Summer’s Leading Men

We’re now well past Memorial Day, and the annual summer movie boom is officially upon us. This year’s offerings are as action-packed, goofy, and just plain big (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, anyone?) as ever. Of course, it’s impossible to heat up the screen without the right leading man, and these upcoming blockbusters do not disappoint. From Leonardo DiCaprio as a mind-reading thief to Kieran Culkin as a quirky comic book sidekick to James Franco as Elizabeth Gilbert’s final rebound, there’s something to suit every taste and style. Click through for our roundup of the Boys of Summer 2010.

See James Franco

James Franco in Eat, Pray, Love

We should all be so lucky as Julia Roberts’s Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, who, in the wake of a bad breakup, has the luxury of picking up Franco as a rebound (August 13). 

Last summer movie: Pineapple Express

Summer plans:  Franco will be reprising his role as a murderous artist on General Hospital and preparing to enter Yale to begin his third graduate degree.

See Kieran Culkin

Kieran Culkin in Scott Pilgram Vs. The World

Culkin brings his family’s signature placidity to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World as Wallace Wells, the “cool gay roommate” of Michael Cera’s less level-headed hero. (August 13).

Last summer movie: The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys

Summer plans: Culkin is filming a currently unititled sketch comedy project that also stars Elizabeth Banks, Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber.

See Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher in KILLERS

In Killers, Kutcher plays Spencer Aimes, a former assassin-turned-suburban husband who is  forced out of retirement when he learns that he’s become the target of a multi-million dollar hit. In between protecting his wife (Kathering Heigl), attempting to figure out who is targeting him, and keeping up appearances, Kutcher will have to pull out all the stops on that bumbling charm we know–and love–so well.

Last summer movie: My Boss’s Daughter

Summer plans: Twittering and filming Friends with Benefits in L.A. with Natalie Portman.

See Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin in Jonah Hex

Based on a DC Comics series of the same name, Jonah Hex (out June 18) allows Brolin to play another menacing hero. Disfigured, half-dead, and accompanied by Megan Fox, Jonah agrees to track down a deadly terrorist (John Malkovich) in exchange for freedom from the various warrants the U.S. government has placed on his head. 

Last summer movie: Hollow Man

Summer plans: Preparing for Men in Black III

See Chace Crawford

Chace Crawford in Twelve

Hello, Upper East Siders: Chace Crawford is back in the neighborhood, this time as the star of the film adaptation of Twelve, Nick McDonell’s 2002 novel of fear and loathing among the Manhattan prep school set. As the drug dealer White Mike, Crawford might just make you forget about Nate Archibald–for a minute (July 2). 

Summer plans: Having pulled out of Footloose it seems that Chace will be able to do some unexpected relaxing this summer.

See Josh Hutcherson

Josh Hutcherson in The Kids Are All Right

In The Kids Are All Right (July 9), in which he plays Laser, the teenaged son of a lesbian couple (Annette Benning and Julianne Moore) who convinces his sister (Mia Wasikowska) to help him find their sperm-donor dad (Mark Ruffalo).  It’s a far cry from Bridge to Terabithia, but everyone has to grow up sometime.

Last summer movie: Journey to the Center of the Earth

Summer plans: Battling it out with Jamie Bell, Andrew Garfield, Frank Dillane, and Alden Ehrenreich to star in the new Spider-Man movie.

See Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd in Dinner For Schmucks

In Dinner for Schmucks, a remake of Francis Veber’s The Dinner Game, Rudd recruits an absurd IRS agent (Steve Carell) to attend his boss’s monthly soiree for “idiots.” Can the duo re-create the alchemy of The 40-Year-Old Virgin? Only one way to find out (July 23). 

Last summer movie: Knocked Up

Summer plans: Getting ready to team up with Judd Apatow again for My Idiot Brother.

See Chiwetel Ejiofor

Chiwetel Ejiofor in Salt

In 2010, Ejiofor managed to survive the end of the world, but can he take down Angelina Jolie? In Salt (July 23), he’s tasked with chasing down the larger-than-life actress, who plays the runaway CIA officer of the film’s title. 

Last summer movie: Talk to Me

Summer plans: Having just been attached to Steve McQueen’s new biobic on Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti we’re guessing Ejiofor is going to be honing his musical talents.

See Xavier Samuel

Xavier Samuel in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Get used to this face, because it’s about to be everywhere: As Riley, the leader of an army of newborn vampires in Eclipse, Samuel is the newest addition to the world’s most popular clique.

Summer plans:  Filming Anonymous with Vanessa Redgrave and Rhys Ifans; hiding from adolescent girls. 

See Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception

In the sci-fi Inception, DiCaprio plays a thief who specializes in extracting secrets from the subconscious minds of his targets (July 16). So, clear your mind–or take it as an opportunity to let him know how you’ve always felt.

Summer plans: Working with the World Wildlife Fund to save tigers from extinction is Asia.

See Casey Affleck

Casey Affleck in The Killer Inside Me

Meet your new American psycho: In The Killer Inside Me, Affleck plays Lou Ford, a young deputy sheriff in 1950s Texas who masks homicidal tendencies and paranoia behind an endless supply of local-yokel bon mots and his small town’s mundanity (June 18).

Last summer movie: Ocean’s Thirteen

Summer plans: Getting ready to bring the documentary he filmed about brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix’s reinvention as a rapper to the world.