'Showbiz Kids': Cameron Boyce's appearance in the 'poignant, heartbreaking' film leaves fans emotional

'Showbiz Kids': Cameron Boyce's appearance in the 'poignant, heartbreaking' film leaves fans emotional
Cameron Boyce (Getty Images)

Life as a Hollywood actor is not easy and the road to stardom is strewn with difficulties and obstacles every step of the way. But when show business concerns young actors, the repercussions of starting out young and living in the spotlight can eventually take a drastic turn. Growing up under the strenuous pressure of being the best in the industry and the criticisms and scrutiny that accompanies it has resulted in the downfall of many promising and beloved child actors, who were once a household name.

Most of these children were passionate about acting, came from troubled backgrounds and were thrust into the limelight that may have done more harm than good. While many young starlets decided to leave the business once and for all and ventured into other careers, others stayed and suffered the consequences that came with their line work. 

HBO's new documentary 'Showbiz Kids', which premiered on July 14, shines a light on the lives of child actors who made it big in Hollywood at a young age. The film, directed by Alex Winter who was a child star himself, comprises a series of candid interviews with A-listers from the industry. It also draws focus on two aspiring young actors, Demi Singelton and Marc Slater, who are working towards turning their passion for acting into a full-time career.

Henry Thomas as Elliot in 'ET the Extra-Terrestrial', 1982 (Universal, IMDb)

Every year nearly 200,000 children come to Hollywood with dreams of cinematic fame and honing their skills as fine young actors. The sad truth, however, is that most of them don't end up booking even a single gig.

'Showbiz Kids' is an impactful and hard-hitting documentary film that features interviews with the likes of Dianna Serra Cary, Henry Thomas, Todd Bridges, Evan Rachel Wood, Jada Pinkett Smith, Milla Jovovich, Wil Wheaton, Cameron Boyce, Mar Wilson and more, giving us an insight into how Hollywood operates in terms of working with children.

The film showcases that while each of these stars excelled at their work and achieved fame at a young age, their years spent growing up and transitioning into adulthood wasn't an easy ride. Fans of the stars featured in the documentary and HBO viewers took to their social media to express their opinions on 'Showbiz Kids'. Twitter especially was flooded with honest and positive reviews of the film.

Evan Rachel Wood, Wil Wheaton and Mara Wilson in 'Showbiz Kids' (HBO)

"'Showbiz Kids' (2020) on HBO is fascinating and heartbreaking. It demonstrates the diversity of how different child stars managed the trauma of being exposed to the public at a young age," a user wrote. "'Showbiz Kids' on HBO is for sure worth a watch. A really good look into kid actors without being sensational - just some honest conversations," said another. A third user added: "SHOWBIZ KIDS is a must-watch for anybody who works in this business + should be shown in film schools alongside all the other 'so you wanna be in pictures?' docs".

"This #ShowbizKids doc makes me kinda glad my parents were hating on my acting dreams as a kid lol," a user quipped, while another commented, "'Showbiz Kids' really made me question my normal life." Director Alex Winter received great praise for his documentary project. "Alex Winter's new film, 'Showbiz Kids', is a fantastic documentary. It’s like that class where a teacher took apart something you thought you 'got' so expertly, that you’ve never forgotten it. I don’t think I’ll see another child on screen without thinking about this film," a Twitter user critiqued.

Milla Jovovich, 1992 (IMDb)


"Oh man #ShowbizKids is phenomenal. Heartbreaking. Important. @Winter did an incredible job. So proud of all the people in it. <3 I hope everyone watches," another concurred. Another added: "@Winter's 'Showbiz Kids' is such a poignant, somewhat heartbreaking, but beautiful look at the corners of Hollywood we tend to ignore. Absolutely would recommend this documentary to anyone and everyone."

A touching inclusion in the documentary that not only became the topic of conversation but also broke the hearts of many viewers was the interview with Cameron Boyce. The actor, who died of an epilepsy attack on July 6, 2019, was loved by many. He was best known for his roles in 'Mirrors' and 'Grown Ups' and as a Disney actor in 'Good Luck, Charlie', 'Jessie' and 'Descendants'.

Cameron Boyce in 'Showbiz Kids' (HBO)

Winter had especially sought Boyce out to feature him in the film because he had been impressed with the 20-year-old and how he had managed to handle fame with his level-headedness at a young age. Winter's sons were also fans of Boyce. "#CameronBoyce was a good example not just for kids but for everyone. From charities to in person, he set a great example while having integrity as well. If he was alive today, who knew how high and bright his would've been. #ShowBizKids #charitable #RIPCameronBoyce," a fan wrote.

"201-SHOWBIZ KIDS. HBO. A good doc from a lot of different voices. Really miss Cameron Boyce," said another in a tweet. "Just watched Showbiz Kids having never heard of Cameron Boyce (i’m old), and now at the end they tell me he’s dead, and wow - what a gut punch," a user added while another commented: "I'm watching that documentary 'Showbiz Kids' and every time Cameron Boyce shows up I tear up I miss him."

'Showbiz Kids' premiered on HBO on July 14 and is now available to stream on demand.

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