Young actors rise to stardom swiftly in both Hollywood and the West End, but may fall from grace just as quickly.

The Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire" in now a worldwide box-office success, having surpassed the $200m (£140m) mark in box office takings around the world.

Its success rivals James Cameron's big-budget blockbuster Titanic, although the film only cost about $25m (£7m) to make.

Directed by Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire won eight of the ten Academy Awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture.

It has increased the popularity of Rubiana Ali and Azharuddin Ismail, who play the roles of youngest slum kids Latika and Salim.

However, many people – including the young actors' parents – may wonder if Hollywood has exploited Slumdog Millionaire's child stars, as they are still living in squalour in the slums of Mumbai.

Also, some of their friends believe that they are not really actors and were just lucky to be cast by a director, according to The Times.

Despite allegations that "Slumdog Millionaire" is selling 'poverty porn' by exploiting the slum kids, the young actors have achieved instant fame.

Young actors would do anything

Apart from Hollywood, there are also many leading roles for child actors in the West End.

Three young actors won the role of "Oliver": Laurence Jeffcoate, Harry Stott and Gwion Jones.

They were cast through the BBC's reality talent show series "I'd Do Anything", which was broadcasted last year.

Harry has been in showbiz for five years since he had his first taste of it for Mary Poppins.

His mother told The Times that Harry has been hugely lucky, but his stage success would not last without his family’s understanding and support.

While 'Oliver' has been well supported by his family, 'Billy Elliot', the character in the musical, had a roughly hard time getting his dream to come true.

The eleven-year-old boy, who lives in Northern England, goes to a boxing gym to retrieve his family’s honour.

His father and brother, who work in the mines, are participating in the miners' strike.

Billy is intrigued by the ballet classes held next to the boxing class, and he soon finds out that his feet are faster than his hands.

With Mrs Wilkinson's encouragement, he starts ballet instead of boxing, though his father dissuades him from ballet.

Billy never gives up entering the Royal Ballet School in London, and eventually his father admits that ballet may be the only way to get Billy out of the coal-mining village.

Child actors are future stars

Ironically, being Billy Elliot in real life is an exact match of the one in its film and musical.

It is very hard to become a professional actor at such an early age, and some children simply cannot deal with fame and fortune.

We can often see child stars' roller coaster life, such as former drug addict Drew Barrymore, who starred in "ET: The Extraterrestrial", although she finally emerged as a successful actress and producer.

Will the 'Billy Elliot's and 'Oliver's survive child stardom in the 21st century?

Only time will tell.

Photo by Bo Kyung Park
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The child star factory

By: Bo Kyung Park