‘Descendants’ Star Cameron Boyce Was Stepping Away From Disney Before He Died
Disney fans were shocked by the sudden death of Jessie and Descendants star Cameron Boyce. He was only 20 when he died of a seizure in his sleep. Before his passing, Boyce was already making moves to shed his Disney image.
Boyce appears in the HBO documentary Showbiz Kids. Director Alex Winter interviewed former child stars about their experience growing up in Hollywood. Boyce discussed his plan to transition into adult roles after Descendants 3. Showbiz Kids is now airing on HBO and streaming on HBO and HBO Max.
Cameron Boyce discovered his talent at an early age
Boyce discussed the moment his parents thought performing could be more than just a hobby for their son. He was only six, but they made the right call for him.
“So I was a dancer originally,” Boyce said. “At six years old I was taking dance classes. We had a little recital at the end of the year. That recital was sort of the thing that led my parents to go, ‘Oh, he might be able to do that. He seems like he’s having fun.’ I was the only kid who seemed interested at all. Everyone else was picking their nose and digging in their butts.”
Cameron Boyce’s parents had second thoughts before Disney came calling
It’s one thing to support your child’s talent. It’s another when they’re missing school and not getting jobs.
“You go on 1000 auditions and book none of them,” Boyce said. “My dad’s going, ‘Why am I pulling you out of school two hours early just so you can fail at this audition?” Once I started booking things it made a little more sense, just sort of became a part of my life, a big, big part of my life for a long time.”
Cameron Boyce got his first Disney job at 11
Boyce got a job as one of the four children Jessie (Debby Ryan) nannies for on Disney’s Jessie. That changed his life and he remained in the Disney family through three Descendants films.
“I booked Jessie when I was 11,” Boyce said. “Four years, did 100something episodes of the show. Being on set when I was a kid, because that’s sort of naturally who I am, I wasn’t one of those kids who was causing trouble for anybody. I wanted to do it right, I wanted to do it well and I wanted people to be impressed with me.”
It was time to move on from Disney
After three Descendants films, Boyce started looking for more adult roles. He played a student in HBO’s edgy Mrs. Fletcher and was working on the upcoming series Paradie City.
“I haven’t done a Disney project in over a year now,” Boyce said. “The people who watch me are still a lot of the times really young. I still want to be a good example but at the same time, right now I’m doing a show about porn. I love that sh*t. That’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m an actor and I want to do cool stuff.”
Boyce wasn’t looking down on his Disney fans. He hoped they would follow him as they grew up too.
“It’s a weird balance when you are trying to break out of something but I also feel the responsibility of being an example for these kids,” Boyce said. “I take that seriously. How do I marry what I’m actually doing and what I actually want to be doing with what people want to see from me and what people expect of me? Those two things are not the same.”
He was looking ahead to college
At 20, Boyce was at the age to consider college. He’d been doing school on set through graduation.
When people would go, ‘Are you gonna go to college?’ I was like, ‘Oh sh*t, no? I don’t know. Should I? I’m confused but that’s society’s plan, right?’ My life was do two jobs at once. I’m doing school and I’m working. Now do I do college? I don’t know. Why would I because I’ve made money, but also that would be good for me and I don’t know anything about money and holy sh*t. Stop. What is it that I need to do to prepare myself for the real world, because I wasn’t living in it.Cameron Boyce in Showbiz Kids