TIFF 2012: Spring Breakers stars a grown-up Selena Gomez

Five dramatic transitions from child star to adult

James Franco and Selena Gomez in 'Spring Breakers'

Cover your eyes, Justin Bieber. The pop star’s squeaky clean girlfriend, Selena Gomez, is about to grow up fast in Spring Breakers, which gets its North American premiere at TIFF on September 7. Gomez, a singer-actress who started as a cast member on Barney and Friends, is now one of four “sexy college girls” who are led into the “wildest spring break trip in history” by one James Franco. There’s drinking. There’s drugs. There’s High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens as one of Gomez’s bikini-clad friends. And it’s directed by Harmony Korine.

At this year’s TIFF, we’ll also see Emma “Hermione” Watson as a wild child in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Child stars have to grow up, and Lindsay Lohan will tell you that getting it right is no easy feat. That doesn’t make it impossible.

Here are five of the most dramatic transitions from child star to adult.

5) Leonardo DiCaprio was that cute kid with a recurring role on Growing Pains, until he teamed up with Robert DiNiro at age 17 to make This Boy’s Life. DiCaprio steals the show as DiNiro’s teenage step-son, a rebel struggling to get out from under his control.

4) Anna Paquin accepted the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in The Piano, wearing a beret, at age 11. Then she was caring for orphaned goslings in Fly Away Home. And then, suddenly, she was 18, and sporting a leather body suit to play superhuman Rogue in the first of the wildly popular X-Men series.

3) Scarlett Johansson held her own opposite Robert Redford in The Horse Whisperer when she was just 13. Her transition to adult roles was seamless, and just as impressive. In 2003, the year she turned 19, she starred in both Girl with a Pearl Earring and Lost in Translation.

2) Dakota Fanning was seven when she was nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild Award for her role as Sean Penn’s wide-eyed daughter in I Am Sam. After a series of light, cutesy movies, Fanning’s eyes suddenly turned red in the second installment of the Twilight franchise, New Moon, where she portrays a top-tier vampire with a lust for Bella Swan’s blood.

1) Ryan Gosling was best known to Canadian fans as the gangly, goofy star of Breaker High on YTV. He shot to much wider fame six years later, no longer just a wannabe ladies’ man. Gosling’s romantic turn in The Notebook set the stage for an extremely successful adult career, with his diverse films linked by one thing: the man’s got style.

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