Producer George Lucas plucked Flanery, 26, from 300 hopefuls to play the 16-year-old budding archaeologist. (Corey Carrier plays a 9-year-old Indy.) "We needed a cute, hot kid with a great smile," says casting director Janet Hirshenson. "He seemed like a swashbuckler."
Flanery's early adventures revolved around speed. Raised in a family of three children in Houston, Sean grew up skateboarding and later drove a 1978 VW Scirocco in autocross races. "I've spun out," he says with satisfaction. He started acting at the University of Saint Thomas in Houston, inspired by "a beautiful girl I would see leaving the theater." His mother, Genie, a real estate agent, was an early fan, but his father, Paul, a medical-supplies salesman, recoiled when Sean dropped out of school to move to L.A. Now, says the elder Flanery, "we're real proud." Sean waited tables and made commercials for McDonald's and Kellogg's Corn Pops before being cast in two movies for the Disney Channel.
Flanery claims no steady girlfriend, just a sparsely furnished one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood and Indy's famous brown fedora on his spinning head. "I don't know what a big break is," he says, "but this is an excellent job."
SEAN PATRICK FLANERY'S SCARIEST moment while filming ABC's new series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles came when he thought he had killed Hurricane, the horse Harrison Ford rode in the Indy movies. After steed and rider accidentally ran into a Jeep, "I was panic stricken," the normally intrepid Flanery says. "This horse was a star!" But nay, Hurricane is fine, and most of Flanery's other stunt experiences have involved the standard sprint-and-leap stuff that the former high school triathlete relishes. "I'm addicted to adrenaline," he says.