There’s a story in Hollywood that, a few years ago, John Travolta was willing to work for peanuts for the role that would put his career back on track. Then Pulp Fiction restored his box-office appeal and he was back on the A-list. Now Jude Law has joined the Tinseltown elite. Not only is he said to be commanding $20m for his next role, but he can choose the director, his co-stars and have script control. It’s that power, and the pay check, that defines membership of the elite. But who are the Brits that have it?

Directors, actors, producers whose films consistently generate huge profits; writers, executives and agents who can package a winning team. Here is the A-list of British big shots, the masters and commanders of movies and television, and the B-list — those for whom talent is currently not enough to win promotion.


Our writers scoured the industry for “insider” information in compiling this list. Our sources were both British and American Hollywood professionals and executives — those in the know from all branches of the industry who work daily with the names who can make or break projects. We have included television production.

Once a separate industry, it is now a prominent contributor to Hollywood names, projects and profits with crossover development and spin-off franchises.


To ensure that we won’t just remember him as the elf Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, in the past year Orlando Bloom has appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean, Troy, and the “mockumentary” boxing film The Calcium Kid. Six feet tall with classical good looks, he has acquired heartthrob status and a place last year in People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list. Luck was on his side in 1998 when he quickly recovered from breaking his back after falling three storeys from a rooftop terrace (he also broke a rib while filming Lord of the Rings). He’s certainly come a long way since playing bit parts in Casualty. Next up is the lead role in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, the sequel to Pirates, and Elizabethtown, with Kirsten Dunst. It all makes the 27-year-old from Canterbury, whose movie debut was as a rent boy in Wilde, in 1998, one of the biggest young stars.