By Poulami Bhandari Last Updated:
In the realm of Hollywood, getting a taste of fame as a child actor and transitioning it into a successful career in adulthood is not everyone’s cup of tea. While some get lost in this vast ocean of talent, others quit the showbiz field. A talented few possess the remarkable capability to withstand the test of time and navigate through the challenges and competition that the industry puts out once you step into it as an adult.
The transition from an adorable and cute face on the screen to a respected adult performer requires more than just talent, it demands adaptability, determination, hard work, patience and resilience.
Check out these exceptional actors who once started as child actors, honed their skills and have now proved their mettle to the world.
Undoubtedly, very few child actors transformed into great actors like Leonardo. From his breakthrough role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape to his iconic performance in Titanic, he has proved himself a remarkable actor with exceptional acting talent.
Leonardo was first ever seen on the screen on the children’s show, Romper Room at the mere age of five. The award-winning actor began appearing on several television programmes in the year 1990, including Roseanne and The New Lassie. He was chosen for a recurring part on the sitcom, Growing Pains in 1991.
The same year saw DiCaprio’s debut on the big screen in the low-budget horror movie, Critters 3. Going on, despite receiving multiple offers for roles in blockbuster films, he focused on parts that presented the nuanced characters that had defined his career.
Little miss nerdy wizard garnered all the attention since she was a child. Emma played the role of 'Hermione Granger' in the Harry Potter films, and the audience was awe-struck by her performance. After the franchise ended, Emma looked for more mature roles.
She bagged a major role in the 2012 movie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Then she made appearances in the crime drama, The Bling Ring (2013), the historical suspense drama, The Colony, also known as Colonia (2015), and the science fiction suspense film, The Circle (2017).
These films could only enjoy moderate box office success, but Watson scored another box-office success with the 2017 live-action Disney remake of Beauty and the Beast. Then she starred as 'Meg March' in Greta Gerwig's critically acclaimed adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's beloved children's book, Little Women in 2019.
This Hollywood diva has several iconic roles to her name. After having a brief stint in modelling, Natalie transitioned to acting and bagged her first movie role in Leon: The Professional in 1994. Starring French actor Jean Reno, she plays a teenage girl who receives training to be an assassin after her parents are killed.
She subsequently played the role of a disturbed kid in Michael Mann's 1995 crime thriller, Heat before playing the role of 'Padme Amidala' in the Star Wars prequel, Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace (1999). Natalie then signed up for significant roles in films like Black Swan to the super hit, Thor franchise.
Ryan Reynolds is today best known for his role as the foul-mouthed anti-hero, Deadpool, but one should not forget that he started his career as a child artist. He started acting at thirteen after attending an open casting call and getting a lead role in Nickelodeon's adolescent soap opera, Hillside.
After moving to Hollywood, Reynolds played a few supporting roles in T.V. shows and films. He appeared in the action films, Smokin' Aces (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), Green Lantern (2011), and R.I.P.D. Following the success of Deadpool, Reynolds co-wrote and acted in the follow-up, Deadpool 2, released in 2018. Last year, he co-starred with Will Ferrell in the musical comedy Spirited, based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.
Scarlett Johansson always had a knack for acting. By the time she was seven years old, she already started auditioning for advertisements. She debuted in Rob Reiner's North (1994) at the age of nine after appearing with Ethan Hawke in the Off-Broadway production of Sophistry when she was eight-years old.
Her first big break came with the 1996 coming-of-age movie, Manny & Lo, about two orphaned sisters who flee. She then received praise for her performance in The Horse Whisperer (1998) as a girl who had been in a disfiguring accident, and she attracted more recognition in Ghost World (2001) as the cynical teen outcast 'Rebecca'.
She became a household name with her character 'Natasha Romanoff', a secret spy also known as the Black Widow, who made her first appearance in the MCU franchise with the action movie, Iron Man 2. She then reprised her role in the superhero blockbusters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Actress, Christina Ricci is renowned for portraying unusual roles with a gloomy undertone. Ricci debuted with Mermaids in 1990 at the age of nine, and then she landed her breakthrough role as 'Wednesday Addams' in The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel.
Christina became well-known as a teen icon after making subsequent appearances in Casper and Now and Then (both in 1995). With The Ice Storm (1997), she transitioned into more mature and adult roles at the age of 17.
Ricci also appeared in films like Buffalo '66, Pecker, and The Opposite of Sex (all in 1998). She received praise for her roles in Monster (2003) and Sleepy Hollow (1999).
Brie first appeared on-screen in a mock advertisement on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when she was a child. Then she kept appearing as a guest on several T.V. shows, including a 1999 episode of Touched by an Angel.
She also played the role of the main character's daughter in the sitcom, Raising Dad (2001-2002). She then starred as a young drag racer in Right on Track, a 2003 Disney film, after which she recorded the teen pop album, Finally Out of P.E. in 2005.
Larson has an Academy Award for her powerful portrayal of a young lady who has been abducted and imprisoned by a sexual predator in her film, Room (2015). She has bagged films like the King Kong remake, Kong: Skull Island and the thriller, The Glass Castle. Brie was then seen as 'Carol Danvers', an American Air Force pilot, in the 2019 films, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
People won’t believe that Stewart never wanted to become an actor. She was nominated for Young Artist Award for her performance as the protagonist’s daughter in David Fincher's suspenseful drama, Panic Room (2002) when she was only 12 years old.
Speak (2004), Catch That Kid (2004), Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and Into the Wild (2007) were the films in which she later starred. She became infamous for portraying 'Bella Swan' in the 2008–2012 Twilight Saga film series, one of the highest-grossing movie franchises.
Following her performance in the fantasy movie, Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Stewart chose to work on independent films rather than big-budget ones. She played parts in the 2014 dramas, Camp X-Ray and Still Alice and the 2016 science fiction love story, Equals.
Who do you think has gracefully passed the test of time and proved their talent to the entire world? Do tell us.