The Child Actress From Mrs. Doubtfire Explains Why Child Actors Go Nuts
Remember Mara Wilson, the cute child who played Nattie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda Wormwood in Matilda? Well she’s all grown up now and, unlike many former child actors (Macaulay Culkin, Lindsay Lohan), has turned out relatively normal. In an essay for Cracked, Wilson details the myriad of forces at play that often derail young actors who reach their zenith at an early age before spending the rest of their lives struggling to find their places in a world that discarded them the moment they shed their prepubescent innocence.
Nearly every teenager rebels. But most of them have about five people they need to answer to when they screw up: teachers, school administrators, and their parents or guardians. Maybe the police or other authorities, if they’re rowdy or growing up in a rough area, or a wise neighbor if they grew up in a sitcom. Now imagine if you, as a kid, had millions of people watching your every move. First, there’s your own entourage: parents or guardians, agents, managers, producers, studio heads, executives of all kinds. And then there are the fans: kids your age who think they know you because they’ve seen your face on TV, parents who pray you stay squeaky clean because their children want to be you. Having to live up to your fan base is a little like having to deal with a million strict parents who don’t actually love you. They reward you for your cuteness and cleverness, but are quick to judge and punish. And they do not want you ever to grow up. How do you react? The way any sullen teenager does: You get resentful, and as soon as you have the freedom, you act out.
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