Walker Scobell And 21 Other Amazing Child Actors

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Walker Scobell And 21 Other Amazing Child Actors's Profile


I genuinely thought Lindsay Lohan had a twin.

Walker Scobell is getting a lot of praise for his role as young Adam in The Adam Project.


Netflix

At just 13 years of age, Walker did such a good job at matching Ryan Reynolds’ personality, and their chemistry made their relationship in the film all the more sweet, funny, and convincing. Walker’s already got his next big project lined up, having been cast as Percy Jackson in the upcoming TV adaptation!

Let’s take a look at times other child actors that absolutely stole the show.

1.

Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit


Paramount Pictures

Standing out amongst the likes of Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon is no mean feat, and a 13-year-old Hailee absolutely nailed her performance as Mattie. Hailee got Mattie’s gritty, rude demeanour spot on, and her on-screen interactions with Matt and Jeff were perfect. Matt Damon recalled being blown away by her level of acting when he first starred in scenes with her, which is high praise! 

2.

River Phoenix – Stand By Me


Columbia Pictures

This was one of River’s greatest performances, and a real example of the talent he possessed. The subtle emotion that he brought to the role of Chris Chambers was something incredibly rare for an actor of his age. In the scene where he breaks down saying he wants to “go someplace where nobody knows me”, it’s so heartbreaking!

3.

Abigail Breslin – Little Miss Sunshine


Fox Searchlight Pictures

A 10-year-old Abigail was sensational as Olive in this film. Her sweet, determined attitude comes across so well, and she contrasted excellently against the chaotic and cynical energy of the rest of the family. She was so iconic that in 2021, aged 25, she said that “people forget that I’m not nine anymore”.

4.

Alex Hibbert – Moonlight


A24

Aged 12, this was Alex’s debut role, and what an excellent performance it was! His portrayal of the youngest Chiron was full of emotion, particularly the scene with Mahershala Ali’s character teaching him how to swim. Alex brought so much character to such an important part of the movie, and hooked people right away.

5.

Kirsten Dunst – Interview With The Vampire


Warner Bos.

Kirsten’s performance as Claire – a terribly angry ageless vampire in the body of a young girl – was so oddly mature. Kirsten really does get the fury of Claire spot on, and she rightly won high praise for her breakout role.

Dunst has since acknowledged how it was “very weird” for her to kiss Brad Pitt – aged 31 at the time – when she was just 11 years old.

6.

Ivana Baquero – Pan’s Labyrinth


Warner Bros. Pictures

I was actually terrified of this film as a kid, but that’s a testament to Ivana’s performance as Ofelia. Her engaging control of every scene really transported us to the mystical world Ofelia found herself in. Ivana deservingly won the Goya award for her performance, only aged 11!

7.

Henry Thomas – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial


Universal Pictures

Thomas’s connection with E.T is largely why the film reduced so many of us to tears. The nine-year-old really depicted Elliot’s love for E.T, and his depth of emotion was perfect for the role. His superb audition tape has been widely viewed, and Spielberg has spoken about it, saying “the improvisation was so heartfelt and honest that I gave him the part right there.”

8.

Chloë Grace Moretz – Kick-Ass


Lionsgate.

This would have been such a fun character to play as a kid! Chloe’s performance as Hit-Girl was full of energy and wit, fitting perfectly with the quirky, bizarre tone of the movie. Chloe really took to the role of a mouthy, deadly child, a real achievement for someone of just 12 years! 

9.

Christian Bale – Empire of the Sun


Warner Bros.

Spielberg’s war epic really benefited from the performance of a young Bale, and it definitely sewed the seeds for his later dramatic roles. The harrowing journey of Jim going from a wealthy life to a prisoner of war camp was brilliantly acted, and he certainly held his own alongside seasoned actors John Malkovich and Miranda Richardson. 

10.

Natalie Portman – Léon: The Professional


Gaumont Buena Vista International

The young Natalie’s performance certainly made us believe in how formidable Mathilda is, the trauma she’s been through, and that she could indeed follow in Léon’s footsteps. It’s tough to believe that this very mature performance was her on-screen debut! 

Natalie has since clarified that the film probably wouldn’t get made today because it’s “largely inappropriate”, possibly due to the concentration on Mathilda’s feelings for Léon.

11.

Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things


Netflix

Onto someone who has often been described as a Natalie Portman lookalike, and much like Natalie, Millie’s first main role was full of maturity. She did such a good job of getting across the confusion and loneliness of Eleven, particularly in her initial interactions with Mike and his family home. Her engaging performance was undoubtedly one of the reasons for the show’s success. 

12.

Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild


Fox Searchlight Pictures

Hushpuppy, played by Quvenzhané, takes us through a tale of survival on an isolated island in Louisiana. Narrated through her own six-year-old eyes, this movie probably wouldn’t have hit so hard without Quvenzhané’s excellent performance. Her acting transformed a run-down area into a magical fantasy land, and won her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress at the age of nine!

13.

Jodie Foster – Taxi Driver


Columbia Pictures

At just 12 years old, Jodie Foster’s casting as Iris in a movie with very adult themes has since been questioned. Jodie has commented that she “wasn’t confused” by the sexuality of the film, but mentioned that “no one knew” how to direct her, and most people on set were uncomfortable around her. 

Foster’s performance is unquestionably excellent, and the maturity and emotion she conveys are certainly worthy of the Oscar nomination she received.

14.

Kiernan Shipka – Mad Men


AMC

Kiernan, who played Sally Draper, grew up in front of our eyes during the run of Mad Men. She really took on the mannerisms of Don and Betty, and expertly portrayed the trauma stemming from the moment she walked in on Don and Sylvia, as well as the ensuing moral battle that followed. 

15.

Saoirse Ronan – Atonement


Universal Pictures

Saoirse had to display such intelligence and imagination as Briony, and in the opinion of many, she perfectly brought director Joe Wright’s vision to life. Wright himself has spoken about working with Saoirse on Atonement, commenting that “she’s the most talented person I ever met in my life”. Saoirse also received an Oscar nomination for her role, aged 12.

16.

Lindsay Lohan – The Parent Trap


Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

When I saw this film as a kid I’m pretty sure I just assumed there were two Lohan twins. That might be due to my naivety, but irregardless (get it?) Lindsay really made both characters come alive as independent, separately raised children. Doing accents at that age is super impressive too, even though she was sort og doing an accent of someone doing an accent, which maybe made it a bit easier.

17.

Sunny Pawar – Lion


Transmission films

The way that eight-year-old Sunny played the lost young Saroo in the first part of the movie is absolutely harrowing. His desperation and innocence immediately got us invested in his story, and definitely contributed to the tears that may or may not have been rolling down our faces as the film played out. When he was lost at that station, it was just TOO MUCH. 

18.

McKenna Grace – The Handmaid’s Tale


Sophie Giraud / HULU

McKenna absolutely made the part of Esther her own, and was such an interesting addition to the show in season four. She really conveyed Esther’s disturbing past, and the uncomfortableness of the situation she was in. There’s so much depth to her relationship with June, and when she learns of Esther’s past, it’s pretty unbearable to watch. McKenna was recognised for her work by with an Emmy nomination for the part. 

19.

Roman Griffin Davis – Jojo Rabbit


Searchlight Pictures

Starring as the lead and a member of the Hitler youth with Hitler as his imaginary best friend – that’s a tough ask for any experienced actor, let alone a 12-year-old! Roman did such a great job of playing Jojo, and his innocent but defiant energy – plus his amazing chemistry with Taika Waititi – was exactly what the role required!

20.

Jacob Tremblay – Room


A24 / Studio Canal / Elevation Pictures

Jacob Tremblay, who played Jack, was so grounded in his portrayal of Jack. Through his eyes, we got to see the two very different views of the same situation between him and Ma (Bri Larson). Bri’s Oscar-winning performance would probably not have been as impactful without Jacob’s accomplished depiction of Jack.

21.

Asa Butterfield – The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas


Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

This is naturally a tough watch, but a 10-year-old Asa as Bruno delivered a performance that the subject matter deserved and required. The tenderness of Asa’s portrayal helped communicate such a harrowing experience, and was so necessary for the storyline.

Are there any other child acting performances we missed? Let us know in the comments below!



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