Monday, July 19, 2010

When is a Bit Player Not a Bit Player?

When he or she is a child star, of course.  I finally got through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince last night on-demand.  From 2009, it is the sixth entry in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rawling, with two more movies coming this year and next.  I think I'll wait and buy the box set of all eight movies in HD.

The title character and several other children have been thrust into stardom because of the popularity of this series.  I am not denying them their fame, and I know that I am not expressing concerns about them that have not surfaced before.  The fact is, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, plus a group of supporting players including Bonnie Wright and Tom Felton, can't go out anywhere without being swamped by fans.

Radcliffe was paid 250,000 British pounds for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in 2001, when he was 12 years old.  Just six years later he received $14,000,000 for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and that year he was voted sixth on the Forbes 20 Top-Earning Young Superstars.  I didn't want to look at his salary for the last two movies, yet to come.  (I did.  He and the two other main characters, all under 22 years old, received $50,000,000 EACH for the last two movies.)

Other than just a few small roles in theater, TV and minor movies, none of these young ladies and gentlemen were ever really bit players.  The started acting, enough to know when to audition for a movie, and then...POOF...a title role, or at least, a role that would cause them to become famous. 

I believe this will present problems for them in the future.  They do not possess the depth of experience that comes from playing a variety of parts.  Of all the Our Gang kids, approximately 44, only Jackie Cooper made the grade.  Child actor Jackie Coogan was a star, but his later roles went downhill. 

So, what can they do with their lives now?  My suggestion, since they are all roughly 20 years old, is to get as complete an education as they can, majoring in acting and literature, of course.  Then start taking parts based on what they think will add to their experience, not their bank account.  If they prove their worth, they may make it.

They should also read the biographies of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Brad Renfro, Dana Plato, and others.  Work is what is needed for a satisfying life, not living to excess.  If Radcliffe has been smart with his money, he really does not need to work again...ever!

Even though the stars of Harry Potter are rich and famous, they really should be Bit Players.  (IMHO)


  1. Bonnie is doing good so far then. She's in film school and taking RADA (acting) classes over the summer.

    Actually all of them are fine. Dan has a new show on Broadway and a new film he's going to do in the fall.

    Tom has a new film lined up and Emma has her fashion work with People Tree. Rupert has the film Eddie the Eagle in the works. :D

  2. Thanks for the comment, Anon. I have no doubt that the stars of the H.P. series will be offered many roles and lots of money.

    The latest from the MTV web site is that they were EACH paid $50,000,000 for making the last two movies. Keep in mind that Radcliffe is 21, Watson is 20 and Grint is 22. At that age, I was making $97.60 a week, but that was a long time ago!

    My point is that they should be selective in their chosen projects so they can grow as actors and actresses. Sure it's a business, but it is also an art.

    I know that Radcliffe has been working on the stage, and in Equus (while still making H.P. movies) he had a very risque part. That experience will be great for him.


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