Joseph Mazzello probably isn’t a name you would recognize off-hand, but if you were anywhere near popular cinema since 1993 odds are you’ve seen his most popular role. Starring in the Steven Spielberg classic Jurassic Park at just ten years old. While he’s grown, he’s still running around Hollywood and you’ve probably seen him in some very popular projects.
Born in 1983 to a New York couple, Joseph had humble beginnings. His parents owned a New York City dance studio and encouraged Joseph from a young age to explore acting. It didn’t take very long either, with the feature film Presumed Innocent seeing Joseph Mazzello making his feature debut alongside heavyweights Harrison Ford and Raul Julia at the age of just seven years old.
A Roaring Start
He would follow up with the film Radio Flyer in 1992, heading into 1993 for his biggest break yet, personally written for him by Steven Spielberg. When originally casting for the role of Jack in the film Hook, Joseph Mazzello was a candidate and impressed Spielberg, but was too young for the role at the time. Spielberg saw so much talent waiting in Joseph that he swapped the ages of Jurassic Park’s kids just so he could play the part of Tim.
The role was life-changing, setting Joseph up with industry connections that would last a lifetime as well as one of the greatest films of all time tucked into his portfolio early on. He was even cast in AI: Artificial Intelligence before the project stalled after Stanley Kubrick’s passing. Joseph would stay on a roll with roles though, immediately following Jurassic Park with Shadowlands, directed by his Park grandfather Richard Attenborough later that year.
Joseph would go on to do a string of other acclaimed films while finishing his schooling, even reprising his role of Tim for a brief part in The Lost World, which he says paid for his college completely. He would also play the lead in the sci-fi kids’ film Star Kid the same year. One film was more terrifying than the other, and it wasn’t the one with dinosaurs.
He would take the last part of the 90s and early 2000s to go to USC for a cinema degree, but wouldn’t step away from acting completely, just spacing out his roles a little more as well as taking less mainstream film projects. Joseph Mazzello would appear in guest spots for shows like Raising Helen and fulfill the contractual obligations of every actor during the 2000s by appearing on CSI.
Around this point is where most child stars either step away from Hollywood completely or explore different avenues in the business, but Joseph Mazzello kept going with his chosen career, Graduating from USC in 2005, he would go on to star in the critically acclaimed The Sensation of Sight the following year before devoting most of the next few years to writing, directing, and starring in short film Matters of Life and Death in 2007.
Win After Win
Joseph Mazzello would hit the ground running to kick off the 10s, pulling double duty between David Fiincher’s Facebook drama (is it Meta-drama now?) The Social Network and HBO’s Band of Brothers followup The Pacific in 2010. He would gain acclaim for both, even starring alongside future costar and Oscar winner Rami Malek in The Pacific.
As a general rule, child stars in Spielberg films are often set for life, and with Joseph’s continued work in and around Hollywood he’s gained the powers of Daniel Radcliffe and Elijah Wood- “f—k you money”. While he is a working actor, he has the freedom to be picky with his roles now and star in what interests him, which has paid off hugely. While he would still take a role in GI Joe: Retaliation, he would also make some acclaimed guest appearances in shows like Elementary and Justified.
Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018 saw Joseph Mazzello reunite with his The Pacific co-star Rami Malek, taking on the role of Queen bassist John Deacon in the film about Freddie Mercury’s wild life. The film would be a critical success despite multiple controversies involving director Bryan Singer (oh my goodness who could have possibly seen this coming?/s) and Joseph would earn praise for his performance and Malek would secure a best actor Oscar.
What’s Joseph Mazzello Doing Now?
(photo: Joe Mazzello Is Bored)
Recently he’s taken things slower, appearing in the third season of American Crime Story and most recently taking a lead role in the independent dramedy Unexpected, with much acclaim so far. While he doesn’t have anything on the schedule as of right now for the future, he’ll definitely keep acting and possibly return to the writer or director chair sometime soon.
In the meantime the actor frequently posts on Instagram, showing a quirky sense of humor and plenty of pictures from various productions he’s worked on to different excursions he takes currently. Most recently he was reunited with Jurassic Park onscreen sister Ariana Richards for an event honoring Steven Spielberg they both attended, saying it was the first time they’ve seen each other since the film.