I see… a career resurgence? EW has confirmed that Haley Joel Osment — a.k.a. the kid from The Sixth Sense with the worst imaginary friends ever — has joined the cast of Sassy Pants, a comedy about a homeschooler (Ashley Rickards) with an overbearing mother. And for any fan of Osment’s early work, it’s hard not to say: It’s about time! Though Osment was the promising young child star of films like Forrest Gump, Pay It Forward, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence, he’s spent the majority of the 2000s providing voiceovers for video games or cartoons. But as is the case with any child actor, as much as we can root for a comeback, we must ask: Will audiences see him as anything but a child star?
Obviously, many child stars have easily made the transition into acting adulthood. (To name a few: Brooke Shields, Neil Patrick Harris, Jodie Foster, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Dunst, Christian Bale, Alyssa Milano, Dakota Fanning 10 years in the future… ) But you have to imagine that transition is much more difficult for actors like Osment — he’s managed to somehow grow into his features while still maintaining the same moppish, youthful look we remember from Sixth Sense. Even at 22 years old, it’s hard to picture him climbing outside that pink blanket. (It’s the same curse that has plagued Macauley Culkin for years, no matter how much Party Monster convinced us that he’s not the same kid from Home Alone.) Starring in a comedy, however, was a wise choice on Osment’s part — light-hearted fare could keep moviegoers from comparing his performance to drama work from his childhood. (It certainly worked for Hook star Charlie Korsmo, a favorite in Can’t Hardly Wait. Too bad Korsmo hasn’t done a film since… ) But the question remains: Will Osment ever see big screen success?
Tell us, PopWatchers: Are you able to see Osment as anything other than a child star?