A 5-year-old boy discovered at a birthday party becomes a major acting prodigy in a matter of months. It sounds like a too-good-to-be-true Hollywood movie script, but it’s a dream-come-true — with a lot of tough sailing along the way.
HITTING IT OUT OF THE PARK:Tyler Patrick Jones (above left with co-stars) is having a career year as a star this summer in the remake of the highly popular Little League comedy-of-errors Bad News Bears, and with a recurring role in Aaron Spelling's TV series Summerland. Later this fall, he's appearing in the film Yours, Mine and Ours.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – March 13, 2001, was just getting back to normal for Tyler Patrick Jones, a child actor whose résumé at the time already included episodes of Judging Amy and Family Law and a stage production at the world famous Getty Center Museum. Tyler had celebrated birthday No. 7 a day earlier. As he blew out the candles, he’d made the same wish shared by many thousands of actors — to book his first motion picture. Earlier that year, Tyler had auditioned for four films — including one project titled Minority Report. On this day, after completing a Polaroid commercial call back, that film audition was far from Tyler’s mind as he hopped into mother’s car and broke open his homework. Moments later, his birthday wish turned magical when his mom handed him the phone and Tyler heard the words that would change his life forever: “You booked your first feature film!” his manager excitedly announced. “It’s called Minority Report. The director is Steven Spielberg, and you will be playing Tom Cruise’s son.” Tyler, every bit a 7-year-old, spent the next minute joyously shouting to the heavens, then settled down and calmly asked, “Who’s Tom Cruise?”
Four years later, Tyler Patrick Jones not only knows Tom Cruise, but has also become the consummate acting professional, impressing a who’s who of the entertainment elite. His growing list of co-stars includes not only Cruise but also notable Academy Award winners Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden, and Anthony Hopkins, British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards-winner Ralph Fiennes, Emmy Award-winners Bradley Whitford and Mary-Louise Parker, Golden Globe recipient Edward Norton, Dennis Quaid, and Rene Russo. Tyler himself has won two Young Artist Awards, along with a recurring role in Aaron Spelling’s hit WB television series Summerland. His first two motion pictures, 20th Century Fox’s Minority Report and Universal Pictures’ Red Dragon, both opened atop the box-office charts. He returns to theater screens in 2005 with co-starring roles in the remakes of two classic feature film comedies, Paramount Pictures’ Bad News Bears and MGM/Paramount’s Yours, Mine and Ours.
By all outward appearances, Tyler Patrick Jones seems to perfectly fit the role of the “Hollywood child prodigy” — quick success, instant stardom — all accomplished effortlessly. But, as this closer look at his career illustrates, the road to Hollywood stardom includes not only fortune’s favors, but also some bumps in the road, only overcome by the valiant hard work and courage required to reach Tyler’s level of acting success.
In 1999, 5-year-old Tyler Patrick Jones and family lived in a quiet San Fernando Valley suburb. One day Tyler was enjoying ice cream, cake, and fun at a friend’s May birthday party in a local park, when a talent manager spotted him and immediate saw something special — a sparkling child whose charisma and enthusiasm captivated the attention of other kids. The manager handed the boy’s father his business card, allowing Tyler to bypass what often proves to be an extremely difficult aspect of most new actors’ careers — finding professional representation. On June 3, following an initial interview, Tyler’s parents signed the management contract.
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