Meet the squeaky clean movie teens

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The debauched days of the Rat Pack, the Brat Pack and other young Hollywood hedonists with their excess-all-areas lifestyles are gone, says Gill Pringle. Today's stars don't drink, do drugs, or have sex

I don't drink, I've never smoked a cigarette in my life and I don't take drugs. I tried a drink a few years ago but it just wasn't my thing so I simply stopped. I prefer to go out clubbing without having a drink," says Harry Potter newcomer, Freddie Stroma, 22, matter-of-factly over salad at the sedate Mulholland Tennis Club in Los Angeles.

Demure not decadent, polite not pouty, sober not sloshed: a new breed of Good Boys and Girls – call them The Squeaky Cleans – is replacing Hollywood's naughty bunch. Their role models are Natalie Portman and Jodie Foster, not Lindsay or Britney. They worship culture, not cocaine, and their favourite haunts are gyms and museums, not nightclubs.

Stroma's co-star and Potter "love interest" Emma Watson, 19, echoes those sentiments: "For me, I didn't have time for that [to rebel]. I was working too hard to be the rebellious teenager, though I'm sure when I hit my 30s I'll go crazy. I'll have this rush of hormones and madness."

She's only joking, of course, stressing her gratitude that she came of age in England rather than in the madness of Hollywood where former teen star Lindsay Lohan epitomises the dangers of growing up too fast, too young: "Don't you think I'm one of them? Don't you think I'm crazy?" she asks coyly. "No? Well, thank you. But I can totally understand why they go nuts. The level of interest in their lives and the pressure to be perfect, and they're teenagers. And that's what you do, you screw up," she muses.

When Disney-created pop band the Jonas Brothers announced last year that they had pledged to abstain from premarital sex, they were met by a flurry of ridicule and parodied at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards by the less-than-pure Russell Brand. While today's young stars aren't exactly in a rush to follow the Jonas Brothers by going out and buying purity rings, there's undeniably a new awareness at work.

The influential Los Angeles-based talent manager Melanie Greene – who guides the careers of Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick and Paul Bettany as well as Stroma – is, for one, delighted by the change in attitude she sees in today's rising stars: "Freddie is a wonderful role model, and I personally welcome the positive new approach that he embodies. Bad behaviour is becoming less and less tolerated. For any young actor who's serious about their career, good values are important."

Hollywood's Squeaky Cleans today boast a growing membership including Kristen Stewart, 19, Dakota Fanning, 15, and Camilla Belle, 22.

Well educated, The Squeaky Cleans are smart, clean-living and moral. Career-orientated, they keep themselves busy with wholesome activities while saving themselves for the right person. They refrain from attending every opening of an envelope, instead preferring to do charity work, pray or enjoy a light, alcohol-free, supper with friends. Indeed, young Fanning even recently pledged, before her mother Joy and agent Cindy Osbrink, that she won't have a teenage pregnancy or get any tattoos or piercings, at least until she turns 18...

These actors all started young, Fanning in I Am Sam at six; Watson debuting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, aged 11; Belle starring in A Little Princess at nine, and Stewart making her major movie debut as Jodie Foster's daughter in Panic Room, aged 11, before finding fame as Twilight's Bella.

Stroma's initiation began a little later, and when he walked up the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince red carpet, he celebrated not only his screen debut but also a 2:1 BSc in neuroscience from University College London.

"Education has always been very important to me," says Stroma, who attended the Hogwarts-style Radley College, a boys' boarding school in Oxfordshire. "I enjoyed every minute there. It was a very good school with great facilities and great teaching. It was lovely and old-fashioned and they really taught their children how to be gentlemen. I was having so much fun that I rarely got homesick."

And, despite the fact he has no skeletons in his closet, after the BBC announced his casting as the Gryffindor Quidditch keeper Cormac McLaggen in the sixth installment of the Harry Potter franchise 18 months ago, Stroma eschewed Twitter, Facebook and all the usual forms of youthful social networking.

"I left Facebook after Facebook groups began appearing about me and suddenly your personal photographs start becoming public property," explains the handsome, blond, 5ft 11in actor.

"When the BBC first announced the new cast members, I hadn't even started filming and yet there were all these websites, all having something to say about me. It was very bizarre. It was mostly complimentary, but because I do a bit of modelling as well, they'd got hold of my portfolio so all those pictures got around too. Now there are message boards about me: all these people claiming to be good sources saying things that are completely inaccurate, like my parents are divorced and stuff, none of which is true.

"It's not like there's any drunken photographs out there of me, it was just more the fact that they were my photos of friends and family; suddenly, everyone could look at them."

In common with his fellow Squeaky Cleans, Stroma lives vicariously on-screen, in a world where these smart young actors can make believe all the things they refuse to do in their real lives – Belle playing the mistress of a man twice her age in her latest film, Adrift, while Fanning was seen fall-down drunk in her recent sci-fi film, Push, although she insists that's only for the camera: "I didn't actually drink for that scene. I didn't even know that I was going to do it that way until the minute I did it," she grins.

Fanning has been dubbed The Million Dollar Baby, and her co-stars already number Tom Cruise, Sean Penn and Robert De Niro. Having grown up in such an adult world, this religious girl feels no peer pressure to drink at parties or otherwise misbehave: "That's not something I think about right now and hopefully will never have to experience. I know what's right for me, and I stay on my path."

Priding herself on good behaviour, she adds: "I don't think I'm a brat although I realise that most people think that kids in the business are brats. But you don't have to be a brat to be an actress. I just enjoy it so much that there's no time to do anything like that. And why would I want to, when I'm enjoying myself? My family and friends keep me grounded. I'm a Southern Baptist, and I grew up in the south, so every Sunday I went to Sunday school and I've grown up in a family where that's really important," says the actress.

The Squeaky Cleans are all super-accomplished: Watson – who speaks French fluently – scored As in all her A-levels last year and has just enrolled for an Ivy League degree, while classically trained pianist Belle – currently dating Joe Jonas – speaks Brazilian and Portuguese, and the precocious Fanning learned to read at the tender age of two.

Belle kick-started her acting career as a child model: "When I started at nine months old I modelled in commercials but I stopped once I started doing films. Modelling has never been a career, it just kind of happened. Obviously it's fun and an honour to represent companies like Miu Miu and Vera Wang, but it's not a job. I'm not going to do something that isn't me" says sensible Belle who rejects modelling offers as often as she does party invitations: "I don't live that Hollywood life; I don't take part in it. Obviously I'll go to events but very rarely. It's usually a friend's premiere or an event where I have a relationship with a designer; it's always for a reason. I don't go out just to go out which I think makes a big difference. I'm not showing up just to show my face.

"I've been to some of those Hollywood clubs with my friends, but we just show up and we're like, 'OK, this is what it is! Great!' and then we leave... I don't even drink alcohol. It's pretty much sparkling water. I've never been a big drinker," says Belle who apparently chose Jonas when forced to make a romantic decision between Jonas and Twilight's Robert Pattinson.

Ask if it's fun being the envy of every teenage girl on the planet, she smiles serenely: "Well, I don't know, you can't help what people say or what people write. People are going to say what they want to say. I am just living my life and I'm perfectly happy," says the actress who still lives mostly with her parents despite the fact she bought her own home – 10 minutes away from them – two years ago.

Likewise Watson sees no harm in waiting. "I'm sure my knight in shining armour will come along at some point, although hopefully not too soon because I have a lot of work to get through and I don't want to be distracted," she says.

While talking with Kristen Stewart on the set of New Moon last month in Vancouver, she sighed at my suggestion that she might have anything in common with Bella, her tormented screen alter ego: "You wouldn't believe how boring I am in real life. I don't have any of the issues that Bella has. If I wake up in a bad mood, I'll go running or do some kind of physical exertion. If you completely exert yourself, you can, like, clear your mind. I don't focus on success and I'm not an impulsive person," she says. "My biggest splurge to date is buying my own home – complete with a studio where my mom can paint."

Neatly placing his knife and fork together on his salad plate, Stroma is nothing but impressed by his Potter co-stars, concluding: "There is that Hollywood scene of young stars who seem to get a lot of bad press, but Emma, Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint] are such brilliant role models. There's simply nothing bad to report about them because they're all really lovely and they are down to earth.

"Maybe it's because they work so hard and it's been one film after the other –and they've been doing it since they were 12 or so – and they work such long days. They must have time to let loose or whatever, but they're working constantly so they grew up quick, I think. They learned how to behave themselves and I imagine they must have had good role models around them to look up to."

If Stroma's post-Potter career doesn't pan out, then he already has a back-up plan: "If my dramatic career doesn't work out, I will go on to research and find cures for Alzheimer's or Parkinson's and other motor neurone diseases. It's a very exciting field of research. But I'd like to continue in drama so it wouldn't be very smart of me if I blew this amazing opportunity with an inappropriate lifestyle."

'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' is out on 15 July

Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
'Africa' will be Angelina Jolie's fifth film as a director

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
books
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
One Direction go Fourth: The boys pose on the cover of their new album Four

Review: One Direction, Four

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
'Game of Thrones' writer George RR Martin

Review: The World of Ice and Fire

books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Bean will play 'extraordinary hero' Inspector John Marlott in The Frankenstein Chronicles
tvHow long before he gets killed off?
Arts and Entertainment
Some like it hot: Blaise Bellville

music
Arts and Entertainment
A costume worn by model Kate Moss for the 2013 photograph

art
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Len Goodman appeared to mutter the F-word after Simon Webbe's Strictly performance

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T makes his long-awaited return to the London stage
musicReview: Alexandra Palace, London
Arts and Entertainment
S Club 7 back in 2001 when they also supported 'Children in Need'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth rejoins Tess Daly to host the Strictly Come Dancing Children in Need special
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan plays Christian Grey getting ready for work

Film More romcom than S&M

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

Review: The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
The comedian Daniel O'Reilly appeared contrite on BBC Newsnight last night

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
The American stand-up Tig Notaro, who performed topless this week

Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars

Arts and Entertainment

TVNetflix gets cryptic

Arts and Entertainment
Claudia Winkleman is having another week off Strictly to care for her daughter
TV
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Children in Need is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK

TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his winning novel

Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination

Arts and Entertainment
Bryan Cranston will play federal agent Robert Mazur in The Infiltrator

Books
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines