By Laura Nachman
February 16, 2005
Upper Darby native and Monsignor Bonner Class of ’88 graduate Jamie Kennedy has top billing in “The Son of the Mask,” opening nationwide February 18th.
“I never would have imagined when I was bumming around Upper Darby when I was a kid, that I would eventually return someday as the star of a movie,” said Kennedy, who got his start as an extra in “Dead Poets Society,” which filmed in Delaware in 1989.
Buoyed by the experience, Kennedy moved to Los Angeles when he was 18 and eventually got his big break in the hit horror movie “Scream.” Kennedy’s chronicled his experiences as a struggling actor in the book “Wannabe: A Hollywood Experiment.”
After appearing in bit roles in a dozen films, Kennedy’s name recognition increased with his hidden camera-sketch series “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment,” which ran on the WB network for three seasons.
A sketch from the show became the basis for the film “Malibu’s Most Wanted” where Ryan O’Neal and Bo Derek played Kennedy’s parents (“much to the delight of my mother,” Kennedy said.)
As his career has steadily progressed, Kennedy has had a couple of “pinch-me” moments.
“I attended the “Golden Globe” awards a few weeks ago and Arnold Schwarznegger was telling me how he liked my show. Chris O’Donnell (“Batman and Robin,” “Scent of a Woman,” “Vertical Limit”) also told me how he loved the show. The first thing I thought was “You are short.” Then I couldn’t believe that this guy who I grew up watching in movies was telling me he was a fan.”
Another highlight for Kennedy was returning to town last week to promote “Son of the Mask.” He was the guest of honor at a Sixers’ game, appeared on local television shows, and was serenaded by his high school band on a local radio station. Kennedy will appear on “The Tonight Show,” “Ellen,” and other national shows to promote the film.
Like the HBO show, “Entourage,” where a Hollywood actor brings his childhood friends along for the ride, Kennedy, unmarried, has his own Upper Darby entourage, including his personal assistant, fellow Bonner graduate Chris Roletter.
Kennedy is producing two new series for the WB: “Living with Fran,” which stars Fran Drescher of “The Nanny” (March) and a reality show called “The Next Starlet,” (April) with celebrity judges Faye Dunaway and Vivica A. Fox.