December 1, 2008

What Ever Happened To . . . ?

Posted by at 8:20 am in Book to Big Screen, Celebrities | Permalink

After watching the VH1 show, Where Are They Now?, I got to wondering: where are the actors and actresses who played my favorite book characters in the adapted movies? So I started looking up some of my favorite movies from growing up. Not only was it interesting to find out what these child actors are now up to, but I was also fascinated by which of these actors are currently making it big Hollywood.

6a00e55007a314883401053624d2cb970c-100wiIn 1991, the film White Fang (based on the Jack London classic written in 1906) featured the young and upcoming actor, Ethan Hawke. Though Hawke had made his debut in Dead Poet’s Society a few years earlier (1989), it was his role as Jack Conroy in White Fang that really kicked off his career — and allowed him to go on to be nominated for an Oscar in 2002 (for Training Day).

The Secret Garden (another well-known classic, by Frances Hodgson Burnett) hit the big screens in 1993. Kate Maberly played Mary Lennox, a spoiled yet curious girl who finds the key to a secret garden. So what happened to this talented British actress? The most recent movie she’s been in that I’ve heard of is Finding Neverland (2004), and she is now involved in music and recording her own songs in England.

The 1994 film adaptation of the book Little Women (originally written by Louisa May Alcott in the mid-19th century) introduced Claire Danes. Her stand-out performance as Beth March earned her starring roles in Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Stardust (2007).

6a00e55007a314883401053624d169970c-100wi“Like, whatever!” “As if!” This isn’t how Jane Austen thought the heroine from her 1815 novel Emma would ever speak. However, Amy Heckerling transformed Emma in the 1995 film Clueless and gave her exactly those lines to say. People may have thought that Alicia Silverstone wouldn’t be able to redeem herself from that Beverly Hills lingo.Despite what the critics said, Silverstone went on to star as Batgirl in 1997′s Batman & Robin, as the voice of Sharon Spitz in Braceface, and on many other TV shows to follow. She is also an avid PETA advocate.

What do you get when you mix magic and mayhem together? You get the 1988 fun-loving children’s book Matilda by Roald Dahl. A little less than 10 years later, the book was made into a movie, starring Mara Wilson as the cute and enjoyable Matilda Wormwood. After the film, Mara Wilson appeared off and on in TV shows,but then she took the academic route by heading to college at NYU in 2005.

Is there an actor or actress you’ve wondered about? Leave me a comment, and I’ll try to include him/her in my next “What Ever Happen To . . . ?” entry.

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

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