Actor Henry Thomas, who starred in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial at the age of 11, talks about the difficult transition from child star to adult actor in this exclusive clip from Showbiz Kids. The HBO documentary, which provides a “raw look” at the world of child acting, premieres July 14th on HBO and streams on HBO Max the following day.
After appearing in the 1982 film, a then-teenaged Thomas remembers attempting to audition for other roles, only to be typecasted by his E.T. stardom.
“I remember being at several meetings and sitting in the green room waiting, and seeing like a producer walk out and try to casually take a look and go back. And then I’d see another producer come out, take a look, come back,” Thomas says in the clip.
“Then it’d be five minutes of silence, and then a receptionist would come and say, ‘I’m sorry, they’re not going to see you today. We’ll reschedule it.’ And then I realized, ‘Oh, they’re not looking for teenage me, they’re looking for E.T. me.”
In addition to Thomas, among those interviewed in the documentary directed by Alex Winter — himself a child actor before transitioning to the Bill & Ted series and filmmaking — are Evan Rachel Wood, Milla Jovovich, Wil Wheaton and Jada Pinkett Smith. The documentary will also focus on a pair of currently unknown Hollywood hopefuls.
The late Cameron Boyce, who appeared in the Descendants series, also recorded an interview for Showbiz Kids prior to his July 2019 death at the age of 20. Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and his son Spencer, under their Tweedy moniker, provide the film’s music.
“This is a story I’ve been wanting to tell for many years,” Winter said in a statement. “Having grown up in the business I’ve never seen the experiences of a child actor, from their early career through to the transition into adulthood, told from the perspective of those involved. I’m honored that these talented actors trusted me with their very personal stories.”