The writer/director of an upcoming pay cable documentary was pressured to remove 95% of the dark side stuff done to kids in the entertainment industry and in return got that long awaited big paycheck/sequel he has needed for a long time.
Bill & Ted Face the Music
The New Film Exposing Hollywood’s Child-Abuse Epidemic
While fame and fortune are an ever-enticing dream, few things seem less appealing than being a child star, and HBO’s Showbiz Kids (premiering July 14) certainly reinforces that feeling. Awash in anecdotes about the ways in which the industry—and the attendant hunger for the spotlight that consumes both children and parents—warps, alienates and exploits kids, it’s a documentary which illustrates that, sometimes, being nobody is far healthier, and more fulfilling, than being well-known.
Se.xual misconduct is the dark cloud hovering over Showbiz Kids, and it comes to the fore when former Diff’rent Strokes star Todd Bridges recalls being molested as a child—a disclosure that, according to Evan Rachel Wood, isn’t unique, as she claims, “In my experience, I know a lot of kids that grew up in the industry. And what surprised me when I got older was finding out that pretty much all of the young men were abused in some way, se.xually.” She then relays that, at a recent Golden Globes gala, she watched a pe.dophile (whom she doesn’t name) win an award, and had to walk out because she was so disgusted by the praise being lavished upon this monster. As she departed, she thought to herself, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore. I can’t keep watching this happen. I don’t know how to handle this. This has to stop.”
Those moments are definitely the ugliest, and most eye-opening, in Showbiz Kids. Written and directed by Alex Winter, whose big breaks came in Joel Schumacher’s 1987 Brat Pack vampire thriller The Lost Boys and 1988’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the film knows whereof it speaks. An opening photo montage of illustrious young luminaries, from Shirley Temple and Mickey Rooney to Ron Howard, Drew Barrymore, and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, climaxes with a portrait of Winter himself, thereby underlining that this project is not only near and dear to his heart, but one driven by first-hand knowledge of the kinds of ups and downs endured by its marquee subjects.
Considering Winter’s familiarity with this topic, it’s mildly disheartening that Showbiz Kids isn’t more personal; although the actor has worked in the business for more than three decades, and admitted in 2018 that he suffered “hellish” se.xual abuse at the hands of an adult man during the 1970s, his own experiences are conspicuously absent from these proceedings. Such reserve is in keeping with the overarching nature of his documentary, which largely avoids tabloid-y tales, and Winter’s reticence on that front comes across as being motivated by respectfulness. Yet it also makes Showbiz Kids seem like it’s pulling its punches—an impression exacerbated by the fact that, when it does touch upon the nasty side of the industry for pint-sized performers, it does so only fleetingly.- Source