10 Child Actors Who Reinvented Themselves With Very Adult Roles

We could never look at them the same way again.

TriStar PicturesTriStar PicturesThere comes a time in every teenage actor's life when they begin to feel the burning desire to change things up. They have a certain image as a child star, and even though they're no longer the gap-toothed 9-year-old they once were, that's still how people see them. Once you have that kind of an identity, it's really difficult to break away from it. That's why there are so many stories about child actors who, for whatever reason, are unable to launch an adult career. We all loved Haley Joel Osment when he was an adorable ten year old who could see ghosts, but as adult? That was hard for us to adjust to. (Although he is just starting to find consistent work again, with his appearance in The Spoils of Babylon paving the way, so props to him.) Interestingly enough, the path child actors chose to get people to take them seriously as adults seems to be largely based on gender. For men, the easiest way to transition into adult fame is to take a risky, dramatic role that really proves your worth as an actor. But for women? For some reason the attention always seems to be on the fact that they've physically matured, so they often pick roles that showcase their sexuality. Either way, it takes hard work and determination and yes, a little bit of talent, to make it as an adult actor when everyone still sees you as a little kid.

10. Alyssa Milano - Embrace Of The Vampire

600full Embrace Of The Vampire ScreenshotNew Line CinemaAlyssa Milano basically grew up on camera, where she played Tony Danza's tomboyish daughter Samantha on Who's the Boss from the age of 12 to 20. When she started the show, she was just a little girl, but as the years went by, a lot of the male teenage viewers of the show started to notice that she was getting hot. By the time Who's the Boss went off the air in 1992, Milano was eager to move on from the character that she had played for eight years, and be considered for real grown-up women roles. The result was Embrace of the Vampire. Embrace of the Vampire was a 1995 horror film that ended up going directly to video. It had the barest of plots, with Alyssa Milano playing the virginal good girl who had erotic dreams about a vampire, and the entire thing was basically just a chance for her to take her clothes off as much as possible. It is a genuinely terrible film, and all it really did for Alyssa Milano was to remind audiences that she was hot, which is nothing that they didn't know already. It took her three more years to break out of the crappy direct-to-video world, when she was offered a lead role on Charmed, which established her in the acting world more than any cheap horror film could.

Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.