We watched an interesting film last night, The Client, which had Susan Sarandon in the role of a lawyer who was trying to represent and protect a young boy, played by a twelve-year old Brad Renfro, who had witnessed the suicide of a Mafia lawyer. The FBI and the Mafia are both convinced that the boy knows more than he's telling.
Sarandon was later awarded a Bafta for Best Actress for this film which launched Renfro's career. He went on to act in over twenty-one films, but then threw it all away by becoming a heroin addict. He died in 2008, aged just twenty-six, of a heroin overdose.
Maybe he'll become another of those dead 'could-have-beens' which the media love to idolise. Jimmy Dean and Jim Morrison are their favourites. It's so easy to project fantasies onto a star who isn't around to wreck their own image. Dead poster boys don't go bald or chubby - well, Jim's weight ballooned but those pics are quietly set aside - or check into rehab for the tenth time in any given year, or offer embarrassing speeches at award ceremonies where they tearfully thank everyone who might hopefully employ them again.
Dead poster boys become t-shirt designs, keyrings, bumper stickers and coffee mugs. Have them die young, talented and photogenic, and watch the cash come rolling in.
But what a sorry waste of potential and of life, hmm?