We Need to Talk About These 5 Fall Film Performances

Last month, we brought you the standout performances of peak television season in a curated who’s who list of the rising stars taking over the small screen. Now, it’s time to do the same for film, and we couldn’t be more excited about this group! With the festival circuit well underway and streamers releasing their fall movie slates, we’ve gotten our first peek at the projects creating buzz and the fresh faces to keep on our radar.

We are far from genre snobs, so this year’s Ones to Watch in Film portfolio has a little bit of everything, from a highly anticipated mystery thriller and an escapist fantasy adventure to a chilling horror flick and two heartfelt dramas. But the actresses at the center of each story truly elevate these movies, so we set out to get to know each of them a little better with exclusive interviews and a peek at their fall fashion shopping lists. Go ahead and break out the popcorn! 


(Image credit: Claudia Kleefeld)

WHO: Chiara Aurelia

WHAT: Hear us out: Chiara Aurelia is the queen of highly addictive thrillers. The proof is in her IMDb résumé, which last year alone included noteworthy performances in Prime Video’s Tell Me Your Secrets, Freeform’s Cruel Summer, and Netflix’s Fear Street franchise. This fall, she’s keeping the streak alive with her latest project, Luckiest Girl Alive. When news broke of Aurelia’s casting in the Netflix adaptation of Jessica Knoll’s best-selling novel, the feeds went wild, and rightfully so. The 20-year-old is an excellent match with Mila Kunis (both take on the role of Tiffani "Ani” FaNelli at different points in her life) and carries the film’s heavier moments.

My first reaction to reading Luckiest Girl Alive was… I was immediately enthralled. I felt like this was such a strong and important story and something I really wanted to be a part of. 

The thing I enjoyed most about bringing Ani FaNelli to life on-screen was… Getting to work so closely with Jessica Knoll, Mike Barker, and everyone involved in this project. The safe and happy community that surrounded this film felt supportive in a way I’d never experienced before, and it really helped me bring Ani to life. 

To me, the makings of a great mystery thriller are… In the details! I think something fantastic about thrillers is they have the opportunity to make even the smallest details a huge part of the full story. Jessica Knoll and Mike Barker work together doing such an incredible job of perfecting even the smallest breadcrumb that ends up weaving together the entire film. You may even notice a literal actual breadcrumb if you watch the movie closely enough. 

The stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… The stories of powerful and unique women.

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Watching movies!

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… The honest answer? It totally depends on the day. Something that’s super exciting about being 20 years old is I’m still finding my sense of style, and it’s changed over the years. There’s such a pressure to find your "look,” and clothing and style in general are such a representation of who you are. In the last couple months, I feel like my style has totally transformed. I’ve started leaning into more simple, classic timeless pieces as I am starting to figure out what I like today as well as what feels good on me, and this takes time.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… A simple black dress.

My fall wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: David Muller)

WHO: Georgina Campbell

WHAT: Every year, it seems there is one horror film that is so truly unhinged and scary it becomes an instant cult classic. Think: Midsommar, Ma, and Malignant. This year, we’re placing our bets on Zach Cregger’s Barbarian. This darkly humorous tale about a double-booked Detroit rental home with some terrifying secrets is a smart and twisty ride from start to finish. But what really makes the film is its female lead Tess, played with a fierce assuredness by Georgina Campbell. The BAFTA-winning actress offers a fresh take on the conventional scream queen, delivering some of the film’s most chilling scenes. 

With Barbarian, writer and director Zach Cregger has created… A terrifyingly unique experience. He has written a wonderfully intelligent, funny, and, most of all, entertaining horror film. It’s a blast! 

My reaction to reading the script for the first time was… I was totally gripped from the start to the end. I just knew I wanted to be a part of this film. It’s always a special moment when you read a script and have a gut reaction that this is the job you’ve been waiting for. I read a lot of scripts, and I rarely get as excited about them as I did reading Zach’s.

One of my favorite memories working with this cast and crew is… Playing board games in the evenings and weekends. We were a nerdy bunch, and I absolutely loved it! 

The stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… Stories that are new and I haven’t seen before. When I saw Get Out, I felt that immediate excitement at seeing a new kind of horror film. It’s really refreshing! That’s a big reason why I jumped at the chance to do Barbarian. I’d never read a script like it before. 

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… I like reading and love murder mysteries and crime thrillers in particular. I enjoy gaming. I just got a PlayStation 5 for my birthday and almost cried with joy! I also like to do cross-stitch from time to time. It makes me feel very cozy. I love going to Barry’s Bootcamp. It’s becoming an obsession. It’s always hard dragging myself there in the morning, but afterwards, I always feel amazing. 

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… Jeans probably—loose, comfy ones.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Bags. I love a good handbag. They can elevate any outfit.

My fall wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Petros Kouiouris)

WHO: Kiana Madeira

WHAT: As a follow-up to her fantastic performance in Netflix’s Fear Street trilogy, Kiana Madeira is making waves again with her role in Brother, Clement Virgo’s adaptation of David Chariandy’s award-winning novel about two Jamaican Canadian brothers growing up in the violent Scarborough district of Toronto in the ’90s. The film—which explores themes of Black masculinity, family, and loyalty—premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews, including critics applauding Madeira, a Toronto native, for bringing the light as Aisha. It’s considered to be one of the year’s most powerful movies and surely a standout moment for the 29-year-old. 

Brother is a film everyone should see because… I truly believe there is a character in it for everyone to relate to and see themselves in. The core of the story is how music, community, and love can heal, and that is universal. We also all put our entire hearts and beings into this film, and when projects are a labor of love, they often evoke raw emotions in audiences and really allow them to connect with what we were feeling while embodying these characters. It is a film I am very proud to be a part of.

What attracted me to the project from the very beginning was… The care that our writer and director, Clement Virgo, took to stay true to the original novel by David Chariandy. I am an avid fiction reader, and our screenplay was wonderfully adapted to portray the essence of the world that David created. That was a clear indication of the integrity that this film would have, and I can truthfully say that the integrity was carried throughout the whole creation process.

In playing the part of Aisha, I could really resonate with… Her desire to share her life experiences and newfound wisdom with the people that she loves and cares about. Similar to myself, Aisha left her community to pursue her dreams, and when she returns, she is eager to pour her teachings into those that she feels were left behind. She is learning the lesson that everyone moves at their own pace and is on their own journey. Her intentions are pure and positive, although a little intrusive at times. This balancing act is something that I really resonate with.

The stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… The ones that push to change the narratives that exist in the real world: how women are viewed and their power so often underestimated, how Black people and people of color are depicted in the media, and how seldom we get to see the richness and beauty of their cultures on-screen. I am so excited to tell stories that challenge the way we view others, ourselves, and the world that we live in. I believe that art has the ability to elicit change, and I am grateful to be in this industry to be a part of that change and empower humans from all over the world.

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Sharing time with family and having game nights! We are a competitive bunch and love playing games like Monopoly Deal and Mario Kart. (The Nintendo 64 version is my favorite.) I also love taking personal time to read. It’s almost always a fiction novel. The only nonfiction you will consistently catch me reading is my Bible, which I read daily and helps keep my mind light and grounded in my truth. I also love going for walks, doing yoga, and meditating in the sauna.

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… One of my five pairs of Doc Martens, my jean jacket, and a hat up top. I live in New York City, and I am always striving for comfortability when I’m not working. Most of my Doc Martens have belonged to characters that I have played and are beautifully worn in. Have you ever truly worn in a pair of Doc Martens? They fit like a glove!

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Hats! I love a good hat for each season. I think they are the perfect way to enhance or dress up a simple outfit. At the same time, they can also add a level of ease and a laid-back vibe, depending on what you’re going for. They are multipurpose, practical, and take a lot of pressure off of my lifelong question—how should I do my hair?

My fall wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Sophie Elgort)

WHO: Sophia Anne Caruso

WHAT: Sometimes, what you really need in life is an escapist fantasy adventure, and that is precisely what you get with Netflix’s The School for Good and Evil. Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and based on the best-selling YA book series, the film follows best friends Sophie and Agatha, who are swept away to an enchanting school where fairytale heroes and villains are created. It has Charlize Theron (as Lady Lesso), Kerry Washington (as Professor Dovey), couture-inspired costumes, epic battle scenes, and two scene-stealing fresh faces. Sophia Anne Caruso, who plays good-girl Sophie, is a joy to watch, especially during a particularly stylish fashion-makeover scene. As she has already made a name for herself in the theater world (she originated the role of Lydia Deetz in the musical Beetlejuice), we’re excited to see more from the 21-year-old on-screen. 

Stepping on to the set of The School for Good and Evil was… Real magic. Each set and costume is so intricate and detailed. I was swept away into our fantasy world and completely immersed in each moment. 

Sophie is a character that really resonated with me because… She represents the good and evil that lives in all of us. Her heart is in the right place, but her flaws are certainly painful for her. I think we can all relate to that feeling. 

Sophie has so many great looks in this film, but my favorite of hers is… The antique pointy-shoulder top I wear with a bubble skirt in the montage. All of my costumes were custom-built, but that particular piece was very old. I’m also a huge fan of my warrior look—black oiled jeans with platform-heel boots, a corset, and a custom leather body tie with matching gauntlets. 

The stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… All unique. I’m not chained to one style or message. I want to do work that ignites something in me. I like a good challenge and pushing boundaries in style and topic. With The School for Good and Evil, I’m most excited to share a story about two young women and their story of friendship.

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Writing poetry, restoring vintage furniture, reimagining/sewing vintage lingerie, painting, and… so much more. My time is always spent doing something artistic. 

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… Something totally different from the day before. I change my style around every day depending on my mood and what I’m up to. Often, a vintage slip and pearls and a beaded sweater. Sometimes, I’ll do bell-bottoms and a blouse or pencil skirts. I usually go era specific and build on that. I’d say 90% of my wardrobe is vintage or secondhand. If you pair it with classy jewelry and a nice handbag, you can pull anything off. 

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… The 1940s. My hair is often in victory rolls, and I love a bold red lip. I even have some vintage pinups on my bedroom wall. I also love a ridiculously large ’80s shoulder pad. Can’t forget loafers—I just love them. 

My fall wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…


(Image credit: Shuttershock)

WHO: Tamara Lawrance

WHAT: Before landing in theaters late last month, The Silent Twins had an impressive world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section. Its stars, Tamara Lawrance and Letitia Wright, received rave reviews for their knockout portrayals of real-life identical twins Jennifer and June Gibbons. The story of the Gibbons sisters is one of otherness and tragedy that is beautifully depicted in the film, which serves as Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska’s English-language debut. While both actresses serve up unforgettable performances, we’ve got our eye on 28-year-old Lawrance, who also served as an executive producer on the project.

The story of real-life identical twins June and Jennifer Gibbons was one that really stuck with me because… Of how much duality exists in the piece! It was eye-opening to learn of both the love and the toxicity of their twinship, the internal expressiveness contrasting the external silence. The story also exemplifies for me how dangerous it can be to misjudge people. The pathos of it all lies in the dire ramifications of being misunderstood.

In my portrayal of Jennifer Gibbons, it was important that I… Humanise her by finding nuance to her personality in order to debunk the prevailing belief that she was the more dominant or sinister twin.

Working alongside my on-screen twin Letitia Wright was… Inspiring! Watching her work was a treat, and to balance out the gravity of the subject matter, we made sure to laugh a lot and have fun during the shoot.

The stories that make me feel excited to work in this industry are… Those that highlight communities or individuals in ways that subvert stereotypes and challenge the zeitgeist. Story lines and characters that ignite consciousness alongside nonconventional storytelling formats. The type of project that leaves the audience enlightened/fired up/pensive for the rest of the week by having experienced it or thinking, "How the [redacted] did they create that?!”

Outside of acting, some of my other passions include… Roller-skating, learning French, epigenetics, interior design.

If you catch me off duty, chances are I’m wearing… Something tight on top and baggy on the bottom. Normalise crop tops all year round.

When it comes to fashion, I’m a total sucker for… Hats, shades, and flatform chunky boots.

My fall wardrobe would not be complete without these three pieces…

Up next: meet the breakout stars of fall's TV lineup.

Executive Director, Entertainment

Jessica Baker is Who What Wear’s Executive Director, Entertainment, where she ideates, books, writes, and edits celebrity and entertainment features.