Feel free to throw large, smelly tomatoes at me for not being aware of this until a few days ago, but I'm writing this because I'm pretty sure there are a few of you out there who are also unaware and might like to know this groovy little tidbit. One of the more fascinating aspects of HBO's new miniseries The Pacific is that executive producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks cast 26-year-old Joseph Mazzello in one of the lead parts as WWII soldier Eugene Sledge. Mazzello, for those not immediately familiar with the name, was also cast by Spielberg in 1993's Jurassic Park, where he played the young, somewhat annoying (and inquisitive) Tim Murphy.
There's an interesting story here when it comes to Spielberg and Mazzello. Originally, Spielberg wanted Mazzello to play Jack in the 1991 film Hook, but the actor at that time was just too small. Convinced Mazzello possessed something special, Spielberg altered the script for Jurassic Park by swapping the ages of the kids, and then stuck Mazzello in the part of Tim. The popularity of Jurassic Park (and the cuteness of Mazzello) helped the young actor land a few more roles after that, but as the years went on Mazzello pretty much faded into obscurity.
Now, 17 years later, Spielberg is once again giving Mazzello another chance to prove he's got what it takes by casting him in a lead role in a giant miniseries for HBO; a role, mind you, that called for him to break down crying in his very first scene. Mazzello, who also directed a short starring Rachel Leigh Cook in 2007, has a role in The Social Network coming up ... and then that's it. I'm curious: Will the second go-round with Spielberg finally help Hollywood (and audiences at home) discover what the legendary director first spotted all those years ago? What about you? Will you give him another chance?
Check out a behind-the-scenes spotlight on Mazzello's character in The Pacific after the jump.