A Fascinating Read From Slate …
… about the accelerated career paths of Young Hollywood and why the term “child star” may now be a misnomer.
“It used to be the case—until the mid-’90s at least—that your average star broke out sometime in their late twenties if they were a man, early twenties if they were a woman, and took on their defining roles in their thirties and early forties, setting them up nicely for an Oscar run: Tom Hanks was 28 when he appeared in Splash and 37 when he won his first Oscar in Philadelphia. Sandra Bullock was 30 when she appeared in Speed and 45 when she won an Oscar last year for The Blind Side. For the generation coming up behind them, it’s pretty much the same, only everything has shifted forward exactly a decade. Actors used to be butterflies—now they are mayflies. Your teens are when you break out, your twenties your prime acting real estate, and 30 the age at which the women win their Oscars, at which point they either go to work for HBO or disappear into Paltrow-esque semi-retirement, and the men announce their plans to direct.
“If I’m still acting at 46 I’ll be surprised,” Ryan Gosling told me when I interviewed him earlier this year, recently turned 30, exuding the confidence of someone with an 18-year career already under his belt. It has been the exemplary modern career: a Mouseketeer at 12, Gosling made his film debut at 17 (Frankenstein & Me), was a tween superstar at 24 (The Notebook), after which he tacked hard left to establish his indie street cred (Half Nelson, Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine), before making a big down payment on his movie star equity this year in Drive and Crazy Stupid Love. “How many characters can you play?” he asked. “I don’t know how much longer you can really do it for. I’ve been acting since I was 12. If I was just starting now, maybe. But now I’m 30. I do this for 10 more years I’ll be shocked.”
Read the full story here.