Child star transition in Hollywood -- Young women in the industry, like Ariana Richards, have trouble finding older roles to play

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated December 17, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Apparently, it’s not only women ”of a certain age” who have trouble in Hollywood. Compare the post-Jurassic Park careers of kid stars Ariana Richards, 14, and Joseph Mazzello, 10. Mazzello has gone directly from Park to costarring roles in such high-profile films as this month’s Shadowlands with Debra Winger and next summer’s The River Wild with Meryl Streep. Richards, on the other hand, ”has yet to be offered a role that’s significant,” according to her agent, and is currently in preproduction on an untitled film for her mother’s independent film company.

”There’s just a paucity of roles for young females,” says Richards’ agent, Scott Harris. Counters Jurassic coproducer Jerry Molen, ”All the movies I’ve been involved in, like Hook and Jurassic Park, had a boy and a girl. And in Disney’s A Far Off Place, they took a role written for a boy and changed it into a [role for a] girl. There’s nothing in a movie like a pretty little girl.” Maybe the key word is little. ”Ariana is wonderful,” Molen says, ”but she’s at that terrible age between being a girl and a lady.”