Saturday, 3 October 2009

The kids are alright

Despite politicians constantly claiming that the US and the UK enjoy a 'special relationship' the fact remains that we are two nations divided by more than just a common language. If any further proof was required, you need only look at the differing fortunes of our child stars.

Hollywood is littered with the careers (and in some cases bodies) of talented youngsters who went off the rails faster than Indiana Jones' mine cart. For every Jodie Foster or Christina Ricci, there's a dumpster full of Coreys, Tatums and Britneys, who fall prey to the dangers of 'too much too soon'.

Just last week, gossip sites were filled with the ugly details of Edward Furlong's slide into domestic violence and drug abuse. With floppy hair and a squeaking voice, his break-out role in Terminator 2 showed great promise, only to be squandered on a series of poor film choices and over a decade of drug dependency.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Lohan continues her irreversible slide from Disney princess into crack-whore car-wreck. Pictured out last week, looking a good 20 years older than her actual age (23), the one-time actress has gone from opening films to opening nightclubs. According to reports, she's currently playing hard-to-get with the producers of Celebrity Big Brother.

Funnily enough, Camp Lohan has rejected the rumours, suggesting that Lindsay has much better offers on the table (probably cut into lines). A representative of the Freaky Friday star has been grumbling to the press about the producers' persistence, claiming "This is a tacky way to get cheap publicity." But then, I guess they'd be the experts in that.

So it's nice to see that, in comparison, there are some British child stars who seem to be navigating the path to adulthood with aplomb. In particular, the central trio of the Harry Potter series are aging particularly gracefully. Emma Watson scored all A's in her A-levels, and is currently adjusting to life on campus as an undergraduate at Brown University in Rhode Island.

Daniel Radcliffe took a break from Harry Potter for a stint in the West End, in horse mutilation opus Equus, where he managed to give a critically lauded performance whilst airing his Nimbus 2000. He's also been confidently baiting the press with his open-minded views, proclaiming himself a Liberal Democrat voter, an atheist, and a friend to the gays.

But it turns out that Rupert Grint is no slouch either in the brains department. Despite serving little purpose in the movies, besides blurting out PG-rated swears and pulling a faces like he's constantly enduring a colonoscopy, the wide-eyed wunderkind has funneled his Gringotts gold into a property portfolio that's already worth £9.2 million, outshadowing both Radcliffe and Watson's own investments.

In the end, it's not the nationality that counts, it's the parents that make the difference. Unfortunately, bad parents can happen to good kids, and when the kids happen to be talented, it can make things even worse. Here's hoping that the success of the Potter kids gives the next generation of junior talent a glimmer of hope, rather than a flash of crotch.

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