Do child actresses go on to have bigger, better careers than child actors? I’m thinking here of performers who start their careers with major roles on TV or in movies as a pre-teen or young teenager. And, by ‘bigger, better’ I mean that they increase or at least maintain their level of artistic accomplishment, in terms of the size and frequency of roles, as adults.
Let’s look at a few examples:
- Anna Paquin – Wins an Oscar at the age of 11 for The Piano.
- Drew Barrymore – In Altered States at five years old (how big was her role?), then E.T. at seven.
- Natalie Portman – Stars in LÃƒÂ©on at 14.
- Scarlett Johansson – I can’t speak to her career before The Horse Whisperer at 14, but she’s been acting since she was 10.
- Kirsten Dunst – Has a major role in Interview a Vampire at the age of 12.
Now, who are the equivalent male actors? It seems to me that most leading men’s first recognizable role is as an adult. There are only a few that I can think of: Ron Howard, Jason Bateman (what was his first big role?)…who else?
It’s much easier to think of the misses: Corey Haim, Corey Feldamn, Wil Wheaton, Henry Thomas, Gary Coleman, Jake Lloyd, Haley Joel Osment and so forth.
I’m sure we can produce a similar list of misses for actresses, but the names don’t spring to mind as easily.
Do you think there’s any merit to this thesis? If so, why does it occur? Maybe it’s just a question of girls maturing faster than boys, and therefore dealing with their stardom better? Or maybe if a girl is pretty at 10 or 12, she’s going to be attractive at 25, while boys don’t develop as reliably?