Ahead of the Game
updated 09/13/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/13/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Director Steven Zaillian picked Max over hundreds of young chess masters who auditioned last year. "He was missing four or five teeth, and I couldn't understand a word he said," recalls Zaillian. "But his eyes were so expressive, and he had a confidence in himself." Max's reaction when he was offered the role: "He was running around screaming, 'I got the part!' " says Marion. But he soon settled into a performance that New York Times critic Janet Maslin calls "touching and credible."
Now Max, who just started fourth grade in his native Manhattan, has an agent, and Marion is screening scripts for him. Still, the Hollywood scene may not be quite his thing. At a screening party in Los Angeles last month, Max lasted all of 15 minutes before announcing he was bored. "We went back to our hotel with him," notes his mom, "and Max raided the mini-bar."