8 MAY 2007

He's not what you call a conventional sex symbol and has been described as having that "pasty Scots totty appeal", but it seems James McAvoy is well and truly on his way to becoming one of Hollywood's leading men. The Glaswegian actor is among several names being touted as the next generation of heart-throbs to replace the likes of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the eyes of younger audiences.

After making his name on the small screen in gritty drama Shameless, the 28-year-old has not been out of work since. Once employed to ice cakes at Sainsbury's, he is currently filming opposite cinematic siren Angelina Jolie in Wanted as a secret super-assassin and also has a lead role in the upcoming Atonement opposite Keira Knightley.

It was his role as Mr Tumnus in The Chronicles Of Narnia and his Bafta-nominated turn in The Last King Of Scotland that made Hollywood sit up and listen. While he romances Tinseltown's hottest female talents on screen - including Anne Hathaway in the recent Becoming Jane - back home in London's Crouch End, however, he is happily settled down with wife and former Shameless co-star Anne-Marie Duff whom he married last September.

While only a handful of stars earn $20 million plus per picture, it seems James could well be on his way to joining the elite group currently occupied by the George Clooneys of this world.

And he's not the only one. Californian hunk Emile Hirsch is only 22 but he's already winning leading roles. After starting out with appearances in ER and Sabrina The Teenage Witch he quickly graduated to movies, starring opposite Kevin Kline in 2002's The Emperor's Club and alongside Bruce Willis in Alpha Dog. This year he's set to consolidate his box office appeal with adventure drama Into The Wild directed by Sean Penn.

Another name generating buzz is that of Aussie actor Sam Worthington, 30, until now relatively unknown outside of his native Oz. But the Perth-born heart-breaker is set to get a much wider fanbase after shooting this year's crocodile thriller Rogue and Last Man, a Vietnam-based drama due for release in 2008. He's also been picked as the lead in James Cameron's new sci-fi adventure Avatar.

Handsome 20-year-old American Shia La Beof is another name tipped for the top. The lead in 2007's Disturbia, he's signed up to star in the fourth India Jones flick and is already a veteran of awards ceremonies thanks to last year's role in ensemble drama Bobby.

Channing Tatum has enjoyed an equally rapid rise to fame. After making his TV debut in 2004 with CSI Miami the 27-year-old from Albama parlayed that success onto the big screen with Coach Carter and She's The Man. His movie star good looks have also led to modelling work for Emporio Armani, Gap and Dolce and Gabbana. Keep an eye out for him in 2007 alongside Ryan Phillippe in Iraq war drama Stop Loss and Stuart Townsend's Battle In Seattle with Ray Liotta and Charlize Theron.

Click here to see James in the trailer for Atonement

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Move over Ewan McGregor, there's a new Scot in Tinseltown. James McAvoy, seen here in Atonement, in which he stars opposite Keira Knightley, is already a hot property in Hollywood Click on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Another handsome newcomer looking set to fill the shoes of old guard screen hunks is Alpha Dog star Emile Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Aussie native Sam, who stars in this year's croc drama Rogue, is also generating new generation buzzPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Martial arts expert and Armani model Channing is set to send pulses racing on the big screen this yearPhoto: © Getty Images

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