Where are your favorite millennial child actors now?
From Frankie Muniz to Elle Fanning, these stars are all grown up and still in the spotlight.
It's hard to believe, but the teenage years of the new millennium are almost at an end. With this in mind, we thought it would be fun to look back at some of the fresh, young faces who arrived in Hollywood at the turn of the century and see what they're up to today. Unlike some child stars of the past, these individuals have managed to gracefully make the leap to becoming leading actors, actresses and performers.
For a good stretch of the early 21st century, it was hard to miss American actor Frankie Muniz on film or television. Best known for his Emmy-nominated role on the television series "Malcolm in the Middle," Muniz starred in no less than 31 productions between 2000 and 2007.
After a non-stop career that began at age 8, Muniz took a break in 2008 to pursue a career in professional auto racing. He said his time away from the glitter of Hollywood has been good not only for his soul, but also in terms of rekindling his passion for acting.
“I wanted to want the acting," he said in 2012 interview. "I wanted to be passionate about it again. And, you know, I felt if I wanted to go back to acting, or when I did, I would go back with a different perspective, which I’m in right now. If I were to go back to acting now, I would be a way better actor than I was because I’ve learned so much being away from it."
Muniz's most recent cameo was in the latest chapter of the "Sharknado" franchise. He is also the manager of the alternative rock group Astro Lasso from York, Pa.
Alona Tal, an Israeli actress and singer, rose to fame in 2004 with a recurring role on "Veronica Mars," and later on the hit series "Supernatural." Much like her close friends, fellow Israeli actresses Gal Gadot and Noa Tishby, Tal is eager to pursue roles featuring strong women.
"I don’t necessarily look for darkness in the material that I audition for because it’s not picking and choosing the material – I’m not at that level in my career yet," she told Backstage magazine. "But I’m definitely at the level of going at it and trying as hard as I can to get the ones that I really want. It’s the ones that reflect honestly on different types of women, different walks of life, different worlds, different environments."
In recent years, Tal has appeared in the spy series "Burn Notice," the Academy Award-nominated drama "The Help," and even provided voice talent for the video game "Halo: Reach." She currently stars in the Amazon original series "Hand of God."
After kicking off her career with a small part in the film "Big Fish," American actress Miley Cyrus took a stab at television with the starring role in the 2006 Disney Channel musical comedy series "Hannah Montana." What followed was a level of fame few child actors have ever attained, with sold-out concerts, multi-platinum record sales and a transition into one of the world's most successful pop stars.
"I was just a baby! I had no teeth, no boobs," she told Elle in 2015. "I was a little girl. It’s crazy that a decision you can make when you’re a kid can affect your whole life – that someone would trust a child with her own future. It was just lucky that I was able to love it and turn it around."
In addition to working on her upcoming sixth studio album, Cyrus also recently served as the youngest-ever judge on competition reality series "The Voice." You can hear her next in the upcoming Marvel superhero sequel "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2" as the voice of the humanoid robot Mainframe.
The younger sister of American actress Dakota Fanning, Elle began her career with small parts in films like "I Am Sam" and "Daddy Daycare." As she aged, more prominent roles came her way, including two films with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett ("Babel" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") and various guest spots on TV series like "House: MD" and "Criminal Minds."
"To me, acting is just kind of making believe and dressing up," she told Interview. "You put on your costume and walk a certain way and feel your character. Then cut, and you're Elle again. So I thought, 'Well, if that's what it is, then I definitely want to do it.'"
Fanning's meteoric rise from child star to leading lady continues today. Recent roles include the Prohibition-era drama "Live by Night" with "Justice League" star Ben Affleck, "Maleficent" with Angelina Jolie, and with Colin Ferrell and Nicole Kidman in "The Beguiled." She can also be seen in the upcoming end-of-days film "I Think We're Alone Now" with "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage.
If there was one child actress in the early 21st century capable of melting the hearts of audiences everywhere, it was American actress Abigail Breslin. Bursting onto the scene at the age of 5 in Indian-American film director M. Night Shyamalan's science fiction thriller "Signs," Breslin's talents quickly landed her additional roles in films like "Little Miss Sunshine," "No Reservations" and the horror-comedy "Zombieland."
In an interview with E! in 2013, Breslin said the transition from a child star to an adult actor has been relatively easy. "It's been pretty natural," she shared. "You know I've been really lucky that I've gotten to do such awesome characters and be in such great movies, so I just feel lucky."
In addition to a number of recent film projects like "Ender's Game," "Rango" and "All the Fine Boys," Breslin also flexed her vocal talents with the release of her first studio album, "The World Now," in 2015.
British actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster won over audiences everywhere with his adamant pursuit of love in the 2003 romantic comedy "Love Actually." From there, his career took off with appearances in films like "Nanny McPhee," "Tristan and Isolde" and "The Last Legion." Following in the footsteps of actors like Mark Hamill, Breslin also displayed his vocal chops by landing the lead role of Ferb Fletcher in the long-running "Phineas and Ferb" animated series.
Getting older, however, has not been without its downsides. In an interview with Wylde, Brodie-Sangster says there was a time when parts were hard to come by simply because of his age.
"When audiences and casting directors know you for being a cute little kid and suddenly you’re not, you’re an awkward teenager," he said. "There aren’t many roles for that. There are a lot of roles for teenagers, but generally they’re played by people my age. There aren’t many roles around for that awkward stage when you don’t know who you are. So now, at 25, I’m playing the teenagers!"
Those awkward years certainly did not last long. In addition to starring on several seasons of HBO's "Game of Thrones," Brodie-Sangster has also enjoyed a major role in the "Maze Runner" franchise and even a cameo in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
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