Saturday, January 10, 2009

Advice for child actors

It's not easy to remain in showbiz when you are a child actor. One day, you grow up and outgrow your cute role. As they said, “Once in demand, they find more doors closed than opened as attention shifts to the next 'It' Kid.”



Haley Joel Osment was a phenomenal child actor way back in the 90s. He was famous for portraying the role of a child who sees ghost in the "Sixth Sense," where he won an Oscar nomination. It was in the film where he spoke the famous quote, “I see dead people!”

Now at 20, not many people (especially the younger generations) are familiar of Haley Joel Osment. It does not mean though that he has leave acting for good. Two years ago, he enrolled at New York University's theater program to hone his craft. And today, Haley Joel Osment made his Broadway debut in a revival of David Mamet's "American Buffalo."

Unlike some movie stars who struggled to act in live audience, he was well-praised by critics who sees him as a "a phenomenally gifted actor,” instinctive, smart, one who asks the right questions and takes risks. The former child star has found also the theatre experience invigorating.

"There's so much to learn about acting and performance in general. ... I mean, acting is a very complex art, and there are a lot more theories and methods and techniques to it than I think anybody would think. ... Some of our best respected film and stage performances come from people like (Marlon) Brando and everything, and they studied their entire lives.”

Once compared to Daniel Radcliffe who made an edgy shift to theater performance in “Equus” from his lovable “Harry Potter” character, the grown-up Haley Joel Osment was quoted as saying he was "never interested in the business of promoting myself. I really don't care if people know who I am or what's said about me. I'm just here to do a job.” “He's got it a lot tougher than I do, 'cause there's merchandise out there with him on it," he added with a laugh.

Haley Joel Osment believes that good film roles are scarce for actors in his age group. While he dreams of directing someday, he seemed to be complacent with his acting career at the moment. His advice to grown-up child actors:

"You always have to avoid working for the sake of putting yourself out there. I've been very happy with the way things have gone throughout my life, and I have my dad (actor Eugene Osment) to thank for this, because the standard has just been, `Is it a good story? Is it something that I care enough about doing to do? And is it the right type of character, too?”

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