Jonathan Lipnicki looks nearly unrecognizable in a new interview with Joey, Matthew and Andrew Lawrence for their popular Brotherly Love podcast.
The 33-year-old actor, best known for playing Renee Zellweger’s scene-stealing son, Ray Boyd, in Jerry Maguire, is now sporting long locks to go along with his infectious smile. But the look won’t last long. Lipnicki told the Lawerence brothers in the latest episode of their podcast that he’s getting rid of the hairdo any day now. He said he’s reached his threshold.
Lipnicki also shared with the Lawrence brothers some major life updates, like the fact he’s left his hometown of Los Angeles for — literally — the greener pastures of Oklahoma City. He moved to the Sooner State about three months ago and he’s loving it so far.
As for why he made the move, Lipnicki says his parents moved years ago to Colorado and he had no family left in L.A. On top of that, he realized working in Hollywood didn’t really require him to be in Hollywood. So he sold all of his belongings and only brought with him whatever fit into his Jeep Wrangler and off he went.
“I just hit a point where I realized I was self-taping everything,” he explained. “Everything I do is either Zoom or self-tape anyway. I wanted to see what it’s like to live somewhere else.”
So far, Lipnicki’s loving the experience. He has three childhood friends who live nearby, and he’s enjoying the growing filming community, too. Lipnicki, who says he’s still acting but is also producing with Buffalo 8 Productions, is also teaching acting in Oklahoma. All in all, Lipnicki says things couldn’t have gone any better since relocating, though he admits that experiencing tornadoes is still quite eerie, especially when they test the tornado sirens on weekends.
Lipnicki also shared that he’ll be on a new TV show next year, though he didn’t share the name of the project. The new uncle (he said he’ll meet his nephew for the first time on Dec. 20) is still in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s been training for 15 years now, and he reached black-belt status during the pandemic. But the sport, as expected, has brought on some gruesome injuries.
Lipnicki shared that he had a cauliflower ear not that long ago that required a trip to an L.A. dermatologist to fix it. Then he had an inner-ear cauliflower that, thankfully, has improved. But at its peak, the injury was intense.
“It’s better now but for a while I couldn’t wear AirPods,” he shared. “They would just pop out. That one settled down a bit and it isn’t feeling as angry in there.”
Lipnicki, who had done just two commercials before landing the 1996 rom-com role starring Tom Cruise, shared that he initially didn’t get the part. Instead, the role went to another kid, who got fired two weeks into production. Producers scrambled to find a replacement, but they wouldn’t look at Lipnicki because producers weren’t looking at anyone that had already auditioned.
Luckily for Lipnicki, his agent called the casting director and staked his reputation on the line. The agent proved convincing, and Lipnicki was on his way to audition for the casting director again.
“And I went and I read for the casting director and in the room they were like, ‘How would you like to fly today to Arizona where they’re filming the football scenes and meet Tom Cruise?'” Lipnicki recalled. “And I read for him. I was excited to go on a plane, is what I remember. And I was excited to meet Maverick, because I love Tom Cruise.”
Lipnicki says his mom and dad got to Arizona and they walked into Cruise’s trailer. Lipnicki said he read a few scenes with Cruise and locked the role. All these years later, Lipnicki looks back on his whirlwind experience with so much fondness.
“It was a blur for the next five, six years, just moving through time really fast, doing a lot of different projects,” the Stuart Little star said. “You hear a lot of negative stories [about child actors in Hollywood], but there’s nothing I would take back at all. I love it and I found out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life when I was 5 years old.”
He added, “It’s the best job in the world. I’m willing to stress over this forever.”