9 child stars who are all grown up
Drew Barrymore is the absolute embodiment of “child stars, all grown up” and you will be hard-pressed to find me another actress who’s acting career spans virtually her entire time on planet earth (45 years!), because her first acting job wasn’t at the age of seven when she played Gertie in ET the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Nor was it her role as Willam Hurt’s daughter in the Oscar-nominated sci-fi thriller, Altered States, two years prior to ET. Nope, her first acting job was at the age of 11 months for a dog food TV commercial.
You might argue that the Olson twins got their first casting at the age of six months and their first acting jobs at the age of 9 months but that would be a little bit unfair, seeing that they got cast for the single role of Michelle Tanner on the ABC sitcom, Full House, effectively halving their workload. Damn lazy babies!
Here are 10 child stars, all grown up, starring in surprising roles, which you’ll find in shows and movies on Showmax and Netflix.
We’re cheating a bit with Ariana and turning it around because we all know that she ended up being one of the most famous and successful pop stars to walk the earth.
But I for one was unaware of her career kicking off in TV land in the role as flighty Cat Valentine, first in Victorious and then in the crossover hit Sam & Cat, opposite iCarly star Jennette McCurdy.
How do you enter the grown-up movie arena following the phenomenon that solidified you as the household name of Harry Potter, considering the first movie was released 20 years ago?
See for yourself how he grew up between Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011) by streaming all eight Harry Potter movies, now on Showmax.
You got to hate him best as the cunning and despicable Slytherin student, Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter film franchise. You’ll also see Tom in A United Kingdom, which tells the story of King Seretse Khama of Botswana and how his loving but controversial marriage to a British white woman, Ruth Williams, put his kingdom into political and diplomatic turmoil.
And guess what? You get to hate Tom Felton again, this time in the role of the posh and polished district commissioner to Bechuanaland, Rufus Lancaster, who wants to prevent Khama from getting married.
As kids, she made us cry snot and tears as Vada in My Girl and My Girl 2. Then you were completely unaware that the same girl ended up in shows such as Early Edition, 30 Rock, Law & Order (twice, each time as a different character), Covert Affairs, and White Collar.
And then she made us cry with laughter in the role of Amy Brookheimer alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep, arguably one of the best comedy shows of modern times.
He’s been racking up awards and nominations since he was a laaitie and built up quite an impressive CV with movies the likes of Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Along came his role in Bates Motel and The Good Doctor, and as a young adult, he could showcase the depth of his range.
This is also evident in The Journey, a drama that deals with decades-long conflict that affected Northern Ireland. But have you seen Highmore in the movie Five Children and It from 16 years ago? Wow! He is not the same kid anymore.
Taylor is uncomfortable when people bring up her Gossip Girl days from more than a decade ago. Like Ariana Grande, her career has shifted to music but that is also ironically where it started.
Twenty years ago, the adorable Momsen stole our hearts as little Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, especially with her rendition of “Christmas, Why Can’t I Find You?” which has become a Christmas classic.
Almost two decades ago Tyler Posey played Jennifer Lopez’s adorable son in the romcom Maid in Manhattan.
It seems that his cuteness just matured, because even J Lo herself recently had a “hot dayumn!” moment when she saw him all grown up in the teenage heartthrob role in the reboot of Teen Wolf.
Even though Kiernan was a superstar at a relatively young age, she was kept largely shielded and protected from her fame, mainly brought on by the late-2000s AMC hit show, Mad Men.
More recently she took on the role of Sabrina Spellman in the Netflix show The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but I would like to draw your attention to her role in Flowers in The Attic – a thriller movie about four children facing cruel treatment from their ruthless grandmother after the sudden death of their father.
Lastly I would give the biggest transformation award to the artist simply known as Zendaya. In the hit HBO series Euphoria, her character is 17-year-old Rue, who returns home from rehab with no plans to clean up her act and then striking up a friendship with the new girl in town, Jules (trans superstar Hunter Schafer).
Zendaya (Coleman) actually started her career as a dancer opposite Bella Thorne in Shake It Up, the hit Disney show she was cast in at age 13. She also became one of the youngest Disney producers ever when she produced and starred in KC Undercover, a popular show about a family of secret agents. Her career later included head-turning roles in films like The Greatest Showman, Spider-Man: Homecoming and voice character roles in animated movies such as Smallfoot and Duck Duck Goose.
I will eat Macaulay Culkin’s hat if she hasn’t surpassed his career already…