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Where are they now?

Writer: Roy Lim Jian-Min

There are many child stars that have started from television sitcoms to slowly making their way into feature films. While some sustained their rise to fame and some have crashed and burned due to the lack of roles that suit them. This is a look at how the child stars rose to fame and their present career.

Christian Bale

THEN: One of his first roles was in Steven Spielberg's "Empire Of The Sun", in which he was recommended by Amy Irving when he was just 12-years-old. He went on to star in a made-for-TV version of Treasure Island, Newsies and Swing Kids a few years later.

NOW: He is a bona-fide superstar as he the star in the world's sixth highest grossing movie, "The Dark Knight"! He has proven that he's as good as they come with films like "American Psycho", "The Machinist", "Rescue Dawn", "The Prestige", "I'm Not There" and "Terminator Salvation".

Natalie Portman 

THEN: Co-starring alongside Jean Reno is no easy task for any actor in general, let alone a 13-year-old child actor, but Natalie Portman proved that she was a talent back in 1992 as his sidekick in "Leon". She was also featured in movies like "Heat" and "Beautiful Girls".                                  

NOW: In addition to playing Padme Amidala in the "Star Wars" prequels, Natalie earned an Oscar nod in 2002 for her role in "Closer" and has since shone in "V for Vendetta" and "The Other Boleyn Girl". This smart girl also graduated with a degree in Psychology in 2003 at the prestigious Harvard University! Catch her in upcoming superhero myth "Thor", slated for 2011.

Leonardo DiCaprio

THEN: Leonardo DiCaprio's career began with his appearing in several commercials and educational films. He got his break on television in 1990 when he was cast in the short-lived series based on the movie "Parenthood". On set, he met another struggling child actor, Tobey Maguire. After Parenthood, DiCaprio had bit parts on several shows, including The New Lassie and Roseanne, as well as a brief stint on the soap opera Santa Barbara, playing the young Mason Capwell.

NOW: Leonardo DiCaprio is a star on his own after his role as Jack Dawson in "Titanic" (1997), which has now become the 2nd highest grossing movie ever. He has acted in many successful films such as "Romeo + Juliet", "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Departed". He has garnered nominations for Best Actor in the Academy Awards for his portrayal in "The Aviator" and "Blood Diamond". He is also an environmentalist, producing "The 11th Hour" that premiered at the 60th Annual Cannes Film Festival in 2007. He will also star in upcoming action thriller "Inception".

Drew Barrymore

THEN: Barrymore's career began when she auditioned for a dog food commercial at 11 months old where she was bitten by her canine co-star. The producers were afraid she would cry, but she merely laughed. Needless to say, she was hired for the job! She made her film debut in "Altered States" (1980). And a year later, she landed the role of Gertie in "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), which made her famous and became the goddaughter of Steven Spielberg.

NOW: Though her teenage years have been riddled with drug and alcohol abuse, Drew Barrymore has cemented herself as a Hollywood superstar as she has acted in box office blockbusters like "The Wedding Singer", "Never Been Kissed", Charlie's Angels" and "50 First Dates". Drew Barrymore made her directorial debut lat year with "Whip It". She will also be starring alongside ex-boyfriend Justin Long in "Going The Distance".                                                                                                                                           

Macaulay Culkin

THEN: Macaulay Culkin is probably famous for portraying Kevin McCallister in "Home Alone" and "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York". At the height of his fame, he was regarded as one of the most successful child actor since Shirley Temple.                                                                                                             

NOW: He didn't feature promptly in any movies since the two "Home Alone" films as well as "Richie Rich", only making several TV cameo appearances as well as a part in independent film "Party Monster"(2003). Macaulay was also arrested for drug possession in 2002. Today, Macaulay Culkin is dating actress Mila Kunis after divorcing his wife Rachel Milner in 2002.

Jessica Alba

THEN: Her first movie appearance was a small role in "Camp Nowhere" (1992) as Gail. She was originally hired for two weeks but her role turned into a two-month job in a lead role when one of the prominent actresses dropped out. Jessica Alba rose to greater prominence in Hollywood in 1999 after appearing as a member of a snobby high school clique in Drew Barrymore's rom-com "Never Been Kissed", and as the female lead in the 1999 horror comedy "Idle Hands".

NOW: Alba gained acting recognition in TV series "Dark Angel", and she has been well received in several movies such as "Fantastic Four", "Honey", "Sin City" and "Good Luck Chuck". In 2001, she was voted as the #1 Sexiest women in Maxim's Hot 100 list. Needless to say, Jessica Alba has been a 'regular' on all the Hottest/Sexiest List almost every year.                                        

Gary Coleman
(8 February 1968 – 28 May 2010)

THEN: Gary Coleman is probably famous for his role in the sitcom Diff'rent Strokes as Arnold Jackson with his famous catchphrase "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?", making him the most popular fixture in the sitcom.                                                                                                                                                                        

NOW: After the success of Diff'rent Strokes, he didn't enjoy much success in films but he did manage to run for the Governor of California in a recall election that pitted Gary Coleman with Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though he declared bankruptcy due to mismanagement of his trust fund. Sadly, Gary Coleman died in his home after a fall on 28 May 2010.

Jodie Foster

THEN: Jodie Foster acted in more than 50 television and film appearance before she attended college. She made her acting debut as a child actor in 1968 "Mayberry R.F.D". In 1976, she received a nomination for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in "Taxi Driver". Jodie is also an honorary graduate of Yale University.

NOW: She made national headlines when John Hinckley, Jr. the person who shot the President Of United States and injuring three others claimed he did that to impress Jodie Foster. Apart from that, she has been awarded with two Oscars for Best Actress in "The Accused" and "Silence Of The Lambs".                              

Jessica Biel

THEN: Jessica Biel was selected to be in the family drama 7th Heaven as the oldest daughter. The series went on to last for 11 seasons, making it the longest-running family drama in U.S. television history, and also became the highest-rated show on WB Television Network.                             

NOW: The ultra sexy Jessica Biel is now a superstar on her own right as she has appeared in many Hollywood films such as "Summer Catch", the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", "The Illusionist", "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" and "Valentine's Day". To top that, she's dating Justin Timberlake!

Kirsten Dunst

THEN: Dunst began her career as a three year old child model in TV commercials. She was signed with Ford Models and Elite Model Management. At the age of eight, she made her film debut in a minor role in Woody Allen's "Oedipus Wrecks", a short film that was released as one-third of the anthology "New York Stories" (1989). Soon after, she landed a small part in "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (1990), as Tom Hanks's daughter.

NOW: Dunst's breakthrough film was "Interview With The Vampire" (1992), where she played a child vampire opposite Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. After that movie, she acted in "Little Women" which further acclaim. Dunst achieved international acclaim in the "Spider-Man" trilogy for her portrayal of Mary Jane Watson, which was her most successful movie to date.                                    

Cinema Online, 15 June 2010

Related Movies:
Inception (15 Jul 2010)
Thor (28 Apr 2011)
Going The Distance (02 Sep 2010)


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