Tyler James Williams dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss his acting career, as well as his new show, “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.” But first, the 23-year-old discussed the potential pitfalls of being a child actor – and how he avoided them.
“When I was coming up, it was the time of Chris Brown and Miley Cyrus,” Williams said on Gio and Jones. “We all kind of broke in the same year. Then we were seeing stuff kind of go crazy for a bit. The thing that people have to understand about that is that you’re essentially 12 to 16 years old, you have enough money to do whatever you want to, and nobody can tell you no. People’s jobs hang on you and you become acutely aware of that at some point. When the numbers come back for a show, you’re like, ‘This is me, essentially. There’s great writers and all that, but if I don’t perform, people lose their jobs.’ That’s a lot of pressure to handle at a young age.”
Luckily for Williams, his parents kept him grounded.
“I had great parents,” he said. “They made sure I (understood that I was) still a child no matter what’s going on here. It is so easy for that to get confused, especially with parents. They don’t know what to say. Your kid is paying for everything. He’s paying for the house. I want to go out. What are you going to tell me? I’m going out. I paid for the car. You can’t really stop me.’ We do get a bad rap, but it completely throws off the natural balance of things. There’s no way to be prepared for that.”
While Williams had a great foundation, other child stars, such as Lindsay Lohan, did not.
“Perfect example,” Williams said. “That’s actually a perfect example. Bad parents, regardless of what the situation is, you’ll screw a kid.”
Williams’ parents supported him and encouraged him in his acting, but they never put him on a pedestal or let his head get too big.
“I would work hours and hours on set, a bunch of people clapping and laughing and all that,” Williams said. “And my mother would very specifically let me get in the house, put my bags down and say, ‘Now go wash the dishes. Go wash the dishes and remember that this in the house is what’s real – not that.’”