You may have heard that the new Dylan O’Brien movie, “The Maze Runner,” was No. 1 at the box office last weekend, raking in $32 million. Which may have caused you to wonder: Who’s Dylan O’Brien?
Fair question. Short answer: The second-billed dude from MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” Longer answer: O’Brien is one in a slew of essentially indistinguishable young actors who have flooded the market in recent months as Hollywood studios try to cash in on the craze for YA novels-turned-movies.
As movies such as “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “The Fault in Our Stars” rack up hundreds of millions at the box office, the dynamic female stars – Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley – are the ones getting magazine covers and extremely high paychecks. Yet the male actors in similar films don’t get the same attention, which makes it extremely difficult to remember who is who and from which movie.
Here’s our helpful guide to telling these guys apart:
YA movie role: Group leader in “The Maze Runner,” based on the sci-fi books about a group of teens trapped in a terrifying maze.
You might know him as: The BFF of the wolf on MTV’s “Teen Wolf.” Not ringing a bell? Daily Dot called him “the most popular actor you’ve never heard of.”
Shot at stardom: Solid. “Teen Wolf” fans are pretty obsessed, and “Maze Runner” was a huge hit. Next up: “The Maze Runner” sequel, naturally.
Tabloid potential: His relationship with CW starlet Britt Robertson has been dutifully chronicled (J-14 offers “14 Adorable Pictures of Dylan O’Brien and Britt Robertson”). Plus, People magazine dubbed him a “superstar.”
YA movie role: Gus, the charismatic, wildly intelligent teen with terminal cancer in “The Fault in Our Stars,” based on the best-selling novel that inspired a fiercely devoted fan base.
You might know him as: The guy who was in not one but two Shailene Woodley movies: “Fault” and “Divergent.”
Shot at stardom: Pretty good, based on the shrieks at the Teen Choice Awards. The second “Divergent” movie doesn’t even come out until next year, and he’ll be back in theaters during awards season in the grown-up Jason Reitman comedy, “Men, Women & Children.”
Tabloid potential: Manages to get in a lot of photos with Woodley, though it’s said to be platonic.
YA movie role: The hero Jonas in “The Giver” (adapted from Lois Lowry’s classic book) as he fights against a dystopian society.
You might also know him as: A star on Australian soap opera “Home and Away.” Not ringing a bell? Well, he had a small part as Prince Phillip in “Maleficent.”
Shot at stardom: “The Giver” performed poorly at the box office, but he has another at-bat with a role in a huge Gerard Butler action movie (“Gods of Egypt”) next year.
Tabloid potential: Nothing at the moment. Time to start strategically dating a co-star!
YA movie role: He started a mini-revolution with Shailene Woodley’s character in “Divergent,” the popular trilogy adapted into a movie with many “Hunger Games” comparisons, and became her love interest.
You might know also him as: Mr. Pamuk from “Downton Abbey,” also known as the seductive Turkish diplomat who drops dead in Lady Mary’s bed.
Shot at stardom: Middling so far. Despite a Teen Choice Award, he’s not as well known – a couple of films but nothing big lined up beyond the “Divergent” sequel.
Tabloid potential: Much better, thanks to a persistent buzz about his maybe-not-platonic relationship with Woodley.
YA movie role: The lovable Peeta in “The Hunger Games,” which returns for a third installment (“Mockingjay”) this November.
You might know also him as: The teen who gave an impressive performance in the Annette Benning-Julianne Moore drama “The Kids Are All Right.”
Shot at stardom: We’ll go out on a limb and say he’s already there – with many film credits to his name (“Bridge to Terebithia,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Red Dawn”) and the final two “Hunger Games” movies through next year. Though at first he was considered the guy who wasn’t Liam Hemsworth in the triology, fans are eating up the Peeta-Katniss-Gale love triangle.
Tabloid potential: Excellent. Dating his “Journey 2” co-star Vanessa Hudgens was an excellent move.