Jonathan Lipnicki and Renée Zellweger in Jerry Maguire. [Source: NZ Herald]
Remember the cute little kid from Jerry Maguire?
Well, first, prepare to feel old because he, Jonathan Lipnicki, is now 31. Yikes.
Second is the age-old question of, “Where is he now? Is he still acting? Or is he like a lawyer or real estate agent now?”
Lipnicki is still acting and loving it, according to a rare interview he gave to /Film, but the part that was most illuminating was how refreshingly honest he was about why he “quit” acting for a while.
“I didn’t work for a long time,” he said. “And people always frame that as, ‘Oh, I went to high school’ and whatnot. And that’s the story people tell sometimes when they don’t work.
“Or if they’re a child actor or whatever, they took time off.
“I did take time off in the sense that it wasn’t the only priority I had. But I didn’t work because I just didn’t work. I didn’t really get any roles for a while.”
Lipnicki went on to explain why he wasn’t being offered any roles.
“It was because I wasn’t a very good actor at one point,” he said.
“The great thing about being young, a kid, is there’s this nice inherent childlike wonder. “That’s why a lot of kids you see are quite talented.
And filters come in and you become nervous or the world comes into play. So, for me, I went from just doing the natural thing, to trying to be like favourite actors.”
Lipnicki recalled that once he finished high school, he took himself off to acting classes, starting with beginners lessons so he could build a foundation.
“Really, really studying it. I’d never done theatre as a kid, so I started doing theatre. I always loved it, but I found a new, renewed type of love for it. And it really is, I think, the greatest job in the world when you have the pleasure of doing it.”
Lipnicki revealed that having been a child actor came with its ups and downs.
“I’m very grateful for what I did as a kid, and it definitely helps in a lot of ways. But it opens some doors and it closes some,” he said. “I get great opportunities because of what I’ve done in the past. And also sometimes it can be a harder pitch in some ways.”
While he said he loves what he does, it doesn’t mean he’s satisfied with where he is in his career.
He was most recently in a LA-based sketch comedy show called Protected Under Parody, a stage production which merges two well-known movies. He was in a show which meshed Donnie Darko and Empire Records.
Lipnicki made his acting debut in Jerry Maguire, opposite Tom Cruise and Renée Zellweger.
His cherubic face and charming presence landed him further roles in Dr Dolittle, Stuart Little and TV shows including The Jeff Foxworthy Show, Meego and Dawson’s Creek.
He dropped off in the early 2000s – that period when he “wasn’t very good” – and later emerged in the late 2000s.
His credits include a mix of smaller productions such as Bering Sea Beast, Bad Asses and short films.
He has been a celebrity contestant on reality shows Worst Cooks in America and Celebs Go Dating.