Haley Joel Osment to star in coming-of-age comedy. But can the child star come of age himself?

Haley-Joel-Osment_320.jpg Image Credit: Michael Stewart/WireImage.com; Everett Collection 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?

Comments (42 total) Add your comment
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  • JPX

    Unfortunately he went from cute to homely. I seriously doubt that there’s going to be any so-called “career resurgence”

    • Minutiae

      I doubt he’ll get many romantic leads, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have a great career, especially if he can still act. After all, Paul Giamatti and Phillip Seymour Hoffman ain’t the most handsome guys out there, but they get plenty of work.

      • stu

        it’s baby fat. he’ll be a looker in a yr.

      • A

        baby fat? lol, he’s like 21 years old.

    • stu

      i remeber when he was arrsted for DWI. he was driving a Saturn just like i do. :=

    • HD

      His perforamce in A.I. still stands as one of the great performances by any child actor ever!

    • Denise

      Haley is an outstanding actor. He has grown into a good looking young man not that it has anything to do with his acting ability. I’m sure he will excel at whatever he chooses to do with his life whether it be acting or otherwise.

    • Alan

      Really? He was cute. I never thought so. I saw a homely child who grew up to not be as ugly as I thought he’d be.

  • bill

    I don’t think his looks should have anything to do with it. Once again someone is judged by looks other than talent. He was certainly talented as a child (his Sixth Sense performance was absolutely brilliant). I hope he makes a successful transition into adulthood and doesn’t end up a “former child star” that ends up with a pathetic reality show like Celebrity Rehab. Maybe he can go the directing route like Ron Howard/Fred Savage/Robby Benson?

    • AcaseofGeo

      Fair enough but that awful frock of hair has GOT TO GO. Get a nice Sam Worthington-style cut to give his face an age appropriate look. He still looks like he’s 12 with that face and a better haircut would make him look better.

  • m1

    He still looks cute. Hopefully he can get a comeback.

  • A

    Well, as Homer Simpson pointed out, Ron Howard stopped acting and started directing because he wasn’t cute anymore. Haley Joel Osment, take note.

    • Katie

      Circle gets the square goodnight!

  • OT

    Yeah, too bad Charlie Korsmo has forgone his acting career for a physics degree from MIT and a JD from Yale. He’s just a law professor now, humph.

    • I

      too bad he’s a Republican.

  • Mr. Holloway

    Yes, it’s slightly disconcerting that he basically has the exact same face at 22 that he did at age 10.

    However, I think he has a chance simply because he was a terrific actor who got work based on how GOOD he was (besides “The Sixth Sense” he was magnificent in “A.I.”) not how cute of a kid he was.

    • Allison

      Christina Ricci said something similar once on a talk show, about not ever being a particularly cute kid, so she didn’t have to worry about being cute as an adult.

      • fancypants

        Before the excessive plastic surgery, Michael Jackson was a very cute kid who became a FINE young man. Dang, he looked good….up until 1990 when the plastic surgery became too much.

  • toby

    yes!!! this movie sounds awesome.

  • sarah

    ugh. i hate you for kingdom hearts, haley joel whatsyourface.

    • Paul S.

      How can you hate on him for voicing Sora?

  • tracy bluth

    I hope so. I thought he was a fantastic child actor. Plus, wasn’t he on Broadway in a David Mamet play? That’s a step in the right direction.

  • Ben Roethlisberger

    I hope his little sister Emily keeps acting. Wait, she’s probably over 18 now…. Nevermind, back to the Green Bay playbooks.

    • Mr. Holloway

      This tacky, unfunny joke would at least make sense if Roethlisberger had been accused of assaulting someone underage.

      Instead, it’s tacky, unfunny AND it doesn’t make any sense. Better luck on Sunday, “Ben.”

  • Mrs. Alan Smithee

    Oh yeah, that’s why I was totally going to see Haley Joel Osment movies, because someday I thought, that kid will be hot. CW he’s not but that’s probably because he can act!

  • AlexG

    I believe that talent plus opportunity work wonders. This guy is extremely talented and will be able to overcome the labels people put on him. He will succeed.

  • Kirsten Dunst


  • cam

    you know what’s sad? I look at him now and see his sister, Emily Osmet from Hannah Montana. And I’m not even a HM fan! Haley Joel Ossmet deserves a much better fate then “the brother of the best-friend chick in Hannah Montana.” I wish him luck!

  • Blue

    Woo Hoo, thrilled he’s acting in something again. Can’t wait !

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