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Forever Starlet
Celebrating young actresses of yesterday and today
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Abigail Breslin, 20, received some backlash after posting a photo of herself and her friends, including Tiffany Trump, 23 (the daughter of Donald Trump and his second wife, Marla Maples), at pal Andrew Warren's birthday party on her Instagram account on January 17. Whyyy feature the spawn of Satan in your photos?! and Tiffany f*****g Trump really? Unfollowed yikes! were just some of the comments that followers left on her photo.

Abigail responded with this post to Instagram on January 19: "To everyone who's being horrible and disgusting to me [right now], I didn't vote for trump. It's none of anyone's business, but I didn't. However, it is honestly disgusting of people to be so cruel about tiff who is a wonderful and kind person. If you're judging me for hanging out with someone I've known for years at a friend's bday party, you need to reevaluate your life." She followed it up with this tweet defending Tiffany:

19th-Jan-2017 09:29 pm - [Awards Season 2017] People's Choice
The 43rd Annual People's Choice Awards
Held January 18, 2017, at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Hosted by Joel McHale.

TV sisters Grace Kaufman, 14, and Hala Finley, 7, attended to support their show Man With a Plan, which won for Favorite New TV Comedy.

Yara Shahidi, 16, attended to support her show Black-ish, which was nominated for Favorite Network TV Comedy but lost to The Big Bang Theory. She and Tyler Posey, 25, presented the awards for Favorite Premium Series Actress to Sarah Jessica Parker for Divorce.

Peyton List, 18, attended to promote The Outskirts, her upcoming high school comedy about the rivalry between a mean popular girl (Peyton) and a geeky nerd (Victoria Justice).

Victoria Justice, 23, presented the award for Favorite Male Country Artist to Blake Shelton.

Former '90s child actresses Andrea Barber, 40, Jodie Sweetin (who turns 35 today, January 19), and Candace Cameron Bure, 40, attended to accept for their show Fuller House, which won Favorite Premium Comedy Series.

Two more former child actresses, Mayim Bialik, 41, and Kaley Cuoco, 31, attended to accept Favorite TV Network Comedy for their show The Big Bang Theory.

Previous posts on the People's Choice Awards: 2016, 2015, 2011, and 2010.
All posts on Awards Season 2017 here.
Film: A Little Romance (1979). Young Actress: Diane Lane, 13.

At age 13, young stage actress Diane Lane turned down a role in a Broadway play to instead make her film debut in A Little Romance. It was a wise decision. Although the film received mixed reviews, Diane was treated well; her costar in the film, Laurence Olivier, called her "the new Grace Kelley," and four months after its release, she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine under the title "Hollywood's Whiz Kids." It launched her film career, which is still going strong nearly forty years later.

The cover of A Little Romance, and Diane on the August 1979 issue of TIME

A Little Romance follows two 13-year-olds who meet and fall in love in Paris, French boy Daniel (Thelonious Bernard) and Lauren (Diane, already with all the beauty and screen presence she would have as an adult), an American girl living in France with her wealthy stepfather (Arthur Hill) and self-absorbed mother (Sally Kellerman). Both bilingual and more mature than most kids their age, they meet when Daniel, who's obsessed with movies, sneaks onto a movie set where Lauren's mother is working. He's immediately infatuated with her, and she's impressed that he can match wits with her, unlike most boys who are intimidated by her thick books and big vocabulary. They meet up in different spots around Paris (the movie takes full advantage of its on-location filming, with several wide-shot scenes of Parisian parks and landmarks) and talk history and philosophy.

Some films from the '70s have a very dated feel to them now (see Taxi Driver or The Exorcist), and that's somewhat the case in A Little Romance, but there's also a lot of timeless charm in its depiction of young love, by turns adorable and awkward. In a misguided attempt to be romantic, Daniel sneaks them into a porn movie theater (Lauren ducks out a few minutes in), but he also punches a famous director (a friend of Lauren's mother) for asking if he "scored" with her. This earns him the enmity of Lauren's mom. Diane Lane and Thelonious Bernard both deliver great performances and make their characters sympathetic and believable, even when the plot gets a little far-fetched.

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Lauren and Daniel eating lunch in front of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

About that far-fetched plot: In the park one day, Daniel and Lauren meet the elderly Julius (Laurence Olivier), who bores Daniel but fascinates Lauren with stories of his exotic, romantic travels with his late wife. He tells them an Italian legend that if two lovers kiss on a gondola beneath the Bridge of Sighs in Venice at sunset, then they will love each other forever. When Lauren's stepfather (who's a good man, but as Lauren's third father-figure, she refuses to let him get close) drops the bomb that they're moving back to the United States, she determines to travel to Venice with Daniel and kiss him under that bridge.

The kids recruit Julius to help them sneak out of the country and finance the trip by betting on horse-races. But their trip quickly turns into one long misadventure. They forget their money on a train. Lauren's best friend Natalie (Ashby Semple) blows their cover story, and her mother tells authorities that she's been kidnapped. Worst of all, the kids discover that Julius is a wanted criminal who just made up the Venetian legend about kissing under the bridge. But Daniel and Lauren don't lose focus; they decide to make the legend come true anyway. Their journey drags in some spots, but for the most part, it's funny and touching, with picturesque wide shots of Verona and Venice, and a real payoff when Daniel and Lauren, after so many obstacles, finally do kiss under the bridge at sunset.

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"You ever seen a real one?" Natalie asks Lauren as they stare at a nude sculpture in a museum

The film's bittersweet ending is also impressive. The film cuts from them kissing in Venice to back in Paris few weeks later, with Lauren reluctantly leaving to return to the United States. She says goodbye to Daniel, who tells her, "Don't be like everybody else. We're not like everybody else. We're different, and I'm glad." The movie's final shot is her last view of Daniel as he runs behind her car, waving to her as her family drives away.

A Little Romance is an excellent film, a good blend of the romantic and kidventure genres, smart enough to appeal to adults and sweet without being sappy. Although I disagree Laurence Olivier adds as much to it as most critics seem to think, the talent and charm of the two young leads more than make up for the few dated elements. I would rank this on the same level as My Girl, and it's anyone's guess why A Little Romance isn't equally beloved and well-known.

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Daniel, Lauren, and their friends at Lauren's birthday party. The birthday scene is one of my favorites in the film; it has such a smart, fun blend of humor and romance.

Screencaps of Diane in the film here (made by me).
An interview with Diane about the film here.
Other reviews of Diane's films: Every Secret Thing (2014), Trumbo (2015).
Rowan Blanchard, 15, says that she's tried writing a thank-you-and-goodbye letter to Girl Meets World fans on previous occasions when it looked like her show (an update of '90s Boy Meets World, with Danielle Fishel as her mom) wasn't going to see another season. But after the show received its official cancellation notice from Disney Channel on January 4, she finally finished and published it on Twitter: "Being on Girl Meets World is the most significant event in my life thus far. Doing a show in general — specifically doing a show as a child into your teenhood — is so indescribably cosmic and scary, but you do it because you love these people, because this has become your routine, because it is the closest you will get to being in real school, etc. I am crying typing this because, yes, we were making a show but our lives turned into a movie."

Rowan at a movie premiere in 2014, the year Girl Meets World debuted, and at an event in November 2016

Rowan said she was trying to cope with the news by explaining to herself that "these moments are forever, that this energy must amount to something much greater than a simple end." She thanked the kids and parents who made up Girl Meets World's audience, writing, "Everything we did was in an effort to give you the lessons we thought you deserved, that we knew you needed."

She also promised to "continue to fight to not be talked down to by the shows and books and movies aimed towards kids and tweens," and she took a little dig at Disney for "not being able to understand that." Rowan's eloquent, thoughtful goodbye isn't the biggest surprise to fans of the series. Ever since she earned the lead role of Riley, Cory and Topanga's daughter, Rowan has wowed fans both on and off the small screen.

Before anyone could compare her to former Disney starlets like Miley or Selena, Rowan defied expectations with her behavior. At just 14, she opened up about her sexuality, via a Twitter post where she identified herself as "queer" and stressed the importance of not labeling others: In my life — only ever liked boys. However, I personally don't wanna label myself as straight, gay or whateva so I am not gonna give myself labels to stick with — just existing ;) Yes, [I'm] open to liking any gender in future is why I identify as queer. Rowan also expressed powerful views on feminism and slammed sexism in the media.

In October 2016, Rowan spoke at "A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls' Education," an event with First Lady Michelle Obama

Maybe she simply didn't care about enjoying star-studded night outs filled with red carpets or paparazzi. Or maybe she wanted to take full advantage of her fame to give a new, powerful representation of what a young Disney Channel star can do and be. Some are even speculating that Disney cancelled Girl Meets World because Rowan didn't play by their rules — unlike her costar Sabrina Carpenter, 17, who plays Riley's best friend Maya. Sabrina's career has taken a much more conventional path; as almost seems required for Disney starlets, she's been trying to move into singing.

Sabrina snaps selfies inside Z100's Jingle Ball gifting lounge, December 2016

The show's cast and crew had been awaiting news of the show's fate since before the new year, and they'd prepared for the possibility that its January 20 season finale might also double as a series finale. Its title? Girl Meets Goodbye. The two leading ladies are already on their next projects. Rowan is currently filming her movie A Wrinkle in Time, based on the classic sci-fi/fantasy science book by Madeleine L'Engle; she'll be joined by an A-listers Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. Sabrina will continue to voice Candace on Disney XD's animated TV show Milo Murphy’s Law, and she just wrapped up the North American leg of her EVOLution Tour.
8th-Jan-2017 09:57 pm - [Awards Season 2017] Golden Globes
The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Held January 8, 2017, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

Millie Bobby Brown, who turns 13 next month, and Winona Ryder, 45, attended to support their show Stranger Things, which was nominated for Best Series: Drama (which it lost to The Crown) and Best Actress: TV Drama for Winona (lost to Claire Foy for The Crown). After the Globes, Millie posted a 36-photo collage to her Instagram of photos of herself with all the stars she met at the Globes, including Emma, Hailee, Maisie, Sophie, and many more.

Maisie Williams, 19, and Sophie Turner, who turns 21 next month, attended to support their show Game of Thrones, which was also nominated for Best Series: Drama and will premiere its seventh season later this year. A photo of Sophie straightening the train of TV sister Maisie's gown on the red carpet became one of the most popular photos of the night.

Hailee Steinfeld (on the red carpet and at the cocktail reception inside), who just turned 20 last month, was nominated for Best Actress: Musical/Comedy for Edge of Seventeen, but she lost to Emma Stone for La La Land. Hailee recenty began filming Pitch Perfect 3.

Natalie Portman, 35, was nominated for Best Actress: Drama for Jackie (which had no other nominations) but lost to Isabelle Huppert for Elle. Emma Stone, 28, presented and won Best Actress: Musical/Comedy for La La Land, which had the most wins of the night with 7.

Anna Chlumsky, who just turned 36 last month, attended to support her show Veep, which was nominated for Best Series: Musical/Comedy but lost to Atlanta. Evan Rachel Wood, 29, was nominated for Best Actress: Drama Series for Westworld but lost to Claire Foy. Evan tended on Facebook for part of the night after telling a red-carpet reporter, "I love dresses, I'm not trying to protest dresses, but I wanted to make sure that young girls and women knew they aren't a requirement. And that you don't have to wear one if you don't want to, and to just be yourself because your worth is more than that."

Previous posts on the Golden Globes: 2016 and 2015. All posts on Awards Season 2017 here.
Interviews with young actresses Sofia Vassilieva and Johanna Braddy about their 2009 film Hurt (review here):

Sofia Vassilieva

Her character: "I think that Sarah -- I mean, she definitely -- she feels that she has a score to even, and I think that that's what drives her. That's what, you know, drives her to hurting these people, to killing these people, to taking everything that they've ever loved, everything that holds them together and, you know, ripping it apart. Because she feels that that's what's been done to her, that family's been, you know, ripped apart, and that -- I mean, who else can you blame but the other family? I mean, and because she's blaming them, she's trying to heal her pain by hurting them, which I think doesn't go as she planned, and I think that at one point, she realizes that even though it might not fix her pain, she still has to do it. It still is what drives her."

Her performance: "The amount of levels that you can play around with, and the amount of pain and anger and -- and innocence that she has, and because they're so different -- you know, anger and pain and innocence, there's so much inbetween. And it's sort of -- I want to capture all of it in this one -- in this character and have her go through this transition, that's she's not evil and she's not... I mean, she's purposely hurting these people, but not because I think she wants to. It feels almost like she's obligated to do this because of everything that's happened. It's sort of her trying to console her pain."

The director: "It's really great to work with a director who knows exactly what she wants but is also very open to suggestions and opinions and that doesn't happen a lot being in a... you know, being on a show and you know, working with certain directors, it doesn't. It gives you an opportunity to see where you can go with this character and also be able to talk to her and, you know, and move things around a little bit and mix it up, which is great. It's really, really great, so it's been, you know, it's a complete blessing to work with Barbara, cause she's amazing."

Sofia as Sarah

Johanna Braddy

Her character: "When you first meet her, I think what's most important to her is getting the grades that will allow her to get away from her family that she's with at the moment. And I say that, like, deep down, she wants to be cool, but she's not really built for that, so she's focusing on her grades and just getting out of there, basically. Lenore was really tough, and I think she doesn't like to show people her soft side and, you know, her vulnerability, I guess? So taking care of animals and things that are in pain or in danger is like her outlet, her emotional outlet for being able to, like, love and show love to things? So it's really, really important to her."

Working with the wolf: "I never got to touch the wolf. I really wanted to pet the wolf, but apparently, they're dangerous. [laughs] Um, yeah, we had, like, a stunt person and a fake leg for the wolf to grab. I think one time, it actually pulled my leg off, but I don't think we're going with that. [laughs] Um, they're beautiful, they're huge. Um, we would just have people on the side pretending to be a wolf when we had the camera on me, which is actually kind of difficult to play, when you have a person being like the animal. [growls, then laughs] But it was fun. That whole, like, oil drum, it was rough. It was definitely hard."

On the small cast: "It was awesome. Um, everyone was really great, and since it was a pretty small cast we were stuck with, we all got to know each other really well and get, you know, pretty close and working together, that really helps, to have the whole family vibe going on. Um, it was really fun, it was great, I liked the small cast, I really did."

Johanna as Lenore

Jackson Rathborne on Sofia: "Sofia was great. She, um, she taught me Russian. [pauses] Um, I forgot it all now, but she did -- she did teach it to me."
Happy New Year! Here are a few notable young actress films that will be released this year:

Split, Anya Taylor Joy, January 20. After dazzling us all with her debut performance in The VVitch, Anya, now 20, is back in this thriller about three young girls who are kidnapped by a man with 24 different personalities (James McAvoy, X-Men). Directed by M. Night Shyamalan (Signs), Split also stars Jessica Sula and Haley Lu Richardson, who just played Hailee's best friend role in Edge of Seventeen.

Anya in Split

Logan, Dafne Keene, March 3. This dark, gritty latest installment of the X-Men franchise stars newcomer Dafne as young female mutant clone of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). A dramatic role with a lot of screentime in a big-budget superhero movie is likely going to make Dafne very famous very fast. She currently has only one other credited acting role, and I hope that she and her family are prepared for how much her life is probably about to change. Best wishes to her.

Dafne in Logan

Beauty and the Beast, Emma Watson, March 17. Of course I had to include this one on the list. It seems like everyone has been waiting to see Emma bring to life one of Disney's most beloved princesses, brainy beautiful Belle, in the studio's latest real-life fairy tale (see previously, Cinderella and Maleficent). Emma's adult drama The Circle, with Tom Hanks, is due out on April 28. She recently decided to take a break from acting and has no other upcoming projects.

Emma in Beauty and the Beast

Wonder, Izabela Vidovic, April 7. In this heart-warming family drama, young actor Jacob Tremblay plays a boy with facial deformities trying to fit in at a new school. It's Jacob's biggest role since his child-star-making performance in Room, and a number of young actresses have supporting roles as his classmates, including Jacob's real-life sister Emma Tremblay (The Giver). Izabela, as Jacob's sister, will likely have the most screentime.

Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) in Wonder

November Criminals, Chloe Moretz, April 7. Chloe stars alongside young actor Ansel Elgort (Divergent) in this thriller about a Washington DC teenager who investigates the death of a friend's mother. Chloe and Ansel have previously presented together at the 2015 Oscars and worked together in Carrie. Chloe has two other films tentatively set for 2017, The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Suspiria, that she had already mostly completed when she decided to take a break from acting.

Chloe and Ansel at the Teen Vogue 10th Anniversary Party, February 2013

The Beguiled, Elle Fanning, July 30. Former child actress Kirsten Dunst stars with Elle, Addison, Oona, and other starlets in this Civil War drama about a southern all-girls boarding school that takes in a wounded Union soldier, who causes more than one sexual awakening among the students. With so many young actresses in the cast, this is the movie that I'm most looking forward to in 2017!

Elle in a period dress while filming The Beguiled in New Orleans, November 2016
Actress, screenwriter, author, and producer Carrie Fisher died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, on December 27. She was 60. She died after suffering a massive heart attack while on a flight from London to Los Angeles on December 23. Fisher's death is a hard blow to many fans, especially after a year of too many celebrity passings - from Alan Rickman on January 14, to Anton Yelchin on July 19, to Florence Henderson last month. Fisher was best-known for playing Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy and its 2015 sequel, The Force Awakens. Her daughter Billie Lord, 24, is on the Fox series Scream Queens, with Abigail, Keke, and several other young actresses.

27th-Dec-2016 12:55 pm - Film Comparisons: Orphan vs. Hurt

Orphan (2009), with Isabelle Fuhrman, age 11
Hurt (2009), with Sofia Vassilieva, age 16

Released just a few months apart in 2009, Orphan and Hurt have more than a few elements in common. In both movies, a family still recovering from grief (a stillborn baby in Orphan, the death of the father in Hurt) takes in a foster child. Isabelle's Esther and Sofia's Sarah each start out sweet and innocent, then turn dark and creepy. In terms of action, the two movies match each other almost step for step.

  • Killing animals: Esther kills an injured bird by beating it with a rock, and Sarah kills her foster sister's pet duck by breaking its neck.

  • Killing people: The girls both secretly murder those who grow suspicious of them (for Esther, it's a nun from her old orphanage who visits to check on her; for Sarah, it's her foster brother's girlfriend) while at the same time manipulating their adults into feeling sorry for them. Esther breaks her own arm and blames it on her adoptive mom, while Sarah gets her foster mom to let her sleep with her by pretending to have nightmares.

  • Shocking surprises: Esther's big secret is that she isn't a little girl at all, but an adult midget wearing false teeth. Sarah's secret is less extreme but executed worse: she's revealed to be the late father's secret, illegitimate daughter, out for revenge on the family that he abandoned her for. She explains this to her foster mom in an eyeroll-worthy monologue.

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Playing Nice: Esther and Sarah pretend to get along with their new sisters.
More screencaps of Hurt here.

The two young actresses both give excellent performances, in different ways. Isabelle puts on more of a show as Esther, who's all cutesy grins and good behavior when she meets her adoptive family in the orphanage. As Sarah, Sofia relies on her unique, innocent appearance (long blonde hair, big blue eyes) and acts more vulnerable than chipper.

But for all they have in common, Hurt and Orphan are very different movies. In Hurt, Sofia stands out as the one with talent. Jackson Rathborne (Twilight) and young actress Johanna Braddy, age 21, make a decent effort as her foster siblings, but the adult cast – Melora Walters as her foster mom, and William Mapother as the unstable uncle that the family moves in with after the dad dies – are distractingly awful. The clunky script doesn't help, and there's a pointless, squicky subplot involving the mom and uncle.

Orphan has its flaws, but held up next to Hurt, it looks like a masterpiece. The unrealistic twist of Esther's true identity does weaken things, but the build-up and the adult cast – Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) and Peter Sarsgaard (Very Good Girls) as Esther's adoptive parents – are both good. Then there's young actress Aryana Engineer, age 6, as Max, Esther's deaf adoptive sister, who's so stinkin' sweet that she might just give you cavities.

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Esther and Sarah drop their "good girl" acts.
More at my Girls with Guns album.

Screencaps of Sofia in Hurt here.
Interviews with Sofia and Johanna about the film here.
Other reviews of Sofia's movies: My Sister's Keeper (2009).
Lizzy Greene, 13, star of Nickelodeon's Nicky Ricky Dicky & Dawn:

Mackenzie Hancsicsak, one of the kid stars of the new hit show This Is Us, wore her Hanukkah sweater when she donated some teddy bears to the patients at St. Jude's. Hanukkah begins on the evening of December 24th this year.

Peyton List, 18, of Disney Channel's Bunk'd, helped pass out gifts to sick and needy children at Delta's annual Holiday in the Hangar even at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. Abigail Breslin and Sarah Hyland have participated in this event in previous years.

Addison Riecke, 12, who just wrapped filming The Beguiled with Oona Laurence and several other young actresses, donated gifts to a local Boys and Girls Club near the movie's filming location.

Willow Shields, now 16, from The Hunger Games:

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