Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
HOMING IN ON SUCCESS
"YEAH, I'D LIKE TO BE A BIG MOVIE star," says Alex D. Linz, the charming 8-year-old currently filming Home Alone 3 in Chicago. Poor kid, maybe he didn't hear what happened to the last guy. After Macaulay Culkin hit it big—$50 million big—as the mischievous preteen in the first two Home Alone movies, he became the center of his parents' very public battle to manage his career. Now, at 16, Culkin is having a hard time landing a decent role.
He might also find it tough to recognize his old movieland stomping grounds. HA3, due in July, has been refurbished with a brand new family, played by relative newcomers. The plot leaves Linz behind in his parents' suburban home to thwart the usual gang of bungling thieves, this time cybersaboteurs out to steal a computer chip. Linz, fresh from One Fine Day (he plays Michelle Pfeiffer's son), one of hundreds to audition, clinched the part in a reading for producer John Hughes.
Alex, an only child from L.A., was drawn to acting at age 5 when "he was watching a Hot Wheels commercial and said, I'd like to do that and play with toys,' " says his mom, Deborah Baltaxe, 35, a recent law school grad. She and husband Dan Linz, 41, a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, took Alex for an interview with an agent nearly three years ago and, within a week, he landed a job in a JCPenney ad. Since then, Linz has appeared on The Young and the Restless, Cybill and in a McDonald's ad.
Michael Hoffman, director of One Fine Day, says Alex possesses "tremendous natural gifts" and could have a shot at stardom. That kind of talk worries Baltaxe. "I'm trying to keep him out of that Home Alone hoopla," she says, adding that she often tells her son, "If you want to stop tomorrow, that's okay." But for the time being, Alex seems content. "It's, like, fun," he says.