John Cusack thinks being a child star is ''brutal''.

The 'High Fidelity' actor - who appeared in his first film 'Class' aged 16 - believes finding fame at a young age can be a ''damaging'' experience and feels he's had a lucky escape.

When asked how he felt about the treatment of child stars, he told Shortlist magazine: ''Yeah, its brutal. I got into films [at the age] where it can do a lot of damage - 16. I started with people who got damaged.

''But it's different now. It's much worse than it was. Back then, there was an expectation of private life. There were areas you could go and make mistakes [without public attention] because what else were you going to do between the ages of 16 and 25 but make mistakes.''

The 48-year-old actor's latest film 'Maps To The Stars' is due out next week and has been described as an extension of ''obscene and crazy'' Hollywood life, although he insists the movie is ''tame'' in comparison to the difficulties facing young stars.

He explained to Shortlist magazine: ''Here we are in Toronto at the Toronto International Film Festival, and there's a TV channel doing live 'breaking news' coverage that is tracking - in real time - Justin Bieber's movements into a mall. This movie is tame in comparison.''