Who do you want to see paired as romantic leads? Tell us in the comments!