So, I have this pet peeve, and that is when adults pretend like child actors are people. They are not. It’s fine! Someone needs to put on a cape and run around the movie set, I understand that, but let’s just not pretend like it’s anything other than a little baby in makeup. This is particularly appalling when it occurs on the New York Times. Take, for example, this profile of Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In), written by Dave Itzkoff:

CHLOË GRACE MORETZ admits she felt a twinge of envy in the summer of 2008 when the action movie “Wanted” was about to be released, and the austere visage of its gun-toting star, Angelina Jolie, seemed to be staring at her from every billboard in Los Angeles.

So she put out the word to her Hollywood representatives: “I really want to do an Angelina Jolie-type character,” Ms. Moretz said recently. “You know, like an action hero, woman empowerment, awesome, take-charge leading role.” A month later she got her wish when she was offered a part in the adventure film “Kick-Ass” as Hit Girl, a mysterious vigilante who leaves a trail of bullet casings and body parts wherever she goes.

“My mom was like, ‘It’s exactly what you’ve been wanting to do,’ ” said Ms. Moretz, who was 11 years old then. (She’s 13 now.)

Right. Sure. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what an 11-year-old (or a 13-year-old) wants. It’s fine if they get it, but you can’t pretend like they’ve had some kind of long-suffering journey to achieve their goals. They literally made a wish on a star, put on their footie pajamas, and woke up the next day with their wish coming true. It bugs me! There are real human beings in this world who work hard for what they want, with determination and focus, and who spend many years dealing with the pain and discouragement of rejection. It’s just unfair to describe a little girl’s magical pony ride in the same terms. Oh man, this article about Elle Fanning by Frank Bruni is even worse, I could not get past the first page:

Omit one small detail, and the story isn’t so remarkable.

An actress arrives on set in an atypical mood. Almost always a whirlwind, she is calm today. Typically a chatterbox, she has gone strangely quiet. For the scene she is about to shoot, she needs to take herself to a dark, sad place, and she is trying to edge up to it. She puts out the word to the cast and crew that they should please, please not be insulted by her withdrawal.

She has played tough moments before. In one movie she found herself abandoned in the Southern California desert. In another she was mute, struggling to communicate through sign language, and in yet another she grappled with a brother’s death in a hit-and-run accident.

But her character this time is in even greater pain, tormented by an inability to control obsessive-compulsive behavior that threatens to tear her family apart. And when the cameras roll, the actress must, in a fit of crying, communicate a lifetime of wishing that things were different and worrying that they might never be. As she glumly readies herself, some of those around her marvel at the wisdom and maturity of her approach. That’s because — the missing detail — she is 9 years old.

UGH! UGHHHHHHHHHHHH! That is the worst thing I’ve ever read. There, I said it. And I am a Frank Bruni fan, but good GRIEF. No, sir. What? NO! Please give me a break. Please give me a break and pay for me to clean the barf off of EVERYTHING.

Anyway, I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one. Maybe everyone else in the whole world is like “child actors are very interesting and fully developed human beings and their every want and desire is worthwhile of our complete attention and we should treat them all with the seriousness and gravity that we would give to any artist because they are true artists and we love them so much.” Maybe that is what you think. But I hate this adultification of these little famebots. And now my friend Spencer Sloan has sent me a video that is just really making my head fall off. Quick! Someone kick it into a storm drain!

Bailee is second. God is first. Fuck the rest of us.

I wish all of the child actors of the world the best of luck in their careers, for real, and I genuinely hope that they lead happy, fulfilling, and productive lives. But I also wish they would all shut the fuck up. Unless you’re delivering a line of dialog from a screenplay, no talking until you’re 25. AND SCENE.

Comments (48)
  1. Gabe, you’re going to be a weird dad.

  2. Please get the fuck out of Shutterbugs.

  3. Is there any way for me to just upvote the whole post?

  4. She reminds me so much of any interview with Katie Holmes after she fell so very much in love with Tom Cruise because they really are the greatest love story of all time.

  5. So…what we’re saying is that child star soylent green is cool?


  6. “Omit one small detail, and the story isn’t so remarkable…….

    ……That’s because — the missing detail — she is not a human”

  7. The part where that girl is talking about being humble really bugs the shit out of me because she is also talking about herself and God in the some way as some jackass adult who uses sentences that start with “My spiritual advisor said…” Not a humble way of speaking, kiddo!

  8. Boy do I hate the I Am Second campaign. I mean, y’know, I’m atheist, so of course I do, but even if I did believe in a god, I would never put them first! I mean, God is just a shitty, overly controlling boss, and if my boss ever told me that he was first, and that I am second I would A) quit and B) kick him in his nuts while quitting.

    Also, child actors gross whatever.

  9. She’s got four more years before we can blame her and not Mom for the “God did it” shit.

    • My dad is kind of God-fearing lately. And we were discussing a news story about a kid in Alabama who was swept away in a tornado and later found miraculously (or: improbably) uninjured. And my dad said, “God was good to that family.” Which, okay, fine. But I guess God really had it in for all those families whose kids he DID kill with that same tornado? I really would like to have heard his explanation for that one (and any explanation this child actor might offer) but I didn’t press because overall it was a nice day.

  10. Humble, Bailee.

  11. “Bailee Madison, stop.” – God

  12. After nap time, Skylar is swinging casually in her jumper. Today she’s wearing Marc Jacobs bib overalls accented with a bit of mashed carrot drool. When asked why she thinks she keeps being cast in dark films, she rolls her eyes and says, “Gloururourpfpfpfpfpfpfpf,” and coyly shits herself.

  13. The problem is less about the child part than the actor part. There are lots of actors that aren’t people, at least in the sense of, artists with struggles and desires anyone should care about. There are good actors and bad actors, and even some good child actors and bad child actors. I don’t think the fact that Gwynneth Paltrow or Jim Belushi are not children makes them any more worthy of stupid fluff articles than these kids are.

    Of course, Gabe is just mad they aren’t following the old acting method of having nothing but men act, with the youngest being clean shaven teenagers to play the womenfolk. Or at the very least, those black and white movies where everyone, from teenagers to old men, are played by 30 year olds in ill fitting suits.

  14. “I am number one.” – Gerard Depardieu

    • Omit one small detail, and the story isn’t so remarkable.

      A person boards a plane in an atypical mood. Almost always a whirlwind, he is tipsy today. Typically a chatterbox, he has gone strangely quiet. For the plane is about to take off, he needs to take himself to a dark, sad place, and she is trying to edge up to the bathroom. He puts out the word to the crew that they should please, please let him use the bathroom immediately.

      He has held it in tough moments before. In one plane he found himself confined to his seat do to turbulence. In another he was sick, struggling to communicate through sign language “Je urineaux!” and in yet another he grappled with a long delay to the gate by hiding his small accident with his coat.

      But his bladder this time is in even greater pain, tormented by an inability to control obsessive-compulsive behavior that threatens to tear his kidneys apart. And when the crew prepares for take-off, the man must, in a fit of crying, communicate a lifetime of wishing that things were different and worrying that they might never be. As he glumly readies himself, pulling out his penis and urinating in the aisle, some of those around him marvel at the arrogance and lack of maturity of his approach. That’s because — the missing detail — he is Gerard Depardieu.

  15. The most humble thing would have been to never make this video. Self promotion is not humility.

  16. wait. wait. wait…you’re saying i can get whatever i want just by putting the word to my Hollywood representatives?

    man, this whole fucking time, i just thought it was about doing the work…

    • There is an awesome F Scott Fitzgerald quote, which I can paraphrase: If you succeed in life when you’re 25, you are sure the cosmos ordained it for you. If you succeed when you’re 35, you’re sure it was because your hard work finally paid off. If you only succeed after 40, you see all success as blind luck.

  17. There is a tendency not just in the media but the general public to give a LOT of credit to child actors. Many of my friends are consistently gobsmacked by Elle Fanning, to a point where I almost wanna ask if they’re sucking up to the child’s invisible agency representative who’s in the room and looking for new clients. But then I don’t ask them that because that’s clearly not what’s happening and what is clearly happening is everyone is going Lady Born This Way GaGa over a girl who, while talented, has turned in the same breathy, drastically quiet performance in every movie in which she’s appeared. I have a feeling the pendulum will swing the other way once ‘Twixt’ is released. Like I’ve always said, people love their heroes, but they really hate it when their heroes dress up like spooky little Casper girls and run around dreamscapes with Van Kilmer.

  18. Thanks to Bailee I might have just decided my future kids will not be allowed to say the word ‘amazing’ until they’re 25. They will also be forced to call films ‘movies’ until college and I’m weighing an outright ban on the word ‘and.’

    • what if you had a kid, you work hard to raise the child right, and then one day you come home from work and that kid is blasting reggae music? you would have to kill your own child. that’s the risk of parenting

  19. Remember when Anna Paquin won an oscar for being like 6 yrs old in The Piano? THE WORST. Now she’s just naked in True Blood a lot.

  20. Gary Coleman is rolling over in his grave

  21. Are we sure this video isn’t part of the sequel to “Orphan”? I’m half waiting for her to cut the God crap and start seducing the cameraman.

  22. this all just reminds me of those awful people that say stuff like “we’re their teachers, but we’re the ones learning” like, shut the fuck up. they are babies! babies are stupid!

  23. Kids. They say the darndest things.

  24. Given Chloe Moretz training in gymnastics and ballet, she’s probably been preparing for years for a role like that. I think a less deserving example might have made your peeve more credible. She IS pretty damn kick-ass.

  25. Bailee was on Jay Leno last week and I was at a bar that had a tv tuned into it. There was no sound but the captions were on and it was enough to understand that she was ‘child actor’ perfectly exemplified. She spent 5 minutes telling a boring story about going to Australia with the most exaggerated ‘I’m like a little adult’ motions. You could tell her and her mother (and God) spent a lot of time rehearsing this story. All the best to her, hope she comes out human.

    Let’s also remove Chloe from her company, they’re clearly different types of child actors. One being God filled, the other being in Best Coast videos.

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