Top Child Stars

 

 

An accomplished performance from a seasoned performer is impressive, but there’s something effortless and magical about a young star that just seems to innately know how to work the camera and tug on audience heartstrings. Child stars are those lucky talents who hit the big time before they hit puberty. For the rare few it’s the start of a long glittering career that will last a lifetime, though for many it’s just a few years of big screen glory until adolescence takes its ugly toll. Here’s our list of some of the est and most infamous child stars….

 

  1. Hayley Joel Osment

Hayley Joel Osment is a quintessential example of what it truly means to be a child star.  He started acting at the age of four after being spotted in a shopping mall audition for a Pizza Hutt commercial. Within months he’d had roles on TV and then landed a brief but memorable part as Forrest Gump’s son in the Tom Hanks heart-warming Oscar vehicle.

However it was his haunted performance in M Night Shamylan’s spine tingling horror film The Sixth Sense that made Osment a household name and gained him an extraordinary Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination when he was still only 11 years old. Although Michael Caine took home the award, even he was full of memorable praise for the pre-pubescent sensation “Once I learned of your nomination and saw your performance I knew for sure that you’d win!”

Hayley Joel Osment then joined fellow academy honourees Kevin Spacey & Helen Hunt in Pay It Forward, before taking on the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s A.I. The young star relied heavily on the eerie composure typically associated with child stars to portray a young robot.

Osment also lent his voice to animated films like The Jungle Book 2 and Brother Bear; as well as the Kingdom Hearts video game series.

Unfortunately once Hayley started looking suspiciously mature, starring roles rapidly began to dry up. Flops like Second-hand Lions seemed to confirm that audiences were much less interested in awkward looking teens than angelic faced kids that hang around with ghosts.

Where is he now?

After hitting rock bottom with a drunk driving car crash and court order AA meetings Hayley is set to make his big screen return in new indie comedy Sassy Pants out later this year.  With a few other roles lined up afterwards, only time will tell if he can rise to superstardom for a second time or simply remain yet another cautionary tale.

 

  1. Jodie Foster

Like many child stars Jodie Foster started acting in TV commercials when she was just 3 years old. Few could have guessed that the toddler in the Coppertone sunblock commercial would prove to be one of the most prolific and gifted actresses of her generation.

She made her TV acting debut at five and quickly featured in a host of popular television series. In 1976 she moved onto the big screen with starring roles in Disney body swap comedy Freaky Friday and playing precocious lounge singer Tallulah in Alan Parker’s eccentric gangster musical Bugsy Malone.

But it was her astonishing performance as child prostitute Iris alongside Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s gritty classic Taxi Driver that earned her an Oscar nomination at the tender age of 12. Her incredible on screen presence won her many fans, unfortunately including John Hinckley, who tried to assassinate then President Ronald Regan in a failed attempt to impress her.

Having graduated from Yale in 1985 Jodie returned to acting as an adult with an Oscar winning performance in The Accused in 1988. Just a few years later came the role that would define her adult career, winning her second Best Actress Academy Award for playing FBI agent Clarice Starling in Silence of The Lambs.

Films like Contact, Panic Room, Inside Man and The Brave One have followed as she continues to enjoy comfortable box office success and bask in critical acclaim.

Having spent her entire life on screen, Jodie Foster has had one of the most substantial careers in Hollywood and is frequently hailed as a perfect example of how to handle the difficult process of converting child stardom into an adult career.

Where is she now?

Jodie has sought to establish herself as a director with Little Man Tate, Home for the holidays and most recently The Beaver but continues to take sparing roles in front of the camera. Her most recent role was alongside Kate Winslet & Christoph Waltz in Roman Polanski’s Carnage. Her next role will see her star alongside Matt Damon and Sharlto Copley in sci-fi drama Elysium; the new film from District 9 writer/director Neill Blomkamp.

 

  1. Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning and her family relocated from Georgia to LA after a local playhouse spotted she had talent and told her parents to give it a chance. She was quickly snapped up by a professional agency and landed a national TV commercial for tide detergent at the age of five.

Three years later she wowed audiences worldwide with a performance of remarkable strength and charm in I Am Sam. Starring alongside accomplished veterans Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer, she stole the show as Lucy Diamond Dawson the young daughter of a mentally handicapped man.

At just 8 years old she became the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. In fact when she won the best young actress prize at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards she was too short to reach the microphone to deliver her acceptance speech.  Luckily Orland Bloom who presented her with the honour was kind enough to lift her up to the mike for the duration of her surprisingly length acceptance speech.

Dakota emerged from a pile of praise and awards and became one of the busiest child actresses in the business. She took the lead role and narrated Steven Spielberg’s costly alien TV series Taken. She then starred opposite De Niro in ‘Hide and Seek’ and screamed incessantly at Tom Cruise in ‘War of the Worlds’.

Where is she now?

Having quickly passed through a brief period of growing up Dakota Fanning has made a largely seamless transition to adult stardom. She plays evil Volturi Vampire Jane in the Twilight Saga and gave a decidedly raunchy portrayal of troubled rock starlet Cherie Currie in The Runaways alongside her Twilight co-star Kristen Stewart. With countless other projects already on the way she’s definitely one teeny tiny star that’s here to stay.

 

  1. Elle fanning

Perhaps inspired by her big sisters vast success, Dakota Fanning’s little sister Elle Fanning has happily stepped into her shoes as Hollywood’s leading tweenage actress.

After a brief cameo as the two year old version of Dakota’s character in I Am Sam she quickly went on to add a host of TV credits of her own in shows like CSI and House. On the big screen she has demonstrated that she can just as powerful and arresting in her accomplished performances as her sister.  She easily commands attention and looks capable of even surpassing her big sister as a dramatic actress.

She’s played the abandoned daughter of a movie star is Sofia Coppola’s somewhere, the love interest in JJ Abrams ET homage Super 8 and most recently stole scenes in Cameron Crowe’s comedy drama We Bought A Zoo.

Elle Fanning epitomises the unique ability of child actors to harness their innate vulnerability. It’s hard to imagine these subtle and sensitive performances can fail to translate to a long and positively stellar career if she chooses it.

Where is she now?

She’s currently filming Bomb, starring alongside Mad Men beauty Christina Hendricks and Annette Benning. The film directed by Sally Potter tells the story of two teenage girls living in London in the 1960s.

 

  1. Jake Lloyd

Not all child stars are destined for greatness, some have a brief brush with greatness and fame but are reluctant or unqualified to pursue it as a career.

When Jake Lloyd beat out thousands of young actors form around the globe to land the role of the young Anakin Skywalker in the first of George Lucas’s long awaited star Wars pre-quells Episode 1 The Phantom Menace it could have been the role that catapulted him to being an A-list move star. It wasn’t.

Stepping into the role as one of the most iconic characters in movie history armed only with a bowl shaped haircut and an alarming tendency to yell Yippee!  It was a cringe filled disaster.  Watching the pre-pubescent hero attempting to flirt with Natalie Portman was especially uncomfortable and embarrassing for us all.

Where is he now?

Having lent his voice to a handful of tie-in star wars video games he also starred in Madison, a lesser known film about a man entering a hydro-plane regatta. But as of of 2002 he stopped acting professionally and returned to Indiana to finish school before attending Columbia College in Chicago as a Film Major.

 

  1. Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe was spotted by producer David Heyman in a school play and invited to audition for the most coveted children’s role of all time as Harry Potter the infamous boy who lived and star or JK Rowling’s magical adventure franchise.

Interestingly the part almost wasn’t his as Steven Spielberg was briefly in line to direct the first harry Potter film and was planning to use an American cast with Hayley Joel Osment his choice for the boy wizard. But after JK Rowling insisted on a British cast and Chris Columbus stepped into directing duties the role went to Radcliffe.

Turning him into a household name overnight the phenomenal box office success of the seven film franchise has continued to propel him in the limelight. Not content to rest on his growing mountain of goblin gold, Radcliffe has been eager to prove himself as a serious actor, baring it all for edgy stage production Equus, singing on Broadway and most recently terrifying young fans with The Woman In Black.

The recent box office triumph of The Woman In Black has in particular proved that there may well be life after Potter for the young star. He might not have grown much in height but he has definitely gown in acting stature since his early wand waving Potter adventures.

Where is he now?

Radcliffe is currently in New York filming murder mystery Kill Your Darlings. He’s playing beat poet Allen Ginsberg and starring alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Ben Foster and Michael C. Hall.

 

  1. Emma Watson

Daniel Radcliffe might be the chosen one, but that hasn’t stopped Emma Watson proving equally popular and successful as his know it all gal pal Miss Hermione Granger.

Although the role instantly earned her armies of Potter fans around the world it does highlight that there’s a very fine line between being precocious and just plain irritating. Particularly with child actors it can be hard to distinguish whether it’s their specific performance or simply the character themselves that are implicitly slightly annoying.

Shedding her bookish Heroine persona  Watson had a small role alongside Michelle William in Monroe biopic ‘My Week With Marylyn’ and has seemingly become the pixie faced darling of the fashion world with host of modelling gigs and advertising work.

Where is she now?

Currently filming Sofia Copploa’s new film The Bling Ring, the film is inspired by actual events about a group of fame-obsessed teenagers that use the internet to track down celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes. The film also stars Kirsten Dunst and Leslie Mann.  She also has The Perks of being a Wallflower ready for release later this year and a new project with Stanley Tucci lined up for next year called Your Voice In My Head.

 

  1. Rupert Grint

It would be painfully unfair to leave Ron Weasley out of this list as well so we can happily include likeable ginger star Rupert Grint as well.

As with the entire young Potter cast we have literally watched them grow up on screen from nervous 11year olds to confident professionals. Though much of the glory and media attention may go to Daniel Radcliffe and pretty Emma Watson, it’s fair to say that seven films and 16 hours of Potter Magic might have felt painfully long had it not been for frequent comic relief Rupert Grint provides.

Particularly in the first few films his performance was noticeable less wooden and awkward than his Hogwarts classmates.  Although the jury is still out as to whether he’ll be able to conjure more mature roles and a range of performances out of these jovial talents.

Where is he now?

Having recently helped launched the Warner Bros Harry Potter studio tour at Leavesden, Rupert is now lending his voice to the new Postman Pat animated Movie and will then be back on our screens for a trio of new films… The Drummer, Eddie The Eagle and Cross Country.

 

  1. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman was discovered by an agent in a New York pizza parlour when she was 11 years old. Turning her back on easy opportunities to pursue a modelling career thanks to having a face clearly crafted by angels, she decided to concentrate on an acting career.

She made her spectacular film debut in Luc Besson’s cult classic action thriller Leon, playing a young orphaned girl Mathilda who forges an unlikely friendship with a professional assassin. The film attracted considerable attention due to both the impressive range of her performance and the slightly controversial romantic undertones in her on screen relationship with Jean Reno’s hitman.

It’s commendable how well Portman handles the darker elements of her performance in Leon. She was initially rejected for the role because it was believed she was simply too young to cope with the material. But seeing the final film it’s clear that was never the case.

What made Portman such an incredible young actress was that she managed to not only portray a subtle sophistication well beyond her young years, but simultaneously also captured a compelling and authentic innocence.

Most child actors simply aren’t able to detach themselves form the experience of making a film enough to make an audience truly believe in their performance. When most young actors cry on camera you usually feel like leaving the cinema, when Portman cries you feel genuinely anguished. Nobody cries as well as Portman, nobody!

Surprising no one, Natalie Portman went on to become one of Hollywood’s most in demand actresses and picked up her inevitable Best Actress Oscar for Darren Aronofsky’s pyscho-sexual Ballet thriller Black Swan.

Where is she now?

Currently filming two new Terrence Malick movies Flawless and Knight of Cups, alongside Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Wes Bently, Chrisian Bale and Cate Blanchett.  Then Natalie will be slipping back into implausible good looking physicist shoes for Thor 2.

 

  1. Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld became another well-deserved young Oscar nominee when she received a Best supporting Actress nomination for her role as 14 year old farm girl Mattie Ross in the Coen brother’s gritty western remake True Grit.

Though she was sharing the screen with acting legends like Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges, she held the entire film together as the stubborn young woman determined to see her father’s murderer brought to justice.

It’s impressive to steal scenes from Bridges and Damon, but even more laudable to do it whilst wearing a bonnet and sporting platted pigtails.

Where is she now?

Hailee is currently filming the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classis ci-fi novel Ender’s Game alongside the likes of Harrison Ford, Ben Kinglsey and a host of other emerging child stars.

 

  1. Lindsay Lohan

It seems difficult to remember, but Lindsey Lohan used to be a wholesome child starlet with the world at her feet and a string of starring roles to boast of in successful Disney movies.

Lohan rollercoaster career started at three years old as a model for the Eileen Ford Agency. She made appearances in over 60 TV Commercials for brands like The Gap, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Jell-O.

Having been hand-picked by Oscar nominated Writer Nancy Meyers, she played both of the identical twin sisters in the late 90s remake of classic kid swap caper The Parent Trap. The performance won her critical acclaim and a couple of minor awards.

After singing a multi-picture deal with Disney she stepped into Jodie Foster’s shoes for a successful reboot of body swap comedy Freaky Friday, staring alongside Jamie Lee Curtis.  The film took an impressive$160 million and won her more praise and a 2004 MTV Best Breakthrough female award. These truly were the best of times.

With high school comedy Mean Girls, Lindsay had seemingly established herself as a bankable box office star and she was now easily commanding multi-million dollar salaries. She was paid $7.5million dollars for starring roles in rom-com efforts like Just My Luck.

She also managed to turn in descent performances in respectable dramas like Bobby, A Prairie Home companion and Georgia Rule.

For a few glorious years she seemingly had it all and looked set to become America’s next auburn haired sweetheart. But then… everything collapsed in a pile of broken dreams drenched in bleach and drunken disappointment.  When child stars fall they fall hard and it can be impossible to get back up.

Where is she now?

Apparently she has a role in a new Rob Schneider comedy, but after all the years of drama, scandal and frequent visits to women’s correctional facilities it’s unlikely many people care. Thankfully Emma Stone has filled the husky voiced redhead shaped hole in our hearts.

 

  1. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore was literally born into acting. She is part of the Barrymore acting family and the granddaughter of John Barrymore, arguably the most acclaimed actor of his generation.  Wasting even less time than most of our child stars she starred in her first commercial when she was just 11 months old.

The world fell in love with her instantly after her role as Gertie the youngest of the three children in Steven Spielberg’s beloved blockbuster about a suburban family befriending a lost alien.  Overnight the colossal Box office success of the film and her own immeasurable cuteness made her a household name and one of the most famous child stars of all time. While she was still only 7 years old.  She quickly went on to receive a golden globe nomination for best supporting actress for family drama Irreconcilable Differences just two years later.

Unfortunately she also wasted little time finding trouble and was infamously in rehab by the time she was 13. It’s one of the most frightening examples of what can happen when children are exposed irresponsibly to the crushing pressures of fame and Hollywood success prematurely. But thankfully Drew recovered fully and went on to become a popular and acclaimed adult star.

Where is she now?

Drew Barrymore became a huge star again in the 90s and achieved box office success with countless rom-coms and occasional dramatic roles. She stepped behind the camera to make her directorial debut with superb roller derby coming of age tale Whip It, starring Ellen Page.

 

  1. Henry Thomas

Drew Barrymore’s E.T. co-star Henry Thomas played the film’s lead role as Elliot the young boy who actually finds and initially befriends the stranded spaceman.

His performance epitomises the outstanding calibre of child stars in 80s kids classic. It was a time when child actors felt real and ordinary instead of being irritating polished nuggets of stage school smarm.

Beneath E.T.’s more obvious alien adventure story was a rich subtext about children dealing with the aftermath of divorce and Henry Thomas deals with both aspects of Spielberg’s enchanting tale with accomplished depth.  He helped give us some of the greatest moments in cinema history and for that we’ll always be thankful.

Where is he now?

Henry Thomas continues to act on TV and in films most notably with roles in Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and starring alongside Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum in romantic drama Dear John.  We’ll next be seeing him alongside Kate Bosworth and Josh Lucas in a film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur.

 

  1. Christian Bale

Steven Spielberg has an uncanny knack of discovering fresh talent and he found another diamond performance in the shape of Christian Bale in his adaptation of JG Ballard’s autobiographical novel Empire of The Sun, about a young boy whose privileged life is turned upside down by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai.

Sharing the screen with the likes of John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson, the young Bale stunned international audiences with a mesmerizing performance in the WWII epic, having beat our 4000 other kids who auditioned for the role. Is haunted performance captured the grim realities of life that war so frequently and tragically brings.

Bale went on to channel the dark side as an adult with cult serial killer classic American Psycho and as The Dark Knight himself in the latest Batman franchise.  He continues to ring a determined intensity to all his rolls.

Where is he now?

Preparing to growl his way through a final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s impressive Batman Trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises set to be the biggest film of the year.

 

  1. Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci made her cinematic debut acting alongside Cher in Mermaids in 1990. She immediately became a household name and one of the most recognizable child stars of the decade thanks to her delightfully dark comedic turn as Wednesday Adam in both the Addams Family and Addams Family Values.  In the sequel she particularly stole the show during a sequence where she wages Indian war on a saccharine summer camp during a thanksgiving themed play. She also played the human befriending Casper the friendly ghost in the kooky big screen adaptation of the popular old kids cartoon.

With her wide eyes and razor sharp comedic timing her deadpan delivery was perfect for the roles she landed and almost won her far more. She narrowly lost out on projects like Interview with the Vampire and Little Women.

As she has gotten older she carved out a niche for herself playing sexy nymphets and has frequently worked alongside Johnny Depp on films like Sleep Hollow.  She remains a firm fixture on television and on the big screen.

Where is she now?

Recently shared steamy scenes with Robert Pattinson in French historical dram Bel Ami and is flying high on our TV screen in Pan Am.

 

  1. Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst started acting at 3 and  appeared in over 70 commercials. She made her feature film debut in a segment of Woody Allen’s 1989 film New York Stories. But it was in 1994 that she gave her breakthrough performance acting alongside Tom Cruise & Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire, playing an eternally childlike vampire.

Her other worldly performance of an increasingly cynical and jaded soul trapped inside an ageless child’s body gained her a golden globe nomination and countless other awards. It also catapulted her to prolific success. Over the next few years she starred in films like Little Women, Jumanji, Small Soldiers and The Virgin Suicides.

Of course she’s now best known as Mary Jane Watson the object of Peter Parker’s affections in Sam Rami’s blockbuster Spiderman franchise.

Where is she now?

She recently won a clutch of awards for her performance e in Lars von Triers Apocalyptic lament Melancholia and is currently reteaming with Sofa Coppola for The Bling Ring. Well also be seeing her in comedy the bachelorette alongside Isla Fisher & James Marsden & in On the Road alongside Kristen Stewart.

 

  1. Chloe Moretz

Very much in the mould of scarily accomplished young actresses Chloe Moretz had already starred in countless films and TV shows by the time she became the instantly iconic child vigilante in Kick Ass based on Mark Miller’s superbly dark and violent superhero comicbook.

The role, complete with brutally dispatching copious amounts of bad guys and dropping the C-bomb catapulted her into the centre of mass media attention and giddy fanboys praise.

Since then she’s been more in demand than any other young star of her generation. She played the supernatural heroine in successful horror remake Let Me In and starred in Martin Scorsese’s multi award winning children’s tale Hugo.

Where is she now?

One of the busiest working actresses in Hollywood Chloe Moretz is next on our screens opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s kooky comedy Dark Shadows. She has a host of other films lined up afterwards at various stages of production, including landing the lead role in Stephen King horror remake Carrie.

 

  1. Asa Buttersfield

Asa Butterfield gained international acclaim thanks to his stunning performance in ‘The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas’. Set during World War II, he played Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences.

It was a compelling performance which instantly marked him for future greatness.  He didn’t have to wait long; he recently starred in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning children’s film Hugo, playing the titular role of Hugo Cabret, a young Parisian orphan who unlocks a strange mystery surrounding a broken robot.

Where is he now?

Asa is currently filming the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classis ci-fi novel Ender’s Game alongside the likes of Harrison Ford, Ben Kinglsey and a host of other emerging child stars. He plays the lead role of Ender Wiggin in the film expected to be a massive hit due to the books huge popularity.

 

  1. Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin had only ever acted in a school play before she stunned audiences worldwide with her performance as Holy Hunter’s angry young daughter in The Piano. She received an Oscar for her performance making her the second youngest Oscar winner ever.

She followed her awards success with a memorable and endearing performance in Fly Away Home a film about a young girl who raises a young family of Canadian geese and ultimately teaches them to migrate by flying with them in a light aircraft.

As she grew up she took on the role of superhero Rouge in the X Men movie franchise and recently won acclaim for her performance in drama Margaret.

Where is she now?

Anna Paquin is currently enjoying the company of various vampires and werewolves in HBO popular saucy supernatural series True Blood playing psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse.

 

  1. Abigail Breslin

Abigail Breslin first caught attention playing Mel Gibson’s eccentric young daughter in Signs. The performance landed her subsequent roles in Raising Helen and more importantly Little Miss Sunshine. She was Oscar nominated for her role in that film about a dysfunctional family determined to get their young daughter to a beauty pageant despite an increasingly disastrous cross country trip in a VW bus.

More recently she starred alongside Woody Harrleson & Emma Stone in Zombieland and leant her voice to Oscar winning animation Rango. She also featured in Gary Marshall’s all-star rom-com New Year’s Eve.

Where is she now?

She’s currently alongside most of the other talented child stars of her generation on the set of Enders game ad ready for a host of new roles which include films like Haunter, Innocence, Virgin Mary and The Hive.

 

  1. River phoenix

When he was born River Phoenix’s family were members of the Children Of God sect in South America. His father was their Archbishop of Venezuela. In 1977 the family  relocated to LA and changed their name to Phoenix.

By the time he was Ten River was regularly working professionally on TV. He made his feature film debut with Explorers in 1985, the Spielberg produced film about three children who receive instructions to build a spaceship in their dreams.

He followed this rapidly with box office successes with Stand By Me and The Mosquito Coast in 1986, before he took the coveted role as young Indiana Jones in the opening segment of The Last Crusade. In 1988 he earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role in Running on Empty. He delivered one of the most compelling performances of his brief career in My Own private Idaho in 1991.

Where is he now?

Tragically River Phoenix died aged just 23  following a drug overdose outside the  Viper Club in Hollywood. He lives on through his early work as a bittersweet reminder of what we lost.

 

   22. The Goonies cast

Known as Mikey, Brand, Chunk, Mouth, Andy, Stef and Data The Goonies are and always will be the ultimate combination of child stardom. They were all a convincingly believable as a misfit band of friend on a wild adventure to find lost pirate gold. We really don’t need to tell you why the Goonies re awesome, you already know this stuff.

Where are they now?

Sean Astin -  he obviously went on to play Sam, Frodo’s hobbit bff, in the Lord of the Rings. He’s also been on 24 and among countless other films and tv shows. Apparently he has an impressive 7 movies scheduled for release this year alone

Josh Brolin -is enjoying career resurgence with an Oscar nom for W, roles in True Grit, Wall Street 2 and soon to be in Men In Black 3.

Corey Feldman recently competed on Dancing On Ice, had his own reality tv show wth corey haim and continue to make mostly dvd calibre movies and sing in his rock band.

Jeff Cohen – is a successful top entertainment lawyer. He also got voted president class president at his university with a vote for chunk campaign slogan.

Kerri Green – made her directorial debut is 1999 and was last seen in 2012 drama Complacent.

Martha Plimpton – has become a very familiar face on American TV in the past few years with regular roles on How to make it in America, Raising Hope and The Good Wife.

Ke Huy-Quan – Had regular TV roles in the 80s and 90s. Is now known as Jonathan Ke Quan and last seen in 2002 film Second time around.

 

  1. Macaully Culkin

Macaulay Culkin is arguably the paradigm example of a child star. He started acting at the age of four and grabbed initial attention alongside legendary funny man John Candy in John Hughes endearing comedy Uncle Buck. He then reunited with John Hughes for the film that would make him briefly one of the biggest film stars on the planet. He played Kevin McAlister a young boy accidently left home alone over the holidays who has to fight off two bumbling burglars using a deadly array of homemade booby-traps.

The film became a global box office phenomenon and spawned the inevitable sequel Home Alone 2 lost in New York. It predictably repeated the film’s basic plot in a New York setting. In between his home alone bad guy torturing, Culkin also reduced audiences to tears with weepy young romantic drama My Girl.

Culkin then made his way through films like The Pagemaster, Getting Even with Dad and Richie Riche. They were greated with moderate box office success but a clearly declining audience enthusiasm as Culkin’s angelic feature gradually became scarily adult.

Where is he now?

Last heard lending his voice to various characters in animated comedy series Robot Chicken he’s currently MIA. If you do know where Mac is and how he’s doing these days please give us a call. Mila Klunis we’re talking about you here…


Top Movie Villains

1. Magneto – X-Men

Michael Fassbender and Sir Ian McKellan have both helped make metal bending mutant Magneto an iconic and oddly likeable super villain. A fine array of wry one liners coupled with the ability to move cars, bullets and bridges with his mind makes him an impressively powerful and charming anti-hero. He also has a very stylish helmet and a surprisingly sympathetic reason for waging war on the human race. Honestly if he let me wear a cape I’d probably join his side.

 

2. The Grand High Witch – The Witches

Roald Dahl is the undisputed master of grim fairy tales and his most sinister creation is undoubtedly the child hating Grand High Witch, brought to repulsive life in Nicolas Roeg’s  film version by Angelica Huston and some convincingly horrific makeup.

The only thing more nightmare inducing than the infamous scene where she lays out her plan to exterminate children to a ballroom full of her ugly minions, is her gruesome eventual demise.  She’s also one of the few villains in a children’s film who actually manages to do something very nasty to our young hero, turning him into a mouse. There’s nothing more scary than knowing that even the obnoxiously cute lead actor isn’t safe.

 

3. Scar – The Lion King

He might be just a cartoon but Jeremy Irons breathed malevolent life into one of Disney’s finest villains in The Lion King. It’s hard to say if his finest moment is the memorably melodic musical number Be Prepared or the way he ruthlessly dispatches King Mufasa before ticking his distraught nephew Simba into blaming himself for his father’s demise. Either way he’s responsible for making a generation of children question the circle of life and cry in cinemas for the first time.

Disney has given us a host of great villains though and honourable mention must also go to evil octo-lady Ursula from the little Mermaid. Her habit of turning people into shrivelled sea worms and harassing hot redheads made her pretty scary too.

 

4. Hal – 2001

The psychotic spaceship computer from 2001: A space odyssey is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of when technology turns evil. The simple combination of an unblinking red eyed star and a creepy voice asking “What are you doing Dave?” is enough to make you want to unplug your laptop immediately. It’s also the main reason why I’ll never fully trust Microsoft Sam.

 

5. Frank – Once Upon A time In The West

‘Once upon the time In the West’ is arguably Sergio Leone’s greatest western masterpiece and casting Henry Fonda as ruthless gunslinger Frank is perhaps one of the most sublime pieces of stunt casting ever.  In the opening scene Frank’s gang brutally murders an entire family with Fonda personally finishing off a young survivor from point blank range.  It’s hard to explain just how shocking this was at the time for audiences so accustomed to seeing Fonda as the definitive likeable hero.  It’s as disturbing as a puppy with rabies and a mesmerising performance of unflinching evil.

 

6. Ivan Drago – Rocky IV

There’s something so delightfully kitsch and ridiculous about Dolph Lundgren’s monosyllabic muscle mountain in Rocky IV that it’s impossible to fear or hate him, even while he’s beating Rocky’s best friend Apollo Creed to death.  The fact that in real life Dolph Lundgren is literally a nuclear physicist makes it even more hilarious when he comes out with classic lines like “I must break you” Throw in some very short shorts, a lot of baby oil and  cheesy training montages set to classic 80s power rock and you have a recipe for camp villain excellence.

 

7. Colonel Hans Landa – Inglorious Basterds

In Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards Christoph Waltz brought a decidedly more sinister tone to a character with a charmingly thick European accent.  As the Nazi’s chief Jew hunter Colonel Hans is the epitome of the charismatic psychopath.  His casual interrogation of a nervous French farmer is a slow painful dance with the devil that has a predictably violent conclusion. There’s something far more dangerous and detestable about a villain who’s actually smart enough to catch the good guys.

 

8. Keyser Soze – The Usual Suspects

The villain of the usual suspects is a fantastic example of how you can be utterly afraid of someone you’ve never even met.  Listening to a motley crew of crooks and thugs telling tall tales of Keyser Soze’s sinister deeds slowly elevates him to the mythical status of near omnipresent evil.  By the end you’ll be convinced it was probably Keyser Soze that stole that watch you can’t find.

 

9. Hannibal Lecter – Silence Of The Lambs

Anthony Hopkins seductive charm as cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter is so great that it’s simply easy to forget he’s a psychopathic monster who eats people. Watching him trade wits and playful banter with young FBI agent Clarice Starling through a plexi-glass prison wall is one of the most electrifying experiences in film history. Although the most startling thing is that when he does finally make his horrific escape it’s surprisingly hard not to find yourself cheering.  He’s the most gruesome but effective anti-hero.

 

10. Wicked Witch of the West – The Wizard Of Oz

She’s mean, green and she’ll get your little dog too! The wicked witch of the west is a timeless villain with a classic evil cackle and an army of nasty winged monkeys.  When the Munchkins are barely finished welcoming you with song, you’re really not ready for the hook nosed harbinger of doggy doom swooping in on her broom.  Although as with many villains her most awful moment is her infamous ending, as she melts away lamenting “What a world! what a cruel cruel world!”.

 

11. Mombi – Return to Oz.

Not having learnt her lesson, when Dorothy went back to Oz for Disney’ surprisingly dark sequel she met an even more sinister foe. Mombi the witch with a thousand stolen heads. Even as an adult it’s hard not to be left a bit terrified looking at an endless row of severed human heads trapped alive in glass cases.

 

12. Hans Gruber – Die Hard

Hollywood has a fine tradition of using gifted European thespians as action movie baddies, but the very best of the bunch has to be Alan Rickman’s snooty criminal mastermind in Die Hard. There’s something delightful about listening to him quote classical literature or make smarmy small talk about good tailoring while leading a crew of eurobaddies in a vicious heist job.

Rickman’s turn as an evil ventriloquist as Professor Snape could have been on this list if he was actually a little more villainous.

 

13. Lord Voldemort – Harry Potter

He who shall not be named, Lord Voldemort is a villain so evil you can’t even say his name! That is pretty impressive, as is the title as the most powerful dark wizard of all time. Although he does loose quite a few cool points for lacking a nose and for being ultimately defeated by a bunch of teenagers with names like Neville Longbottom.

 

14. The Child Catcher – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

It’s really all right here in the name isn’t it?  What could possibly be scarier than a hideously creepy man literally luring children into his giant net with the promise of “Lollipops, Lollipops and candy”. Created by Roald Dahl who wrote the screenplay for the otherwise sweet childish adventure it’s pretty hard to ignore the characters paedophilic undertones .  But at least he taught generations of kids not to get in the back of a van just because someone says it’s full of ice cream.

 

15. Darth Vader – Star Wars

Darth Vader is the undisputed daddy of movie villains and the only person who made it slightly cool to have asthma at school. He’s so strong with the dark side he’s quite happy to use the force to strangle people on his own side! A towering Jedi nightmare he’s more machine than man, twisted and evil. An expressionless black mask and James Earl Jones gravelly voice give him added gravitas as he wielded his glowing red lightsabre.

 

16. The Joker

From Jack Nicholson’s clown prince to Heath Ledger’s twisted jester, The Joker has always been THE most compelling comicbook villain; simply because he’s not after world domination, money or even revenge. He’s just a lunatic who wants to watch the world burn.  Playfully psychotic , destructive and dangerously unpredictable he’s the ultimate evil clown.

 

17. Alien

First seen in Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 sci-fi horror that came with the ominous tagline “In space no one can hear you scream”, this Alien is undoubtedly not a close encounter of the friendly kind.

Designed by Swiss surrealist artist H.R.Giger it’s a walking Freudian nightmare.  It’s got sulphuric acid for blood and a face so nasty it actually has two mouths full of razor sharp teeth.

Its first appearance on screen has to go down as one of the most terrifying dinner fiascos of all time, as the alien literally bursts out of the chest of adored British character actor John Hurt in front of his terrified and dumbfound crewmates. Ultimately the only things that can kill this perfect monster is fire and Sigourney weaver in her underwear.

In recognition of being so convincingly terrifying, Alien won a Oscar for best visual effects. One particularly clever device is that in Alien Ridley Scott set the speed of the background engine thumps on the Nostromo to just above resting heart rate, teasing your heart into keeping pace.

 

18. Roy Batty – Bladerunner

In Ridley Scott’s dystopian sci-fi classic Blade Runner Rutger Hauger played Roy Batty a vicious android determined to survive at any cost. His genius intellect and superhuman strength made him more than a match for Harrison Ford as the rough edged detective reluctantly obliged to hunt him down. A memorable death scene where he philosophises about moonbeams on a rainy rooftop is oddly moving given all his other murderous android antics.

 

19. The Terminator

The Terminator is one of the greatest movie villains partly because he’s a time travelling cyborg with a super computer brain that will never eat, sleep or stop until he kills you. But mostly it’s because despite all this he has an apparent penchant for leather and a suspiciously Austrian accent. Despite inevitably becoming a hero in the sequel, in his first outing The Terminator was all bad.

 

20. Predator

Another Arnie action classic saw him square up against an invisible alien monster that hunts people for sport and keeps their skulls for trophies. Taking a literal approach to our fear of what we can’t see, this was the ultimate rumble in the jungle. When we finally do get to see the 7 foot monster it doesn’t disappoint either. Sporting dreadlocks and one heck of an ugly mouth, for once in his life Arnie is the underdog.

 

21. Jaws

Jaws has to be the ultimate movie villain because it’s the movie monster that has literally given generations of people across the world a phobia of swimming in the ocean.  Most of the credit has to go to John Williams’s ominous and minimalistic soundtrack masterpiece.  With just a few notes he made the tranquil surface of water absolutely terrifying with the fear of what was lurking underneath.  Jaws only kills one dog and about 6 people but the fact that sharks are really swimming around out there waiting to eat us all is enough to make anyone nervous to get on the Lillo.