Monday, June 03, 2013

The Perils of Prepubescent Prominence

A conversation I frequently have, both with my MovieFilm colleagues and my students, is about the way Hollywood churns up and spits out promising young stars. Those young actors who actually manage a successful transition from precocious youngling to Tiger Beat cover star to regular working actor are few and far between, and are far outnumbered by the tragic, comical, or tragicomic cases such as Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, the entire cast of Diff'rent Strokes, etc.

Children are used by the machine as long as they're deemed valuable to the corporate bottom line, after which they're kicked to the curb with no few life or social skills to speak of after being trained to view themselves and others as a commodity all their lives. This isn't just an isolated phenomenon, as Hollywood history is littered with similar such cases. For some insider perspective on the troubling travails of child stars, here's Mara Wilson (remember her from Matilda?), who lists seven possibilities for why the frequency of child star meltdowns is so high.

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