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A guide to this fall's up-and-coming superstars

Vince Vaughn, Viggo Mortenson, and Tobey Maguire are among those actors to watch this year

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The problem with being the next big thing is that no sooner have you arrived than people start lining up to be the next you. This summer’s A Time to Kill brought us Matthew McConaughey, billed as the next Brad Pitt; this fall, McConaughey will already be old news. Who’s the next near-today, gone-tomorrow superstar? Contrary to what you might think, you can tell them apart, even if the hype all sounds the same. Just follow this simple formula and fill in the beefcakey blanks: Name (A) is only age (B), but his physical characteristic (C) and acting style (D) already have Hollywood saying he’s a leading man. This season, there’s his scene-stealing role as character (E) in movie (F), followed by a startling change of pace as role (G) in movie (H), guaranteed to get people talking. Watch out, more established leading man (I)!

A. Johnathon Schaech B. 26 C. Brooding good looks D. Quiet affability E. The lead singer F. That Thing You Do! G. Gwyneth Paltrow’s hapless fiance H. Kilronan I. Peter Gallagher

A. Vince Vaughn B. 26 C. Goofy good looks D. Free-and-easy improvisation E. A young single guy F. Swingers G. A nature photographer H. Lost World (Jurassic Park II) I. Tom Hanks

A. Skeet Ulrich B. 26 C. Grungy good looks D. Raw-and-rude scruffiness E. A miraculous healer F. Touch G. Neve Campbell’s boyfriend H. Scream I. Johnny Depp

A. Viggo Mortensen B. 37 C. Menacing good looks D. Smoldering restraint E. A Gone With the Wind-type suitor F. The Portrait of a Lady G. An arrogant bastard H. Daylight I. Jeff Bridges

A. Billy Crudup B. 27 C. Boyish good looks D. Hyperkinetic energy E. A juvenile delinquent-turned-killer F. Sleepers G. A long-distance runner H. Pre I. Tom Cruise

A. Tobey Maguire B. 21 C. Impish good looks D. Untutored charm E. A confused ’70s teenager F. The Ice Storm G. Who knows? H. Woody Allen’s next film I. Chris O’Donnell

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