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It's all roses, electric sunshine and eye-popping paydays at the beginning. But growing up can be a particularly challenging process for those statistically high-risk human beings called "child actors."
Once the dimples turn to pimples, one's entire relationship to the universe reverses polarity, leaving some pint-sized thespians in a state of perpetual existential angst.
Cameron Bright is 17, which means he's currently floating above the abyss, but the Victoria native who made significant waves with his bathtub scene opposite Nicole Kidman in Birth, and donned amber contacts as vampire aristocracy in New Moon, is decidedly grounded.
"I'm at home on Vancouver Island, doing what any other 17-year-old kid would be doing: hanging out with friends, watching TV, going out. . . . I'm no different than anyone else my age."
Bright says the only thing that really sets him apart from his peers is his job, and the fact he doesn't attend a bricks-and-mortar high school.
"I guess I could look at my life and think I don't have to go to high school. Technically, I could drop out. But I don't see school as a backup plan. . . . It's not like I like high school or anything. I'm normal that way. It's just that I don't want to be a high-school dropout."
Bright says if he continues with his education after graduation, and he has every faith he will, he'll pursue auto mechanics.
"I don't want to pay someone else to fix my Nissan," he says. "Besides, it would be nice to work with something that doesn't talk back."
As a member of the Twilight saga cast, and its pack of high-profile post-pubescent talent, Bright's been able to bear witness to what's become a pop-culture phenomenon.
"I have to say, it was kind of funny to be working on New Moon and heading out to set, listening to the The Beat, and hearing (local Vancouver DJ) Nira Aurora talk about trying to get on (the set). It was hilarious," he says.
"In the end, it was just another set. . . . It's like a clock. It moves forward, and if someone shows up and having a bad day, everyone else is probably going to have a bad day, too."
Bright says New Moon, which hits DVD and Blu-ray this week, was a project like any other. As a 10-year veteran, Bright says just because the job came with an entire belief system and a galaxy of ravenous girl fans, it didn't change the actual task at hand: acting.
"Look, I'm not a vampire, but I can be one. Every time I do a role, it's me making myself an interesting person and pretending to be someone else. It doesn't really matter what the actual part is. . . . It's all the same process. You're making fun of yourself in a way," he says.
"But you're also gaining control. My whole school of acting has taken place on set. That's where you're working, and that's where you have to show up. I always show up ready," he says.
Though he's been in Birth, Thank You For Smoking, X-Men: The Last Stand, and the forthcoming Eclipse, Bright says he's never really been recognized and, fortunately, has skipped out on the mind-bending celebrity voyage.
"I think stardom comes along with the rest of it, but that hasn't really affected me. The only time it came close was when my mother went shopping, and the lady at the checkout said she had eyes like a kid she just saw in a movie. . . . That was kind of freaky," he says.
"But really, what's more important to me is that people recognize the work. I hope people are rating my talent, not my name."
At this particularly vulnerable stage of professional and physical metamorphosis, Bright says he's focused on the work and hopes the rest falls into place.
"I'm 17. I have half a beard. I fall in an age group where I'm going to be up for roles with 30-year-olds who read young. People are suddenly telling me to watch my back," he says.
"I'm not a child actor anymore. . . . It's going to be a challenge, but I'm not intimidated. I'm going to keep doing what I've always done: the best job I can."
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/Moon+Cameron+Bright+grows/2685860/story.html#ixzz0on5iFJD8
Friday, April 23, 2010
Calgary Herald Interviews Cameron Bright
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