It happens: you’re watching a flick on DVD and you wonder what that actor was before he became famous. Sometimes, the opposite occurs. You wonder, “whatever happened to that cute kid who played so-and-so in that film with Tom Cruise?” Well wonder no more. Here’s the low-down on 5 of the most adorable child actors who captivated audiences in heart-warming films.
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Jonathan Lipnicki first captured our hearts when he played Renee Zelwegger’s precocious 5-year old son in the blockbuster hit, Jerry Maguire. Following his breakout role, Jonathan starred in children’s films such as Stuart Little, Stuart Little 2, Like Mike and the Little Vampires. By the time Jonathan turned 10, his films had earned almost three-quarters of a billion dollars at the box office (insert Wikipedia link here). Quite surprisingly though, Jonathan made the personal decision to step away from the limelight to lead a normal life. While away from the public eye, Jonathan enjoyed relative anonymity. He attended high school, went to the prom, played on the water polo team and graduated with all of his friends.
After graduation, Jonathan found himself drawn to the bright lights of Hollywood once again. Since his comeback, Jonathan has appeared in several hit television shows including Monk and Family Guy; and played the lead in the award-wining Indie-film, ‘When Zachary Beaver Came to Town’. When he’s not in front of the camera, Jonathan does Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and hones his acting skills by attending classes at Playhouse West.
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Haley Joel Osment
The young boy who can ‘see dead people’ has just turned 25. Although Haley Joel Osment made waves as the tormented school boy in ‘The Sixth Sense’, this was not his first acting job. He made his mini-screen debut in a Pizza Hutt commercial and first appeared in the big screen as Forrest Gump’s son, Forrest Gump. After appearing in The Sixth Sense, Haley starred in films such ‘A.I. Artificial Intelligence’, ‘Pay it Forward’, and ‘Secondhand Lions.’
His career, however, hit a slight snag when he was arrested on DUI and marijuana charges in 2006. He has, since then, gotten back on track. In 2008, Haley appeared alongside John Leguizamo in the Broadway production of ‘America Buffallo’, and in 2010, he graduated from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. Haley has just finished filming ‘The World Made Straight’ with Jeremy Irvine and Minka Kelly. He has signed up for several upcoming projects, such as the indie comedy entitled ‘Sex Ed’; and will be providing his voice in an animated feature entitled ‘Heroes: The Legendary Trio.’
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Jake Lloyd charmed his way into Princess Amidala’s hearts (as well as ours) when he played the young Annakin Skywalker (soon to be Darth Vader) in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. However, before wielding a light saber, Jake played opposite Arnold Scharzenegger in the Christmas film, ‘Jingle All the Way’. Jake’s Hollywood career, however was shortlived.
In 2002, Jake retired from acting and, in 2012, he revealed that constant bullying from his classmates, and the stress of doing several interviews as the main reasons behind his decision. He has, since then, destroyed all of his Star Wars memorabilia, and does not want to even watch any of the films. He does, however, attends conventions and events for the benefit of Star Wars fans. Sadly, it seems Jake Lloyd has truly turned his back on the silver screen.
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In the 2005 remake of the film, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, Willy Wonka’s young friend, the one who won the golden ticket, was played by Freddie Highmore. Freddie started his acting career at the tender age of 7, when he played small parts in various television programs. He has acted in two films (‘Women Talking Dirty’, and ‘Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story’), before appearing in his breakthrough performance as Peter Llewelyn Davis in the film ‘Finding Neverland’ which earned him several nominations and awards including a Broadcast Film Critic’s award.
Following his success in Charlie ad the Chocolate Factory, Freddie appeared in other films including ‘August Rush’ with Keri Russell, and Robin Williams; ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ and ‘The Art of Getting By’. In 2012, it was announced that Freddie will be playing the role of Norman Bates in the television series, ‘Bates Motel’, a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s film, Psycho. All things going well, we will be seeing a lot more Freddie Highmore.
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The love-struck, drum-playing step-son of Liam Neeson in the romantic comedy flick Love Actually, was portrayed by English actor and musician, Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Thomas’ first acting job was in the BBC television film, Station Jim and this led to other television appearances such as playing the lead roles in Bobbie’s Girl, The Miracle of the Cards and Stig of the Dump.
Thomas has been a very busy young man and has come a long way since he evaded airport security to bid his crush ‘goodbye’. Thomas has appeared in Doctor Who, The Mind’s Eye, The Bride of Peladon, and The Last Legion (to name a few). In 2009, Thomas played young Paul McCartney in the film ‘Nowhere Boy’, a film about the teenage years of John Lennon.
Today, Thomas is gaining an even larger fan base (and increasing his cinematic repertoire) by playing Jojen Reed, a character in the highly acclaimed HBO series, Game of Thrones.