Back in the day, it seemed like Hollywood only had a handful of leading men to choose from. But the entertainment industry has certainly changed a lot in the last decade. Now, there’s way more content available than ever before — which is largely thanks to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. And this also means that there are a lot more leading men to feast our eyes upon.
While actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney continue to top lists of the most attractive and talented celebrities working today, we hate to say it, but these guys are getting up there in age. But instead of just a handful of younger actors slowly stepping up to fill in the roles these men would have played years before, there are dozens upon dozens of stars who now get to enjoy the spotlight.
In other words, there’s now something out there for everyone. But just because many of these leading men are amazingly attractive, doesn't necessarily mean they'd make the best husbands for just anyone. So let’s take a look at some of the most successful leading men working today and see if we can pin down the perfect soulmate!
Jamie Dornan enjoyed widespread recognition when he landed the role of Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades film series. While the movies were pretty much disliked by critics, they were still massively popular amongst fans, making Dornan a favorite to many. The series recently wrapped up with this year’s Fifty Shades Freed.
The God of Thunder himself, Chris Hemsworth stardom really took off when he landed the role of Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s since reprised the role numerous times since, and he is expected to appear in the upcoming Avengers 4. However, the Australian actor has also popped up in movies including The Cabin in the Woods and Ghostbusters.
Known for portraying very intense characters, many mainstream audiences probably got their first look at Michael Fassbender when he appeared in the 2009 World WII fantasy film Inglourious Basterds. He’s since gone on to star in such films including Steve Jobs, Prometheus, as well as the X-Men movies, where he plays a younger Magneto.
Idris Elba strolled onto the scene when he portrayed Stinger Bell in the hit HBO crime-drama The Wire. But the actor has since shown just how much range he has, turning up in everything from The Office to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He played the lead in last year’s The Dark Tower, which unfortunately was not received well.
One of many famous Chris’s, Chris Pine is probably best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in the Star Trek reboot series. But he’s played the lead in plenty of other films as well, including This Means War and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. He’s also set to reprise his role as the love interest in Wonder Woman 1984.
Orlando Bloom sky-rocketed to fame in the early 2000s after landing leading roles in both The Lord of the Rings and The Pirates of the Caribbean franchises. He would reprise his roles of Legolas and Will Turner throughout multiple sequels, though he’s also appeared in his fair share of dramas and romance movies as well.
Though he may be best-known for playing the Man of Steel in the DC Extended Universe, it looks like Henry Cavill is actually severing ties with Superman. After all, he’s already enjoyed success in a number of other better-reviewed movies, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible — Fallout. He’s also set to star in The Witcher Netflix series.
One of the two leads in the 2004 film The Notebook, Ryan Gosling was an early favorite amongst romance movie fans. But the actor has certainly starred in his fair share of other genres, including everything from the hard-hitting drama Half Nelson to the light rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love. He more recently played the lead in 2017’s Blade Runner 2049.
At the start of Game of Thrones, it didn’t look like Jon Snow was going to be all that important. But with the final season of the HBO fantasy series quickly approaching, Snow is one of the favorites to win the Iron Throne. The character is, of course, portrayed by British actor Kit Harrington.
Plenty of A-list actors give amazing performances. They wouldn’t be on the A-list of they didn’t, after all. But few seem to commit as much as Christian Bale, who has gone through a number of intense physical-transformation for his films. Some of his biggest roles to date include Batman in The Dark Knight trilogy and Dicky Ecklund in The Fighter.
There’s probably not a whole lot of women out there who would say they would ever divorce Leonardo DiCaprio. He played the lead in one of the most beloved romance movies of all time, after all. But consider for a moment his dating history; he doesn’t seem like he’s the most eager to settle down.
Ryan Reynolds has been working in Hollywood since the ‘90s. But he seems to have achieved a whole other level of success with his latest string of superhero movies, which find Reynolds suiting up to play the Merc with a Mouth. He is married to fellow actress Black Lively, and together, they have two daughters.
Yet another leading man who heads up a superhero franchise, Chris Evans first appeared as Captain America in 2011, and he’s been a staple of the MCU ever since. However, Evans had previously appeared in a number of other comic book movies as well, including Fantastic Four, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The Losers.
Stephen Amell plays the lead of Oliver Queen on the massively popular CW series Arrow. He’s gone on to reprise the character in a number of spin-off shows, including The Flash, Supergirl, and DC’s Legend of Tomorrow. He’s also popped up at a number of WWE events after being a fan of the sport for most of his life.
Best known for playing the vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight film series, Robert Pattinson seems like he’s going to great lengths in recent years to distance himself from the franchise. Because while it may have brought him fame and fortune, it didn’t exactly leave a lasting impression on critics.
One of the biggest leading men of all time, Brad Pitt first broke onto the scene with his small part in 1991’s Thelma & Louise, where he played the handsome drifter known only as J.D. Interestingly enough, Pitt has appeared in more ensemble projects to date as opposed to simply playing the lead.
Of course, Justin Timberlake is best known for being a musician. But he’s also had a pretty successful career as an actor. In 2011, he played one of the leads in the rom-com Friends with Benefits, and he’s also popped up in the critically acclaimed films The Social Network and Inside Llewyn Davis.
After appearing in a number of lesser-known hits, including Attack the Block, John Boyega landed a leading role in the new Star Wars trilogy, where he plays Finn — a First Order Stormtrooper who goes onto join the Resistance. Since then, he’s become a leading man in his own right, showing up in Detroit and Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Though he’s managed to succeed beyond the massively popular fantasy franchise, Daniel Radcliffe will forever be synonymous with playing Harry Potter. He first appeared as the character in 2001’s The Sorcerer’s Stone and would go onto reprise the role in seven sequels. Since then, he has starred in The Woman in Black and Swiss Army Man.
Best known for playing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tom Hiddleston is an English actor who has been working professionally since the early 2000s. Outside of the MCU, he’s starred in the feature films Midnight in Paris, War Horse, and Crimson Peak. He’s also played the lead in the TV serial The Night Manager.
Matt Damon’s career really took off in the late ‘90s, when he starred as the title character in Good Will Hunting — a script which he had written alongside his real-life friend, Ben Affleck. Since then, the actor has headlined a number of massively successful features, including The Bourne Identity, The Departed, and The Martian.
Though he’s ventured into much more dramatic work, Bradley Cooper made his first big splash when he starred in the comedy masterpiece The Hangover — which grossed nearly half a billion dollars and went on to spawn to sequels. He’s set to make his directorial debut with this year’s A Star is Born.
After starring in a number of TV movies and lesser-known films, Tom Hardy really broke onto the scene with 2010’s Inception, where he starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. But Hardy would soon become a leading man of his own, popping up in films including Warrior, Mad Max: Fury Road, and the forthcoming Venom.
Jensen Ackles is best known for playing Dean Winchester on the massively popular CW series Supernatural. The show has already run for an astounding 13 seasons and well over 200 episodes, with the fourth season set to premiere in October of this year. So are you a fan of the actor and the series?
Most probably remember getting a glimpse of James McAvoy when he played Mr. Tumnus in the beloved adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Just a few years later, he was cast as the love interest in the Best Picture nominee Atonement opposite Keira Knightley. Since then, he's starred in a number of blockbusters.
Ever since the 2004 big screen adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera, Gerard Butler has been leading man material. But most probably took note of him when he appeared as King Leonidas in 300 a few years later. Since then, he’s starred in everything from action flicks to romantic comedies.
At the start of his acting career, Channing Tatum was largely known for playing the lead in romantic movies that were often targeted to a female audience. But since then, Tatum has more than proven himself as a competent dramatic and comedic actor as well, popping up in movies such as Foxcatcher and 21 Jump Street.
One of the biggest leading men working today, Chris Pratt’s film career really kicked off when he underwent a physical transformation, turning him from a sitcom star to an action hero seemingly overnight. He’s now the face of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy franchise as well as the new Jurassic Park series.
Much like Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac is another leading man who can truly disappear into his characters — possibly as a result of the actor staying away from the limelight in real-life. This also allows him to dip his toe in everything from indie dramas to big budget action movies, including the new Star Wars trilogy.
Johnny Depp has been one of Hollywood’s more unusual leading men for a little over a quarter of a century. His frequent collaborations with writer/ director Tim Burton earned him much notoriety at the beginning of his film career, and he has since become the face of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
Jake Gyllenhaal has been acting professionally since 1991 when he appeared as Danny Robbins in Billy Crystal comedy City Slickers. But Gyllenhaal has certainly come a long way since then, playing the lead in everything from romantic comedies like Love & Other Drugs to gritty crime dramas like End of Watch.
Best known for playing Jax Teller on the wildly popular FX series Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Hunnam has had a bit of a bumpy ride trying to make his transition to the big screen. While some of his films have received critical acclaim, including Crimson Peak and The Lost City of Z, they haven’t been very commercially successful.
Ever since he appeared in True Blood as the vampire Eric Northam, Alexander Skarsgard has been a favorite to many women and men alike. The Swedish-born actor has since played the lead in the feature films Mute and The Legend of Tarzan, along with popping up in the HBO series Big Little Lies.
Much like Channing Tatum, Zac Efron is another young leading man who was largely known for heading up romance movies. But the actor has since delved into more comedic work that appeals to both men and women alike with movies like Neighbors and Baywatch. He most recently appeared in 2017’s The Greatest Showman.
Lead singer of 30 Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto has enjoyed an accomplished career as both a musician and an actor. Some of his biggest movies to date include Requiem for a Dream, Chapter 27, and Blade Runner 2049. He even won an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.
36Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has been headlining movies since the 1980s, but today, he’s best known for playing Tony Stark/ Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, he's also the star of another blockbuster film franchise with his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes — a role he’s expected to reprise in 2020.
Ben Affleck’s leading man status seems a bit shaky in the last few years. The actor seems like he’s no longer interested in playing Batman — a role he’s been obsessed with for decades — and his latest directorial effort also didn’t do so hot. But would you still be happy to call him your husband?
Ever since projects like Mud, Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective, Matthew McConaughey has massively revamped his acting career — which had fallen into a slump of romance movies and comedies. But since he’s started taking dramatic work more seriously again, he’s gone on to win an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Though he largely began as a comedic actor — popping up in shows like In Living Color and his very own sitcom — Jaime Foxx now enjoys a dramatic film career. Some of his most acclaimed performances to date include his portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray and the lead character in Django Unchained.
After a troubled childhood and adolescents, former rapper and model Mark Wahlberg massively turned his life around, going on to become one of the biggest leading men in Hollywood. He’s been a face of the Transformers franchise and has also been nominated for a number of Academy Awards for his performances in The Fighter and The Departed.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been acting professionally since before he was 10 years old. Some of his earlier works include Angles in the Outfield and 3rd Rock from the Sun. But more recently, he’s played the leading man in such films as Looper, Don Jon, 50/50. But is he your type?
Joaquin Phoenix exhibits a raw intensity that not too many mainstream actors seem to go for. While he’s been surrounded by his fair share of controversy in years past, most critics won’t deny the powerful performances he’s given in such films as The Master and You Were Never Really Here.
Similarly to Joaquin Phoenix, Shia LaBeouf has also seen his fair share of controversy. Except LaBeouf’s almost never seems to settle down. He’s had multiple run-ins with the law and has actively tried to distance himself from earlier work. But he certainly still managed to maintain an appeal to many viewers.
Though he often plays the film’s hero, some of Denzel Washington’s best-reviewed performance come when he suits up as the story's bad guy — as seen in such films as Training Day, American Gangster and He Got Game. Washington most recently reprised his role as Robert McCall for The Equalizer 2.
In 2012, Mark Ruffalo suited up to play Bruce Banner/ the Hulk in the MCU after Edward Norton chose not to reprise his role. Since then, Ruffalo has continued to reprise his role as the complicated hero. But the actor has also starred in a number of harder hitting films, including Spotlight, which won Best Picture of the Year.
At only the age of 26, Logan Lerman has already headed up his fair share of feature films. He landed the role of the title character in the Percy Jackson film series before going onto more dramatic work in movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fury. He’s set to star in the upcoming End of Sentence.
After starring in a string of TV shows, Emile Hirsch landed his first leading role in 2002’s The Mudge Boy. But most people probably first remember seeing him in 2004’s The Girl Next Door or 2007’s Into the Wild. The actor now seems to enjoy seeking out smaller, more experimental projects.
48Michael B. Jordan
Though he may have played the villain in this year’s Black Panther, many argued that Michael B. Jordan ended up stealing the spotlight thanks to the actor’s undeniable charisma. He’s also played the lead in the critically acclaimed films Fruitvale Station and Creed — a role he’s expected to reprise later this year.
Though he’s only played the lead in a handful of films, many people probably still recognize Nicholas Hoult from his supporting work in movies like Mad Max: Fury Road or the X-Men franchise. Granted, in those two examples the actor is covered in a lot of makeup, but that doesn’t make the performances any less memorable.
Ever since he appeared in 2007’s No Country For Old Men — a performance which won him an Academy Award — Javier Bardem has become synonymous with playing villains. He’s gone on to play the antagonist in the James Bond film Skyfall, as well as for the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.