When Hollywood discusses child stars, certain names inevitably turn up as evidence of their ability to succeed: Drew Barrymore, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, or Neil Patrick Harris, to name just a few. Currently teen starlets Abigail Breslin, Chloe Moretz, and Dakota Fanning are all transitioning from adorable children into formidable adults with aplomb. But some actors have been so successful in shaking their childhood origins, it may be difficult to recall their younger selves at all.
1 Christian Bale
Most recently known for his starring role as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s darkly re-imaginist trilogy, Bale is a devoted method actor. He lost 63 pounds to play the tormented lead in 2004’s “The Machinist,” only to rapidly bulk back up to film one of the Batman movies. In 2010 he won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for “The Fighter,” a biographical sports drama about a boxer. With all of his success, not to mention the scandal that erupted in 2008 when Bale launched into a tantrum of epic proportions on the set of “Terminator Salvation,” who can even remember Bale’s origins? Turns out, he made his acting debut in a television commercial at the age of eight, and found fame at the age of fourteen in the coming-of-age film “Empire of the Sun.”
2 Jason Bateman
Bateman enjoyed a successful role in the critically acclaimed television show “Arrested Development,” and has starred in movies such as “Dodgeball,” “The Break-Up,” and “Juno.” However, Bateman’s current career is actually a second wind; he starred in the television series “Little House on the Prairie,” which began airing in 1974. Bateman took some time off in the mid-to-late nineties, and has publicly stated that he appreciates this second wave of success his career is experiencing.
3 Mayim Bialik
Bialik is known to many simply as the quirky, outspoken scientist Amy Farah Fowler on CBS’s comedy “The Big Bang Theory.” Previously, Bialik starred as the titular character in NBC’s “Blossom,” which ran for five years. After the show, Bialik took some time off to finish her education; she holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience, similar to her current character Amy.
4 Elijah Wood
Wood secured his position as lovable hobbit Frodo Baggins when he was only eighteen. While some audiences can only picture him as Tolkien’s big-footed journeyer, he wasn’t a stranger to the screen before the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy; he made his film debut ten years prior, in “Back to the Future Part II.”
5 Scarlett Johansson
Recently seen as the sexy Black Widow in Marvel’s “The Avengers,” millions of fans just don’t want to think about Johansson’s younger self. But the blond bombshell first got started in show business at only nine years old, playing John Ritter’s daughter in the fantasy-comedy “North,” which was panned by critics. Johansson proved her worth by transitioning to adult roles in the critically-lauded films “Girl With a Pearl Earring” and “Lost in Translation.”[Gallery not found]