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Thomas Horn Interview: Jeopardy Winner Turned Teen Actor

How does a 13 year old land a Hollywood acting gig opposite Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock? Well, for Thomas Horn it came down to using his teenage brain, literally.

In 2010, Horn was a contestant on the popular game show Jeopardy. Not only did he win more than $30,000, but the Bay Area-actor also got a call from producer Scott Rudin to audition for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” the 2011 Academy Award-nominated film about a son dealing with the loss of his father after 9/11.

Horn got the role and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now 15, Horn stars with Dermot Mulroney and Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie “Space Warriors.”

Horn plays the role of Jimmy Hawkins, a teenager who secretly applies for a spot on a space-shuttle mission, against the wishes of his retired astronaut father.

Talking to Actor Thomas Horn

Your Teen was curious about Thomas Horn. What’s it like to balance the glamour of Hollywood with the decidedly less glamorous life of a high-school freshman?

Turns out, it’s not so different from what other students are up against, except that when Horn is filming during the academic year, he goes to school in a trailer.

“I miss my friends a lot. But we text still text,” says Horn, who is fluent in Croatian and also competed in the National Spelling Bee (he took second place in the state of California). “I love all my classes. I really love Mandarin. I’ve been learning it for three years.”

He is working on getting his driver’s license and, like many teenagers, serious about academics.

“Acting and education should go hand in hand,” he says. “I am not sure I can count on acting because in Hollywood there is a supply-demand problem. I’m counting on my education to give me a back up.”

Susan Borison, mother of five, is the founder and editor of Your Teen Media. Because parenting teenagers is humbling and shouldn’t be tackled alone.

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