Monday, May 26, 2008
Remember that adorable little kid from Jerry Maguire? The one that says, “Did you know the human head weighs 8 pounds?” Well he’s all grown up! Jonathan Lipnicki is 17 years-old and is graduating high school soon. Being a huge Jerry Maguire fan, I couldn’t wait to chat with him. We talked about filming Jerry Maguire, getting made fun of in school and how Tom Cruise didn't try to convert him to Scientology (hard to believe, right?).
How often do you get called, “The cute little kid from Jerry Maguire?”
It’s happened less and less in recent years and that’s kind of why I’ve stayed out of (the spot light) a little. I want to do this for the rest of my life and I don’t want to be known as one character. Yeah I’m really thankful for Jerry Maguire and Stuart Little and all those movies. It was a great start but it’s not a great end.
Does it bother you when people say that?
No, I mean I get it so much at school anyways. My friends used to make jokes. I used to play water polo for three years in high school and there was a dead mouse sitting outside the pool once and I walk by and they’re like, “Johnny, it’s Stuart Little!” Stuff like that all the time.
When is the last time you saw Tom Cruise or Rene Zellweger?
The last time I saw Tom Cruise was the War of the Worlds premiere but he’s always been a great guy to me and I appreciate everything he’s taught me.
Did you guys stay in touch after the movie?
Yeah, we did. He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met. Everyone asks me, “Is he weird?” No, not really. He’s just a very excited person and he’s really happy about everything. Honestly, if I were that happy I would like to show people that too.
Did he try to convert you to Scientology?
Not at all. He loved that I was Jewish. He sent me a very nice letter on my Bar Mitzvah. “Mazel Tov, Jonathan. This is great that you’re becoming a man.” He’s always respected my religion and never said anything to me about Scientology.
What is your favorite memory from Jerry Maguire and how did you memorize all of those lines when you were so young?
Well I couldn’t read until I was like six or seven and I was five. And so my mom would read them to me and I would have to memorize them all. I have to say my favorite memory from the whole thing is just me and Tom had a lot of fun. I’d always talk about Top Gun with him because I loved Top Gun. It was my favorite movie at the time. He was just really great. I can see why he’s such a great dad.
Did you realize when you were that little how big a part this was?
My parents never really put that pressure on me because they were really cool but other people would let me know. “Oh, Tom Cruise! You know you’re working with him? How is that?” It didn’t really faze me. It was Tom. It was just a great guy I was hanging out with. That scene where I cry in the movie, sometimes they say to little kids, “Pretend your dog died.” All they had to say to me was, “Pretend you never saw Tom again.” And that made me sad enough.