When we reminisce about the 80s, many things spring to mind: We think of those neon nights, the rise of synthesised music, rubik’s cubes and commercialism at its peak. One of the best things that came out this decade are the Film and Television shows that have since left a mark on popular culture. Who could forget iconic films like Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, The Goonies and Top Gun? As iconic as these movies are, so are the actors and actresses that starred in them. Child actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Neil Patrick Harris, Drew Barrymore, the Olsen Twins, Fred Savage and Sean Astin had their breakthrough in the 80s and continue with their success to this day.
From humble beginnings as a supporting actor to becoming the leading man in Hollywood blockbusters: Leonardo DiCaprio’s career is as diverse as it gets. After a string of TV commercials and educational programmes, DiCaprio was cast in small roles in a number of television series such as Roseanne (1988) and The New Lassie (1989). It wasn’t until he landed leading roles in Romeo and Juliet (1996) and Titanic (1997) that he was catapulted to ultimate stardom. What followed were critically-acclaimed collaborations with Martin Scorcese including Catch Me If You Can (2002), Shutter Island (2010) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). He also starred in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010) and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012). DiCaprio is going to star in Quentin Tarantino’s new film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) opposite Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt.
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is celebrated for his portrayal of Barney Stinson in the American sitcom How I Met Your Mother. He made his film debut in the late 80s alongside Whoopi Goldberg in the 1988 drama film Clara’s Heart. At the age of 16, Harris landed the lead role in the TV series Doogie Howser, M.D. (1989) that earned him a People’s Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination. He’s currently starring as Count Olaf in the hit Netflix show A Series of Unfortunate Events and appeared in Gone Girl (2014) alongside Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pyke.
Drew Barrymore had her debut on the big screen in the role of Gertie in the 1982 sci-fi blockbuster E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial by Steven Spielberg. Her natural and authentic onscreen performance made her stand out and Hollywood took notice quickly. She has since starred in movies like Never Been Kissed (1999), 50 First Dates (2004), Donnie Darko (2001) and the critically acclaimed Grey Gardens (2009).
The Olson Twins
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olson rose to fame sharing the role of Michelle Tanner on the American sitcom Full House, which turned into a full-fledged sensation with audiences around the globe. What followed was a series of best-selling straight-to-DVD movies and the two theatrical releases It Takes Two (1995) and New York Minute (2004). Today, they own the highly successful fashion label Dualstar.
Frederick Aaron Savage is best known for his portrayal of Kevin Arnold in the American TV series The Wonder Years, which ran from 1988 to 1993 and scored him two Golden Globes and two Emmy Awards nominations. More recently, Savage starred alongside Rob Lowe in The Grinder (2015-2016) and in the Netflix movie Friends from College (2017).
Sean Astin is renowned for playing the beloved character Sam Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award winning movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Astin’s film debut was equally impressive, starring in Steven Spielberg’s The Goonies (1985) at the age of 13. Several more films followed, including White Water Summer with Kevin Bacon (1987) and The War of the Roses (1989) that sat him right on track for a successful acting career. More recently, he could be seen as Bob Newby in Netflix’s mega hit Stranger Things (2017).
Follow these actors in their footsteps and kick-start your career with the right education. Screenwise offers a range of acting classes for teens (12-16 years). Join our Screenteens Term 2 and see if acting is the profession you want to explore further. The course is overseen by accomplished Australian Film & TV actress Natalie Saleeba, who has worked on high-rating TV programs like All Saints, Neighbours and Husbands. Over the course of eight weeks, students will learn how to break down a scene, build a character, utilize props and act in front of the camera each week – all within a supportive and relaxed learning environment in our state-of-the-art studio facilities in Surry Hills. No auditions required!
Screenteens Term 2 commences 12 May 2018. Places are limited, so we advise to register as soon as possible.