A director’s biggest fear is to have to shoot a scene starring a child or an animal. Both are almost equally difficult to cope with. Because a child is as unpredictable as an animal is. You cannot make a child perform its lines if it’s not in a mood. The best you will get is crying. But there are some children that act even better than the best professional actors.
Haley Joel Osment
A bright example is Haley Joel Osment. A true wonder child .His first part was a small role in Forrest Camp as Tom Hank’s son in 1994. But the movie that boosted his career was M.Night Shyamalan’s “ The Sixth Sense” in 1999. His performance remains even today, ten years after, one of the best in the history of Hollywood. Joel as Cole Sear is a young, lonely and distressed boy claiming that can contact with the dead. His phrase “ I can see dead people” is one of the most famous quotes, repeated from many people of every age and culture. Everyone was originally shocked by his performance. The look in his eyes, his pose, the way he projected the fear that was feeling as Cole Sear, the tone in his voice, every little aspect of his acting is something that still gives me the creeps everytime I bring him in my mind. This movie would not be a blockbuster if someone else was chosen instead of Haley Joel Osment.
Steven Spielberg recognized his immense talent and requested especially Haley Joel Osment for his film "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" that was released in 2001. Joel as David, an advanced robot who wishes to be a real boy to gain his mother’s love, gives a spectacular performance thrilling everyone. To get a simple proof of his acting talent, just pay attention to the change on his facial expression when he is “blown with life”. Simply amazing.
Another wonder child is, unquestionably, Dakota Fanning. Born in 1994, this girl managed to enthusiast every viewer and cinema critic that watched her performing. She acted beside huge names like Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeifer in “I Am Sam” (2001), Charlize Therron in “Trapped” (2002) and Denzel Washington in “Man On Fire” (2004). In 2005 we see her as the daughter of Robert De Niro in the psychological thriller ‘Hide And Seek’. Her performance was extraordinary, almost abnormal for a child in her age. Just imagine the look in her eyes every time she talked about Charlie, her imaginary friend. The same year, Steven Spielberg chooses her to play the daughter of Tom Cruise in “War Of Worlds”. Again, Dakota is exceptional in her role making some to claim that she is the reason that this movie received good critics. It’s amazing to have a child performing with the biggest Hollywood names and still be able not only to pull it through, but to be equally praised as well. Dakota has a personal record as the youngest person ever nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award and has also won many others in various categories.
These two children are every director’s dream. They are more professionals than the most known and well-paid actors. Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning are two stars that will definitely keep exciting us with the plethora of their acting abilities.