When you think about what Brad Renfro might have been, don't just remember "The Client," where he worked with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones and more than held his own ...
Think of "Sleepers," where a new generation of Hollywood guys were (onscreen at least) faced by an even younger crowd of actors who could succeed them. Renfro was the younger version of Brad Pitt, with all that that implies.
But now Renfro is dead at the age of 25. The cause of death isn't known, but he had had substance abuse problems for years.
Renfro's story is familiar: hailed as a young phenom, then faded away, whether because of his personal problems or just because there are so many good young actors vying for parts. Looking at his resume on IMDB, you could argue that he hadn't had a great part since "The Client." (All right, some might argue for "The Cure," or "Apt Pupil.") It's not unlike looking at Tatum O'Neal's credits; I think it's more than reasonable to say she went from "Paper Moon" to "Rescue Me" -- about a quarter of a century -- with little of distinction in between.
And, of course, Renfro's shadow should hang over Britney, another example of great early success followed by demons too numerous to overcome easily.
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