6 Actors Who Gained Fame in YA Book-to-Screen Adaptations

Federica Bocco

The Hollywood star system is vast, and young Hollywood is expanding quickly. New stars are rising and gaining more and more popularity thanks to social media. Actors who star in an adaptation of a book series have more chances of unlocking the gates to Hollywood. If there is a pre-existing fanbase, the actor gains an immediate pool of loyal fans before the film or show comes out. Here are six actors who gained fame for portraying roles in YA book-to-screen adaptations.

Robert Pattinson

Pattinson as Cedric Diggory

Do you remember what pre-Twilight role most people associated Robert Pattinson with? Pattinson played the Hufflepuff Seeker and Triwizard champion, Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Pattinson as Edward Cullen

It wasn’t until 2008 that he became brooding vampire Edward Cullen, from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.

Dylan O’Brien

O'Brien as Stiles Stilinski

Dylan O’Brien became a fan favorite with his role of Stiles Stilinski in MTV’s hit series Teen Wolf. But, in 2014, O’Brien played Thomas, the lead role in The Maze Runner, a film adaptation of James Dashner’s book.

O'Brien as Thomas

O’Brien’s supernatural-loving Teen Wolf fans flocked to the Maze Runner‘s dystopian fandom and stuck around for its sequel.

The two characters don’t have much in common personality-wise, but they share O’Brien’s adorable pout. Teen Wolf is about to end, but The Maze Runner still has to finish its final installment. The Death Cure will premiere in 2018.

Katherine McNamara

McNamara as Lilith

Katherine McNamara won the hearts of YA fantasy fans when she was cast as Sonya, the leader of Group B, in The Maze Runner sequel. She is set to return for the third installment, The Death Cure. She also starred in R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: The Cabinet of Souls as Lilith.

McNamara as Clary Fray

Before the movie’s release, McNamara was also cast as the protagonist of Shadowhunters. Based on Cassandra Clare’s book series, The Mortal Instruments, the series depicts supernatural beings living in modern-day New York.

Shadowhunters‘ Clary Fray and Sonya have much in common, as McNamara’s determination and personality never fail to shine through her characters.

Jamie Campbell Bower

Bower as Caius Volturi

Jamie Campbell Bower has referred to himself as a “franchise whore” because he has played roles in both Twilight and Harry Potter films. He played Caius, one of the three Volturi brothers, in New Moon and its sequels and then played a small role as the young Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, appearing in photographs and quick flashbacks.

Bower as Jace Wayland

In 2013, he played Jace Wayland in the film City of Bones, the first attempt to adapt Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments to the screen. He was supposed to reprise the role in subsequent films, but the sequel was canceled, and he didn’t return for the role of Jace in the Shadowhunters series either.

Dominic Sherwood

Dominic Sherwood gained a solid fanbase in 2014 with his role as Christian Ozera in Vampire Academy, the film adaptation of Richelle Mead’s book of the same name. He reached worldwide recognition after appearing in Taylor Swift’s “Style” music video a year later.

Sherwood as Jace Wayland

Sherwood is now the male lead in Freeform’s Shadowhunters, stepping into the role previously played by Bower. Going from a vampire to a Shadowhunter who fights vampires couldn’t have been easy, but both characters share a brooding and sarcastic dark-hero personality.

Shailene Woodley

Woodley as Tris Prior

Shailene Woodley broke into the YA scene in 2014, when she played the protagonist of two blockbusters. One was Divergent, the first film in the Divergent series, adapted from Veronica Roth’s dystopian novel series of the same name. Woodley starred as Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior, a young girl from the Abnegation faction who discovers she is divergent and an enemy of the government.

Woodley as Hazel Grace Lancaster

That same year, Woodley also starred in The Fault in Our Stars. In the adaptation of John Green’s novel, Woodley played Hazel Grace Lancaster, a witty teenager who has terminal cancer. Her performance and the film received positive reviews from critics, but the response from the audience was huge.

Woodley later reprised her Divergent role in the sequel Insurgent in 2015 and Allegiant in 2016.

Federica Bocco
Federica is a communications / media studies / film / journalism student, and a high-functioning overachiever. Also an avid reader, aspiring writer, and tv show enthusiast. Can usually be found on Twitter fangirling about the latest episode or her newest book obsession.
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