Celebrity couple Sean Patrick Thomas (Raisins in the Sun; Barber Shop) and Aonika Laurent Thomas (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) delivered a healthy baby girl on Friday, May 16, 2008, at Cedars Sinai. They’ve named her Lola Jolie. I had the pleasure of attending their baby shower a few weeks ago and interviewing the couple about their journey to parenthood.
What I didn’t mention in that interview is that Sean and I actually worked together back in 1997 on a little teen flick called “Can’t Hardly Wait,” which was jammed packed with talented, young actors (Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose, Jaime Pressly, Freddie Rodriguez, Melissa Joan Hart and Selma Blair) who would go on to have wonderful careers as adult actors. Kudos to the casting department on that one.
“Can’t Hardly Wait,” also showcased young talent whose careers were peaking or tapering off (Charlie Korsmo, Ethan Embry, Jennifer Love Hewitt) at least for the time being. I would personally love to see Ethan Embry pull a Patrick Dempsey and come back full force in his late 30’s or early 40’s. Time will tell. And I’m not worried for Charlie Korsmo – last I heard, he graduated from MIT at the top of his class and made the choice to leave Hollywood behind.
What quality is it that carries a teen actor successfully into adulthood in Hollywood? Is it luck? Looks? Talent? Popularity? A combination of all these? I don’t know, but I can tell you that it was not obvious to me while working on the film which of them would go on to have adult acting careers with the exception of Seth Green who is brilliant; and Jamie Pressly, (My Name is Earl) a stunning beauty whose moxie was all ready clearly evident. Freddie Rodriguez (Grind House) also had that “special something,” a vibe that was for lack of a better description, memorable.
It’s one of the most elusive elements in child acting and actors – the transition factor. For every child and teen actor who transition into successful acting careers in their 20’s and 30’s (Jodie Foster, Drew Barrymore, Kurt Russell) there are 1000 or more who don’t. Will your child actor be able to transition? Do you even want him or her to pursue a lifetime career in acting? And if they can’t or don’t continue to book as they get older, how will you help them cope? If you’re a former child actor who has gone on to bigger and better things outside of the industry or you know someone like this, I’d love to hear from you.
As for Sean Patrick Thomas, he obviously made the “transition” into his chosen profession with ease. It was wonderful to see him again, all grown up, married and starting a family of his own. Lola is a beautiful baby name and they’re a beautiful couple – all my best wishes to the entire family.