Film

10 Talented Kids That Grew Up to Be Adult Stars

Whoever came up with the phrase "life is wasted on the youth" has some explaining to do to these ten incredible talents.

Sponsored by Friday Night Tykes

Ready to feel inadequate? As if the achievements of the ten people listed below weren't impressive enough on their own, many of them were accomplished before the artists reached the age of ten. That's right: by the time the rest of us normal folks were preparing ourselves to deal with algebra for the first time, these preternaturally talented young people were already taking big steps into the spotlight. Building a talent, whether physical or mental, takes time and dedication, but some people are lucky enough that they have the raw materials to throw a ball long or nail a really difficult piece of music not long after the training wheels came off their bikes.

Yet while it's easy to envy someone whose success starts at a young age, life for those kids isn't easy, either. Most obviously, displaying such talent creates a bar that becomes hard to vault. If, for example, a young boy shows aptitude at the game of football, his entire life becomes set around landing that starting quarterback position. Anything short of that just won't do. Similarly, the great classical composer prodigies start their careers off writing great music, but those compositions then only set a lofty standard that has to continually be met. Simply put, being a child talent is a blessing that comes with the potential for a curse.

The ups and downs of being an exceptionally skilled young person is captured in the television program Friday Night Tykes, which just began its second season on the Esquire Network. Like many of the folks below, the kids of Friday Night Tykes' Texas Youth Football Association are gifted but are put to work for it. Football isn't a sport where a handshake will get you a win, nor is it a game where people are just peachy taking second place. In fact, although it's easy to be taken by the drive and ambition of these young football players, one can't help but ask: Is it possible to push a young talent too far in the pursuit of greatness? The people in the list below have already had their success; the aspiring football players of Friday Night Tykes, however, still have awhile before reaching that point. To find out whether or not they make it, tune into the show at 9PM/8PM central on Esquire Network.

Watch the trailer for Friday Night Tykes below:


You can follow the show through the hashtag #ThisIsFootball.

The ten talents below are people who had the tenacity to break through the potential pratfalls of kicking their careers off from an early age. No matter the field they're in, each is a reminder that although coming back from an explosive start may be difficult, with hard work a dream can be realized, so long as one never takes his eyes off the end zone.

 

Neil Patrick Harris

This triple threat performer -- whose chops in acting, singing, and dancing are well documented -- is most well known in the present day as the scheming lothario Barney Stinson from the long-running CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. Those who know him first and foremost as "NPH", however, often forget that this perpetually young-looking entertainer's breakthrough role came in the 1989-1993 TV series Doogie Howser, M.D., wherein he played a teenage doctor. Two decades later, he's got several far more mature productions under his belt, including two stellar Broadway turns: the Tony-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins and the Broadway debut of John Cameron Mitchell's Hedwig and the Angry Inch. To quote Barney Stinson, his transformation from fresh-faced M.D. to all-around superstar has been truly "legendary".

 

Jodie Foster

Following a decade of appearing in various TV shows, Jodie Foster made a huge national splash with her supporting role in Martin Scorsese's bleak 1976 drama Taxi Driver as a child prostitute. Foster's extensive filmography reveals her to have a natural gift for appearing in front of the camera and giving it her all, even from a very young age. She took home Oscars for her performance sin The Accused (1988) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991), which gave Foster her most inimitable role to this day, as Detective Clarice Starling. In addition to her extensive acting work, she's also taken a few turns behind the camera as a director, most memorably for the underrated Mel Gibson vehicle The Beaver (2011).

 

Justin Timberlake

In some ways, Timberlake hasn't shed the image he's been building since his early days on the Mickey Mouse Club. Even on his more sophisticated musical recordings, such as 2013's 140-minute The 20/20 Experience, his affable boy-band vocals and harmonies, refined during his time as a member of the juggernaut boy band *NSYNC, are still on full display. Yet while images of Timberlake and his fellow Mousketeer Ryan Gosling are the subject of much web scrutiny, he has done considerable work to progress as an artist. From his stellar 2006 album FutureSex/LoveSounds, to his shockingly good performance in The Social Network, to his numerous digital shorts with the cast of Saturday Night Live, Timberlake has clearly taken it upon himself to do the one thing that is necessary for a child talent to overcome the trappings of his youthful image: branch out.

 

Ron Howard

As Opie on The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), Ron Howard evokes an optimistic, idealized version of America, a perfect fit for the small town utopia that is Mayberry, North Carolina. Although to some Howard's performance might be seen as a trifle, a relic of a aw-schucksy America that simply doesn't exist any more, the truth is it's an iconic performance, one that has cemented itself into American television history. That alone is something for Howard to treasure, but he certainly didn't rest on his laurels after leaving Mayberry. Rather than opt for a career in acting -- save for a few performances here and there -- Howard rose to even wider prominence as a director, with Oscar-bait flicks like A Beautiful Mind (2001) and Frost/Nixon (2007) at the top of his résumé. Mayberry may be a small world unto itself, but Howard was still able to take his craft from that cozy environment to the big screen with great success.

 

Chris Thile

Along with Sara Watkins (fiddle) and Sean Watkins (guitar), Chris Thile formed the widely popular "newgrass" trio Nickel Creek in 1989; the group celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Thile began in Nickel Creek as a guitar player, but he quickly took to the mandolin, with stunning results. Since his preteen days with Nickel Creek, he has gone on to play with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer, which prove challenging supplements to his time with bands like the wildly creative Punch Brothers. He's also written his own mandolin concerto and recorded a collection of Bach solo violin pieces. Yes, watching Thile rip and and down the mandolin's wee fretboard remains mesmerizing to this day, but it's even more stunning to see that unparalleled talent latent in his early days.

Next Page

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.

Music

Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.

Film

Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.

Music

Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Music

The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.