Written by: Erik Beck, Special to CC2K
Two things have prompted this little list of mine. The first is that for the last year, one of the posts I have done on my own blog has been the piece I did on Tom Tykwer, when I named him the 77th best director of all-time, receiving over 20,000 hits. At first glance you would think, wow there are a lot of Run Lola Run fans out there. But the answer is that a lot of guys out there Google Rachel Hurd-Wood (the star of Perfume) all the time. I mean, ALL THE TIME. Some days, when it cycles right through Google I'll get 300 hits a day. It's a bit disturbing because while she is stunningly beautiful in the picture, she was also barely 15 when it was taken. Still, people search for it.
The second thing is that today is the release of the second season of True Blood. I remember when Anna Paquin was this adorable young actress who somehow won the Oscar over Emma Thompson and Winona Ryder, and now here she is, one of the hottest people on the planet.
So, out comes this list. Ten movies that could have been watched with ease (well, some of them with ease) in the past, but now, well, in the back of my mind, I look at the young actress, who is just a kid in the role and can't help but be disturbed to think about how hot the actress has become in the years since. They might all have been young then, but now they're all at least 20 (except Hurd Wood, who will be in August).
I've only included actresses who are considerably younger than I am. When Labyrinth was released, Jennifer Connelly was 16 and I was 12. It was right to feel that way about her. These actresses all started as kids. Now they're hot. Something about it just feels wrong. Or I am just too damn old.
The ages used are those at the time of filming according to the IMDb.
#10 – Kristen Stewart – Panic Room – age 11
All the tabloids are a twitter with Twilight and the possibility that Kirsten Stewart might be pregnant. But when I first saw her, in Panic Room, at a film she made when she was 11. At the time I thought she was one hell of an actress and kind of odd-looking. By the time she became Bella, she had become quite beautiful and seemed to have lost all her acting ability. In a few years, she'll wish she had the ability rather than the looks.
#9 – Sarah Polley – The Adventures of Baron Munchausen – age 9
The dirty little girl certainly grew up. In recent years, Polley has expanded, with an incredible Oscar nominated debut as a writer-director with Away from Her. But she's still acting and she's still beautiful. And Baron is on all the time, and I just try not to think about how grown up she is.
#8 – Jena Malone – Donnie Darko – age 15
Jena Malone probably wouldn't be on the list because I still never thought her of as particularly sexy. Well, until last week, when The Messenger was released and her amazing sex scene some two minutes into the film. She's actually much older than I thought, but I forget that because she's so damn small.
#7 – Scarlett Johansson – The Horse Whisperer – age 13
Why is one of the sexiest people on the planet, currently endowed with red hair and skin tight leather in Iron Man 2 down here at #7? Because, let's face it, watching The Horse Whisperer was always going to make people feel awkward. I only saw it because I like Redford as a director. It just adds that extra awkwardness that the little girl in it grew up to become the sexiest person on the planet.
#6 – Evan Rachel Wood and Camilla Belle – Practical Magic – ages 10 and 11
They end up here because we get two actresses with one film. Again, another film that was going to be awkward. But remember back in 1998 when it was all about how hot Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock were? Would you still see it the same way again?
#5 – Kirsten Dunst – Jumanji – age 12
I didn't list Interview with the Vampire because she's so good and disturbing that all I see is the performance. But in Jumanji she's just the sister. She even looked a bit odd. Who would have thought she would be so beautiful? I mean, hell, who saw Little Women and saw her as the younger sister to Claire Danes and Winona Ryder and thought she would be the best looking of the sisters?
#4 – Rachel Hurd-Wood – Peter Pan – age 12
Speaking of awkward looking. I never would have guessed that the awkward Wendy in Peter Pan had become the beautiful teen of Perfume. It was like in the 90s, when Chelsea Clinton went from being the awkward gangly girl standing near the gorgeous Gore daughters to the lovely woman she became by decade's end.
#3 – Natalie Portman – Beautiful Girls – age 13
Again, I could have gone with Leon, but she is so amazing in that film, I can't think of anything but her performance. She is also amazing in Beautiful Girls, but in a way that has a hint of sexuality to it (she's even referred to as the neighborhood Lolita and has the most perfect comeback ever). This film really gave hints of the amazing young actress she would grow up to become.
#2 – Anna Paquin – Fly Away Home – age 13
In The Piano, she was magnificent. Here she was completely adorable as the young girl who must become mother to a flock of geese. But I can't go back and watch it now, except to think of how drop dead gorgeous she has grown up to be in True Blood. At least this wasn't a surprise, as her sexuality was a point of the film in A Walk on the Moon and she flaunts herself to her teacher in The 25th Hour. So why isn't she #1?
#1 – Emma Watson – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – age 11
So why pick the second Harry Potter? Because of this line: "Emma Watson, in the early stages of babehood." Roger Ebert wrote this in his review. She was 12 1/2 at the time. It caused my wife to refer to Ebert as a dirty old man. He was right of course, though. She was in the early stages. Now, at 20, she is full on in the midst of babehood.
Erik Beck writes about film and literature at Nighthawknews.wordpress.com and is currently reviewing every Academy Award Best Picture nominee (all 478) and is counting down the Top 100 Novels of All-Time. Because it's a family blog he likes to send lists like this and his Top 50 Sexiest Performances of All-Time to CC2K.