Recently Mara Wilson, who you might remember as 'that adorable moppet in Mrs Doubtfire' or that 'faintly irritating girl with a lisp in Miracle on 34th Street' put pen to paper to share her 7 Reasons Why Child Stars Go Crazy on cracked.com. Now 25 and happily working in a field that has nothing to do with movies (she works for Publicolor, a non-profit), Mara has the perfect vantage point to look back on the craziness of being a Hollywood child star.
The article's a great read – it's funny and thought-provoking and sad all at the same time – so I heartily recommend you head here to read it.
However, if you're short of time, I've broken down her reasons for you below:
7 – Parents
If you're lucky, you get into the acting gig early because you're just very passionate about drama. However, more often than not, you're forced into acting as a child by pushy parents – either for fame or for the money.
6 – Even well-intentioned parents can't protect you from the craziness of Hollywood
Mara's parents sound lovely – caring and protective. But even they couldn't always shield her from all the crazy. At the premiere for Nine Months, in which she starred alongside Hugh Grant, she was pulled aside by a reporter on the red carpet and asked for a reaction to the Hugh Grant prostitution scandal. Who asks a child about soliciting sex?! Hollywood reporters, that's who.
5 – They get too used to love and attention and then lose it
After being flooded with free stuff (for being slebs), more free stuff (for being adorable) and a truckload of attention, most kids can't help but become a little spoiled. Mara even concedes she once told a reporter she was an actress not for the joy of her art, but because 'You get a lot of presents, sometimes!'
Once the cute kid hits adolescence, their fanbase ditches them and moves onto idolising the new child star.
4 – They get sexually exploited
This one really hit me hard. Apparently, 'Former child stars Corey Feldman, Corey Haim, and Todd Bridges all went on record saying that they had been sexually assaulted by adult men when they were young, and that there were likely many more child molesters in Hollywood.'
That's pretty horrible. I think pretty much anybody would act crazy after experiences like that.
3 – They need to rebel, but they can't
We've all done it, right? Well, all of us apart from child stars, because they've got the papparazzi waiting for them to slip up. That's got to hurt when the rest of your pals are necking down fluoro alco pops and snogging anything with a pulse.
Mara theorises that instead, the child stars act out their teen rebellions in their early twenties.
2 - They don't know what else to do
Apaz, lots of child stars don't have enough imagination to dream about becoming doctors, lawyers or administrative assistants, so they just stick at acting, even though it doesn't necessarily fulfil them.
1 – They can't escape it
Lucky old Mara lives in the Big Apple, where there's (probably) more slebs than muggles, so she doesn't have to worry about being stopped every ten seconds for an autograph. But lots of slebs and former slebs live elsewhere, where what they did when they were eight years old is far more important to people than what they're doing now, cos they were famous then. So they can't escape that one character they played for maybe six months of shooting time.
Do you think Mara has played down the pluses of being a child star? Or that she wasn't critical enough? Let me know below.