American Pie' Thomas Ian Nicholas talks being a child star in the 90s

Inside the wild life of a 90s child star: American Pie actor recalls drinking a beer with Kate Winslet at 14, getting the ‘ultimate wedgie’ from 50-year-old Gary Busey on set – and Daniel Craig ‘filling a bathtub’ with wild cannabis

  • Former child star Thomas Ian Nicholas, now 40, has opened up about his experiences with early fame in Hollywood 
  • His big break was 1993’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ with Garey Busey, who carried him by his underwear across the lunchroom in front of 100 crew members
  • He starred in ‘A Kid in King Arthur’s Court’ with Kate Winslet, with whom he shared her first (underage) beer in a pub in England
  • He recalled that while filming in Budapest, co-stars Daniel Craig and Art Malik collected a bunch of wild cannabis and filled a bathtub with it
  • Thomas also spoke about the famous webcam scene from ‘American Pie,’ saying ‘they would just probably do it in a different way today’ 
  • He said: ‘There are a lot of things that are being cancelled now. So, it’s definitely not the right time to push the envelope on a teen sex comedy’

Former child star Thomas Ian Nicholas has opened up about his experiences with early fame in Hollywood, from a strange moment on the set of ‘Rookie of the Year’ with Gary Busey to recollections of his ‘A Kid in King Arthur’s Court’ co-star Daniel Craig’s marijuana collection.

Now 40, Thomas is perhaps most known for playing Kevin in the ‘American Pie’ movies from 1999 to 2012, but his career started much earlier with TV spots in the early ’80s and starring movie roles in the early to mid-90s.

Speaking to Vice this week, Thomas shared some of his memories on set with his very famous co-stars, including the time he had his first beer ever at age 14 with Kate Winslet.

All grown up: Former child star Thomas Ian Nicholas has opened up about his experiences with early fame in Hollywood 

Famous: Now 40, Thomas is perhaps most known for playing Kevin in the American Pie movies from 1999 to 2012

Thomas got his start in Hollywood thanks to a familial connection. His mother, a casting director who found background actors for low-budget films, gave him his first role as an altar boy.

But it wasn’t until 1988, when he was eight years old, that he scored his first credited role playing ‘Little Tony’ Danza in a ‘Who’s The Boss?’ flashback.

Thomas went on a lot of auditions during his childhood, though unlike some other child stars, he insists that his mother wasn’t pressuring him to stay in the business, and would check in regularly to make sure he still wanted to do it.

In 1989, he scored another TV role, this time as Ricky Blount on an episode of ‘Baywatch,’ followed by a two-episode arch on ‘Married… With Children.’ 

He had several more small roles before his big break with 1993’s ‘Rookie of the Year,’ in which he played Henry Rowengartner, a boy who can suddenly pitch on a pro-level and joins the Chicago Cubs. 

Some of his particularly lasting memories from the set of the film involve co-star Gary Busey, who once screamed at Nicholas’ mother on set.

Another time, the then-50-year-old Busey pulled a grade-school prank on 12-year-old Nicholas.  

‘One day in the lunchroom, he got in line behind me and was kind of poking at me. I was just trying to get my lunch, and then he grabbed me by my underwear and gave me the ultimate wedgie and carried me, like, 25 feet across the lunchroom in front of 100 crew members,’ he recalled.

‘I just kind of took it in stride because Gary was really nice to me [otherwise]. If that was the brunt of it, I was okay with it. Because there were a lot worse antics happening.’ 

DailyMail.com has contacted Gary’s spokesperson for comment. 

Nicholas also has some memorable moments with his co-stars in the 1995 Disney classic ‘A Kid in King Arthur’s Court,’ which he filmed when he was 14.

‘In Hungary [where the movie was filmed] in the mid-90s, marijuana was growing wild. Daniel and [co-star] Art Malik collected a bunch of it,’ Nicholas said. 

‘I’m pretty sure they filled up a bathtub with it and dried it out. And they said it was terrible.’ 

According to Vice, most wild cannabis in Hungary is non-psychoactive hemp; DailyMail.com has reached out to Daniel’s spokesperson for comment. 

Memories: Nicholas also has some memorable moments with his co-stars in the 1995 Disney classic ‘A Kid in King Arthur’s Court,’ which he filmed when he was 14

‘In Hungary [where the movie was filmed] in the mid-90s, marijuana was growing wild. Daniel and [co-star] Art Malik collected a bunch of it,’ Nicholas said (pictured with Daniel Craig)

‘I actually had my first beer in a pub with Kate Winslet,’ he added (pictured in the film with Kate Wilson, left, and Daniel Craig, center)

Though Nicholas didn’t indicate that he’d partaken in the bathtub cannabis, he did enjoy his first beer ever in England during post-production.

‘I actually had my first beer in a pub with Kate Winslet,’ he said.

Finally, just before the turn of the millennium, Nicholas scored his biggest role ever: Kevin, a high schooler who just wants to have sex, in ‘American Pie.’

He actually lucked into the role: It was originally supposed to go to Andrew Keegan, who had to give up the role due to filming for ’10 Things I Hate About You.’ 

Thomas didn’t share any wild memories from set, though he did reflect on one of the movie’s most famous scenes, when Shannon Elizabeth’s foreign exchange student character changes clothes, and some of the boys secretly watch via webcam.  

Nicholas said that the scene paid homage to a similar one in the 1981 film Porky’s involving a girls’ locker room, though he admits it wouldn’t make it into a movie today.

‘They would just probably do it in a different way today,’ he said. 

Looking back: Thomas didn’t share any wild memories from set of 1999’s American Pie, though he did reflect on one of the movie’s most famous scenes, involving a secret webcam broadcast 

‘They would just probably do it in a different way today,’ he said ‘There are a lot of things that are being cancelled now. So, it’s definitely not the right time to push the envelope on a teen sex comedy’

‘But at the same time, there is a bit of, what are we calling it now? I don’t want to pigeonhole a term, but there are a lot of things that are being cancelled now. So, it’s definitely not the right time to push the envelope on a teen sex comedy.’

Several of his co-stars have also spoken out about the scene more recently, with Jason Biggs telling BuzzFeed last year that it was ‘a very specific time’ but would not be made today.

‘It would be unacceptable what that represents, but at the time I remember reading the script and reading that part and being shocked that there was cameras on computers! That’s what I took away from it originally!’ he said.

‘People are having these conversations, as they should be,’ he went on. ‘Again, the internet has changed everything, but specific to sex and teens, the conversation now is totally different now to what it was 20-plus years ago, so the art that’s made surrounding it needs to be totally different.’

Meanwhile, in 2019, Shannon Elizabeth spoke about the scene to the New York Post, remarking on not just the nonconsensual webcast but also the fact that her character, Nadia, was punished for it by being sent back to her home country — though the boys who actually filmed her faced no consequences.

‘If this had come out after the #MeToo movement, there would definitely be a problem. I think that it would have gone down differently,’ she said. 

Musical: These days, Nicholas is still acting, and also fronts the Thomas Nicholas band, which is currently working in its seventh studio album

Fam: He is married to wife Colette Marino, also known as DJ Colette, with whom he has a nine-year-old son named Nolan River and a nearly-five-year-old daughter named Zoë Dylan

Nicholas’ son is now a child actor himself, with credits in his dad’s film ‘Adverse,’ an episode of ‘New Girl,’ and this year’s ‘Old’ from M. Night Shyamalan

These days, Nicholas is still acting, most recently in 2020’s ‘Adverse’ alongside Mickey Rourke, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sean Astin, and Jake T. Austin.

He also fronts the Thomas Nicholas band, which is currently working in its seventh studio album.

As for his home life, he is married to wife Colette Marino, also known as DJ Colette, with whom he has a nine-year-old son named Nolan River and a nearly-five-year-old daughter named Zoë Dylan.

Nicholas’ son is now a child actor himself, with credits in his dad’s film ‘Adverse,’ an episode of ‘New Girl,’ and this year’s ‘Old’ from M. Night Shyamalan.

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