THN Top 10 Former Child Stars2

Welcome back to THN’s Top Ten Former Child Stars That You Now Totally Would. Yesterday we had numbers 10 – 6, which you can view here. Now it’s time to get your voyeurism on as we check out the Top Five. Is it appropriate? Not really. Is it justifiable? That’s for the courts to decide.

joseph gordon levitt

5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Child star? What were they in?

joseph gordon levitt

He cut his teeth on various TV shows including ROSEANNE, DR QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN, QUANTUM LEAP and even MURDER SHE WROTE. But we all remember him best as little Tommy Solomon in the terrific 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN. He also got an ice hockey boot through the face in HALLOWEEN: H20 (1998) and was juuuuuuust about legal in the brilliant 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU. Though it may not feel like it, you can totally ogle him in that film, guilt free. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

So they’re fit now? And they’re legal, right?

He’s in his 30s now! Little Tommy Solomon is now older than you. He has since become an unexpected sex symbol, mainly due to his outsider appeal. For years he impressed with his eclectic, indie film choices like BRICK (2005) and MYSTERIOUS SKIN (2005). He didn’t so much leap to blockbusters as calmly and cooly ascend, with huge and (importantly) very credible mega-hits like LOOPER (2012) and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (2012) under his (Bat?) belt, helping him become an unlikely pin up. His constant rocking of the preppy shirt-and-tie look and his championing of creative-led, crowd sourced music may seem like he is appealing to hipsters, but a man in a suit who loves his music is straight up yummy. I would lick him like a spoon.


4. Jake Gyllenhaal

Awwww yiss!

Child star? What were they in?

jake gyllenhaal city slickers
Okay, maybe child ‘star’ is pushing it a bit here. But he did pop up in a couple of things, including A DANGEROUS WOMAN (1993) which his dad Stephen directed and he was in CITY SLICKERS. And that had Jack Palance in it. That is all.

So they’re fit now? And they’re legal, right?

jake gyllenhaal
Ever since DONNIE DARKO (2001), Gyllenhaal has been turning heads. His brooding vulnerability in that piece sent quivers throughout the knees of the world. His rough yet sensitive side in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005) made us all want to grab our lube and head for the hills. That bit where he took his top off in the library in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW sent sapiosexuals everywhere into meltdown and though PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME (2010) is complete arse… he’s a lovely bit of rough in it, isn’t he? Oh my yes, yes he is. His winning smile and easy charm have proven him a talkshow favourite, he’s a left wing political activist, he does wood carvings, he cooks, he’s incredibly watchable and I want him. For sex, mainly.

Natalie Portman
3. Natalie Portman

Don’t do it, Leon… Don’t do it…

Child star? What were they in?

She was clearly a child prodigy, giving some sterling performances in HEAT (1995), BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (1996) and EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU (1996). Having worked with De Niro, Pacino AND Woody Allen in the space of two years proves she is no slouch, but her career making performance was at 13 as Mathilda in LEON (1994). What she did was astonishing and is considered one of the great child performances of the 1990s. It was not without controversy, however, as some felt she was overtly sexualised. Mathilda is the 12 year-old girl who lives next door to introverted hitman Leon (Jean Reno has never been better). After her family is slaughtered by a hilarious Gary Oldman, she becomes his live-in apprentice and they have some right laughs together. However, she falls in love with the middle aged assassin. Not only that, but her language and actions towards him make for some uncomfortable, if intriguing moments. At one point she lies to a hotel worker and specifically says ‘He’s not my father, he’s my lover.’ Then waves coquettishly. Another times she lies on her bed, caressing her mid-riff and tells her older companion she thinks she’s in love with him. While these scenes may well be wank-fodder to some grimy individuals, they are not sexualising the child. They are certainly addressing her pre-pubescent sexuality, but like both film representations of Lolita, any desire for her is being projected onto her by anyone who feels so inclined. What Besson and Portman gave us was a confused child going through some complex physical and emotional changes who adores someone and doesn’t know how to express it. There is nothing wrong with presenting child sexuality on-screen, because to assume that under-16s don’t feel desire or express it in anyway is simply incorrect. The problem lies in how that can be exploited, as in SADO (1975) or PRETTY BABY (1978) for example. Young Mathilda was never portrayed as a sexual object for the audience, or indeed any other character in the film and Portman’s performance was so strong, that what could have been something of a cartoon role became completely believable.

So they’re fit now? And they’re legal, right?

Portman is clearly stunning and people are understandably drawn to her because of that. But what makes her so damned attractive is that she is so damned good at what she does. The great actor has a habit of doing well in duff projects; she’s one of the few people to walk away from the STAR WARS prequels with any credibility (McGregor just about managed it, Neeson got out while the getting was good), and even made V FOR VENDETTA watchable. Then there’s the great stuff which she elevated even more, such as her much deserved Oscar winning turn in the brutal and brilliant BLACK SWAN (2010). And like Jake Gyllenhaal, her political activism is the sociological cherry on top of the talent cake. With some intensely sexy icing. At least I hope that’s icing…

emma watson

2. Emma Watson

Hermione Granger is brilliant. But some of us are terrible, terrible people.

Child star? What were they in?

Emma watson, hermione granger
Have a word! From 2001 to 2006-ish (when she turned 16), Watson was the the most famous child actress in existence. Her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the HARRY POTTER series gave her iconic status, becoming a role model to little girls the world over. The character had proven to be so in the novels already, but Watson’s performance brought Hermione to a wider audience. With her fierce intelligence, love of books, loyalty, bravery and general badassery, she is something of a feminist hero and a class act all round.

So they’re fit now? And they’re legal, right?

emma watson
Now here’s the thing. The elephant in the room when discussing the film version of Ms Granger is that we all now fancy Emma Watson. We do, and that’s okay. But when was this acceptable to say (or should that be admit)? Does it depend on where you are? Is it simply a case of the age of consent? Here in the UK, that would be 16, so that may be the point at which people say it’s fine to swoon over her. THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (2007) seems to be the the turning point where Britons will declare their desire. The less blatant perverts will wait until THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE (2009) in which she was over 18, which may well apply to American fans/pervs.

The point is, there is a gradient. If you watched all the films as they came out and saw her grow up, and you fancy her at 17, there’s a good chance you fancy her at 16 and maybe even 15. It’s awkward, it’s not easy to talk about, but it’s probably true. But you know what? That’s okay. It really is. Merely harbouring a crush for someone you shouldn’t, well, there’s no harm in it. What goes on in your head is your own business and as long as you don’t ACT on your desires, nobody can tell you who or what you’re allowed to like. Hermione is NEVER EVER sexualised, and that is very important. Apart from being a really pretty girl, the character has all the positive attributes listed above and if you find those aspects combine to make someone attractive, it would be silly to pretend you don’t find them to be so until they reach a certain age. You don’t suddenly fancy someone when they hit a a particular birthday and not find them attractive before hand. There is a reason the internet sprung to attention and subsequently went berserk when the onset photos of Watson in THE BLING RING emerged. People held this guilty crush on Hermione Granger which could suddenly erupt in a public and acceptable way now that Watson was playing an adult and an overtly sexy role. It’s the same logic applied to Christina Ricci in THE OPPOSITE OF SEX (1998). You may have found yourself thinking she was cute in CASPER (1995) but now your voyeurism is officially sanctioned and socially acceptable. If you’re still finding this dubious, which would be fair enough, ask yourself; would the world have such interest in the trailer of THE BLING RING had the beautiful brunette licking her lips not previously been a wholesome child star? And let us see how Chloe Moretz is hounded by the press that day (the MOMENT) she turns 18. Which, incidentally, is not cool.

ryan gosling

1. Ryan Gosling

Ryan f**king Gosling.

Child star? What were they in?

ryan gosling, goosebumps
To be fair, he was never a child ‘star.’ But he was in GOOSEBUMPS and ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK when he was 15. And besides, he’s Ryan f**king Gosling.

So they’re fit now? And they’re legal, right?

Let’s see.

He’s a honking great hunk.

He’s a fantastic actor.

He’s a massive feminist.

He breaks up fights and doesn’t go on a PR hunt about it.

He saves women from being run over and doesn’t go on a PR hunt about it.

He publicly embraces his adoration for his mum and for his pooch.

And just bloody look.

Ryan Gosling saves journalist from being hit by a taxiryan goslinggoslingmaterialryan goslingRachel-McAdams, ryan gosling, the notebook,
I would be on that like a bridge over troubled water.

THE BLING RING is out on 21st June in the US and 5th July in the UK. And for God’s sake stop feeling so guilty.