With all the recent headlines lately about young Hollywood spiraling out of control, it's refreshing to talk with a child actor who doesn't seem to be headed for disaster. After recently speaking with Colton Shires, who plays Little Ethan on Passions, and his mother Lisa, I was struck by how level headed and down to earth they both seemed about being in the business.
As Texas natives, the Shires moved to California after Colton was bitten by the acting bug at the ripe old age of five. After watching his older brother perform, Colton decided he wanted to try his hand at acting as well. As he explained, "When my brother started I kinda thought, 'You know, he's having a lot of fun and it kinda looks like fun to me.'" So Lisa put him in an acting class, he got an agent and booked a bunch of print jobs. Colton and his family then came to California to participate in a workshop focusing on pilot season and getting an agent.
Lisa recalled, "We thought, 'Oh, you know we'll try it. We'll go out there as a vacation and you know take two or three weeks and have a good time.' So that was five years ago!" All three of her boys landed agents and the following January, the Shires came back to L.A. for pilot season and never looked back.
"If someone had told me five years ago that I would be doing this, I would have told them they were crazy, but here I am still doing it. Of course, I think I am crazy," Lisa laughed.
With her two oldest sons booking jobs in indie films, PSAs and commercials and Colton appearing in primetime, films and of course Passions, Lisa has been around long enough to know how she wants to see her children grow up in the business. As she told me, "I really try hard to keep them very grounded. [Colton's] been home schooled in the past and we actually put him in a school this year and my first words to him were, 'Nobody needs to know what you do. No bragging. No showing off. No nothing.' He's good about that; he's like 'I know, I know.'"
Having played Little Ethan since 2004 and with the cancellation of Passions on DirecTV looming, Colton let me know, "I'll definitely miss the whole cast and the show and everything." And while he's "kinda sad," Colton reflected, "[Passions has] really helped me out. I think it'll help me for bigger and better jobs." His mother echoed this sentiment stating, "It's almost bittersweet. I mean you think other doors will open now because sometimes we turn things down because he's working on Passions."