Fans came out in droves from all over the Mid West this weekend to attend Wizard World’s St. Louis Convention. In the company’s latest installment of its nationally touring convention, fans got a chance to meet the likes of former SNL standout Chris Kattan, Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson, the pop culture marvel Sean Astin, and even Aquman himself Jason Mamoa. Plus, fans were able to take a walk down memory lane and meet some actors from the iconic television series Charmed, as well.
In all, Wizard World was a lot of fun with its rows of vendors and its impressive Artist Alley, but one of my highlights was interviewing the multi-talented actor and musician Thomas Ian Nicholas. Many recognize him for his iconic role of Kevin Myers in the late ’90s cult classic American Pie, but his filmography branches much deeper and is much more diverse than the stereotypical teen role most people remember him filling.
In fact, many don’t associate Mr. Nicholas with his early ’90s child star fame.For example, one of his first major roles was as Henry Rowengartner in Rookie of the Year. Don’t you remember the kid who breaks his arm, and once it heals, he is able to throw really hard and later joins the Cubs as a Little Leaguer? Come on, it’s quintessential ’90s sports comedy gold! Maybe you remember the Disney flick A Kid in King Arthur’s Court or the follow up A Kid in Aladdin’s Palace? Both center around youngster Calvin Fuller as he is transported into the past to help iconic literary characters. Regardless, those innocent roles are often overlooked in comparison to the much more mature American Pie films, but his current and future roles are even more interesting.
Oh, and don’t overlook the fact that he is a musician and the lead vocalist for the Thomas Nicholas Band. With several albums and hundreds of tour dates to his name, it is safe to say Thomas Ian Nicholas is a man of many talents, so I wanted to briefly talk with him about these accolades and much more for Fan Fest News.
Jon Maus: What’s it like to be a part of a cult classic like the American Pie franchise?
Thomas Ian Nicholas: “I’m very thankful for the success that any of my films have had over the last three decades [laughs], so, yeah, it’s a cool feeling. Right out of the gate, people have something that they can relate to that I was lucky enough to be a part of.”
JM: You’ve had a lot of memorable roles. What is one of the favorite roles that you’ve had or that you’ve played?
TIN: “Um, well, I’m looking at a picture of it right here [points to a picture at his booth] from Rules of Attraction where I played Mitchell. That was a really fun, fun movie and my first dramatic improv on screen. It was written by Roger Avery, who, of course, wrote Pulp Fiction with Tarantino. He allowed us to really explore our characters in a really free way. And, more recently, I played Walt Disney in Walt Before Mickey from the age of 16 to 27 before he created Mickey Mouse. Coming out in theaters this September is a film called Zeroville with James Franco (who also directed), Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell, and Danny McBride. I play Martin Scorsese, so that was pretty cool. Everyone’s a big fan of Marty, including myself. Later this year, I have a film that will be in theaters called Adverse, where I play the main protagonist. It’s a very dark role for me. Very, very different alongside Mickey Rourke, Penelope Ann Miller, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sean Astin, Matt Ryan, Shelley Regner, Andrew Keegan, Luke Edwards, Samm Levine, and J.T. Austin.”
JM: That sounds awesome. Now, I know you do a lot of the Disney-themed promotional events here at Wizard World being that you are Walt Disney. Are you a big fan of Disney and its franchises?
TIN: “Oh, yeah, everyone’s a fan of Disney. I obviously know a lot of insight about his early life and career, which is to say that I’m kind of a walking encyclopedia from 1918 to 1928 or when I played him.”
JM: Cool. What’s, like, one fact that a lot of people might not know about Walt Disney?
TIN: “One that, maybe, two out of ten people might know is that Disney went bankrupt in Kansas City with Laugh-O-Grams before coming out to California with about $40 to his name, which is about the equivalent of $300 today, and a suitcase full of clothes.”
JM: Wow, crazy. My last question is going to involve your music. What kind of inspiration do you find for your band? Or, what’s your music influence?
TIN: “Well, you asked me earlier about being a part of ’90s movies. Well, it’s kind of like an interfusion. I grew up on a little bit of ’70s classic rock thanks to my mom’s collection of cassette tapes [laughs] and my personal collection of grunge and ’90s rock. I side more with the sound of ’90s rock. No matter what I write, it kinda has a bit of a ’90s influence.”
JM: Great. Thanks for answering my questions, and I’ll let you get going. Good luck tonight. [The Thomas Nicholas Band played at a local venue after Friday night’s WW festivities.]
TIN: “Oh, my pleasure! It should be a lot of fun.”
To check out future tour dates and the Thomas Nicholas Band’s latest music, click here. You can also follow him and his band on Twitter @TINband. Thanks to Wizard World St. Louis for allowing me to cover the event and thanks to Thomas Ian Nicholas for giving his time for this interview.
Jon Maus is a high school English Language Arts teacher and an all-around pop culture enthusiast. He has a B.S. and a M.E. in English. Some of his favorite fandoms include The Walking Dead, Marvel, Disney, Back to the Future, and the Karate Kid.