Now that summer TV is coming to a close, I find myself running out of things to watch on my DVR and channel surfing in an attempt to discover something to fill the void. Inevitably, at this time of year there is rarely ever anything that grabs my attention, unless of course I happen upon a Seinfeld or Friends rerun which sadly doesn’t always happen. (When WILL they finally create the network that airs nothing but both shows all day, every day??) So the other day, I did something I haven’t done in ages – I flipped over to the Movies on Demand section of my guide and found a movie that I was actually somewhat excited to watch: The Change Up, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman. Now, when the movie first came out, I do remember it having mildly piqued my interest, if even temporarily, for no other reason than I am a big Jason Bateman fan. Sure, I like Ryan as well, especially after his memorable performance in The Proposal, but Jason is always a guaranteed lure for me. And while the story was nothing new, I was still willing to give it a try, expecting a few laughs and hopefully a somewhat entertaining experience.
The film itself was certainly not monumental, but Bateman, as always, gave a stellar, convincing, hilarious performance. How does he do it, every time? For someone who has been acting for basically his whole life, he never ceases to amaze me with his comedic timing, his delivery, his facial expressions and body language – basically delivering a convincing character each and every time. And it got me thinking about how few actors who started out so young have been able to stand the test of time and remain not only relevant, but at the top of their game, year after year. Bateman has been perfectly cast in everything from romantic comedies (The Break Up) to off beat TV series (Arrested Development) and everything in between, and for me, he makes every scene thoroughly enjoyable. I had the pleasure of interviewing him once on a red carpet and he was equally as charming in person as his characters are on screen. As if I didn’t already have a huge crush on him…
Now that you know (a little too much about) how I feel about Jason, let’s discuss a few other stand out child actors who are still very much on the scene.
This star is undoubtedly at the top of everyone’s list of successful child actors – the recently married, mother-to-be Drew Barrymore is certainly the epitome of a child actor, having started her career at the young age of 3 (yes, before ET, she was actually cast in a couple of TV movies, and a lesser known film at the age of 5!) From phoning home and starting fires, she went on to not only star in dozens of films but to produce and even direct some of her own. Now that’s a child star with some serious potential! It’s tough to name only a few of my favorites, but The Wedding Singer and Charlie’s Angels would certainly be among them. And she most impressed me (and many industry critics!) with her more recent portrayal of Little Edie, opposite Jessica Lange, in the TV movie Grey Gardens. She has certainly proven that she has much more to give and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for us.
On to another one of my favorites: Young Hayden Panettiere. She had me at hello. Well, actually at “Coach”. Playing the young football enthusiast (daughter of a high school football coach) in the classic Remember the Titans, she stole every scene with her adorable smile and her feisty personality. It was no surprise when she emerged years later as the star of the hit NBC series Heroes, and continues to be picking up interesting roles as she kicks off what will certainly be a long lasting career, in my opinion.
Last, but certainly not least, there is the one-and-only Neil Patrick Harris. Not much needs to be said about how far he has come from his days as Doogie Howser, MD. The man is everything an entertainer dreams of being – a true triple threat, he has proven that he can entertain almost any audience and do it all seemingly effortlessly, and always with a smile. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like NPH, and I look forward to what lies ahead for him beyond his hit show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ - if it EVER goes off the air!
So, voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these child stars with staying power is your favorite?
Neil Patrick Harris