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Little Local Actor Hitting the Big Screen

Ten-year-old Joseph Paul Kennedy of White Plains will debut in his first feature film this November.

It takes a lot of aspiring actors decades to land their first paid gig. 

White Plains 10-year-old Joseph Paul Kennedy pulled it off in only 18 months, playing a part in a Huggies commercial before his second birthday. Since then he has shared the stage or screen with plenty of big names, including New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning in a skit on Saturday Night Live .

But this year Joseph made his biggest splash of all, playing his first part in a feature film as "Gary" in the film "Nature Calls". Since landing the role in August 2011, the student at Ridgeway Elementary School has been sharing a set with the likes of Patton Oswalt, Rob Riggle and Johnny Knoxville. The film opens in theaters on Nov. 9.

"They were hilarious," Joseph says, recalling a few stories from the set. "Johnny Knoxville sometimes played pranks on us."

The role has made the well-spoken fifth grader a bit of a celebrity with classmates who now ask him about film shoots and other news from the entertainment business. He remembers getting a lot of questions when classmates saw him on television with Manning.

"When I was on SNL, a lot of kids saw it," Joseph said. "I don't know how they stayed up."

Joseph's love for the entertainment industry comes home with him as well. When he's not reading scripts or memorizing lines, he is writing scripts of his own, using Legos to play out the scenes. He even shoots and edits his own movies on the family computer.

"This is something that I really want to stay with," he said. "It's really fun."

Although the role in "Nature Calls" is a big step for Joseph, it is does have its share of adult themes. But Joseph and his family accepted the role, partly because there is a positive message.

"It had a message we should do things right in life," Joseph said, doing his best to refrain from revealing the plot. "Do something responsible, but also enjoy life at the same time."

Joseph's mother Cristina Kennedy agreed, saying after reading the script she gave the film her approval.

"He saw more watching the film than when he was actually on set," she said. "We knew the nature of the content and we knew the overall message of the film and we still thought it was a really good project for him to work on."

Now that filming is complete for "Nature Calls", Joseph is out looking for his next role. On average, Cristina Kennedy says her son attends three to four auditions a week, mostly in New York City. Joseph's four-year-old brother Leo is also working his way into some roles.

An actor herself before becoming a teacher, Cristina said she is happy to see her sons enjoying the entertainment business.

And Joseph couldn't be happier about it himself, saying he hopes to continue for a long time.

"The camera just kept loving me and I kept doing it," he said with a wide smile. "I love acting."

Zach Oliva (Editor) October 23, 2012 at 04:18 PM
If anyone wants to check out the trailer for Nature Calls you can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTogYIEiKGE. Just a heads up, it contains a lot of adult content.
David October 24, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I am amazed that someone would allow their child to be in such a low class movie! The trailer shows plenty of disgusting language and I had to stop my child from watching it. There should be a warning on the comment with the link! I failed to see a "positive" message! Just say you did it for the cash and ego boost.

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