Jonathan Lipnicki was one of the most beloved child actors of the late 1990s and early 2000s thanks to roles in “Jerry Maguire,” “Stuart Little” and “Like Mike,” but his acting career seemingly vanished in the 2010s. In a new interview with /Film, the 31-year-old actor got honest about his acting absence. Lipnicki starred in short films and direct-to-DVD projects for a stretch of time in the early 2010s, but his career never returned to the heights of his child stardom days.
“The biggest transition for me was…I didn’t work for a long time,” Lipnicki said. “And people always frame that as, ‘Oh, I went to high school,’ and whatnot. And that’s the story that 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 said growing up and going to high school was not the main factor behind his hiatus from acting. Quite the contrary. Lipnicki loves acting and would never give it up, but he disappeared from the industry for years because he wasn’t a good enough actor to remain a household name.
“I’m honest about that. And it was because [I] wasn’t a very good actor at one point,” Lipnicki said about why he didn’t work. “Because the great thing about being young, a kid, is there’s this nice inherent childlike wonder. And 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. And so for me, I went from just doing the natural thing to trying to be like my favorite actors.”
To become a better actor, Lipnicki enrolled in acting classes after high school and began seriously studying the craft. He also started taking theater roles to put his acting chops to the test. The actor cites being an understudy in a production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” as a pivotal moment as he got to learn from headlining star Chris Pine.
“I got to see Chris work, and I got to see some amazing actors in that production work,” Lipnicki said. “And it was really inspiring…I never went on because everyone was so young and healthy. But I got to really rehearse on this really difficult material. And so that was a formative experience in its own way.”
Head over to /Film’s website to read Lipnicki’s latest interview in its entirety.