Thomas Ian Nicholas is grateful he had the chance to work alongside “Home Alone” star John Heard before his death in 2017 at age 71 from a heart attack.
Heard, who previously worked with the former child star in 1992’s “Radio Flyer,” reunited with the actor in one of his last films completed before his passing, “Living Among Us.” Not only did Nicholas star in it, but he also served as producer.
“He’s such a talented actor,” the 37-year-old told Fox News. “We were so happy to have him be a part of the film and we were so saddened to hear of his passing. We dedicated the film to his memory and we want people to see how good he was.”
“Living Among Us,” which was released last month, tells the story of how a team of filmmakers have discovered a group of vampires willing to coexist with humans with frightening results. It also stars Esme Bianco from “Game of Thrones,” William Sadler of “The Shawshank Redemption” and Andrew Keegan, among others.
Nicholas said he was in awe of Heard’s energy.
“His agent gave him the wrong start day,” he recalled. “So that morning, there was no John… We were trying to figure out where he was. Two hours go by and I called John on his cell.
"Luckily, he was really close to the set. So he made it there and got right to work. He sat through the scene and nailed it on the first take. I just couldn’t believe it. I would be so stressed out if I was late to work and had the wrong day. But he was just a pro. He just made it work. He just sat right into the role and nailed it.”
Nicholas insisted watching Heard at work only further inspired him as an actor. The father of two keeps busy juggling numerous roles, including writing, playing music with his band, developing stories behind the cameras and acting.
“I love being creative and that’s my driving force,” he explained. “I do whatever I can to stay in that creation space, whether it’s acting or producing or writing or playing music. I guess I’m just trying to be a modern-day Renaissance man. I love the process of creation and I really love entertaining people.
"The driving force is that I get to do something that’s really fun and entertain other people. And for me, entertaining people is the safest form of escape. You don’t get any hangovers from entertainment unless you binge watch too much TV.”
Nicholas, who first appeared on a guest role in the hit ‘80s series “Who’s the Boss?” also said his mother kept a watchful eye over him in Hollywood, allowing the former child star to maintain a steady career over the years.
“I think I owe a lot of credit to my mom, first and foremost,” he explained. “She was definitely the grounding force in my life and career. [She] never let me get to the point where I would take myself too seriously or let me have a big ego. Life was pretty normal outside of what I was doing. I always saw it as two separate things.
"And creating is such a great outlet to express yourself and get out any of those antsy thoughts you have as you’re growing up. I think some people express themselves by getting involved in the wrong things. And not to say I’m perfect by any means. Everyone’s human, but I think creation and expressing myself has kept me sane through the ups and downs of my career.”
Nicholas also found lasting success with the popular “American Pie” film franchise. The comedy premiered in 1999 and it led to three more movies.
“I guess the most surprising thing that people are always mystified about is that through all the course of making these teen sex comedies that no one in the main cast ever hooked up outside of what we did on screen," he revealed. "People find that surprising.”
Nicholas added that not only has the cast stayed in touch over the years since “American Reunion” came out in 2012, but the idea for a new film has been in the works.
“The fifth ‘American Pie’ has been written and as far as I know has been sitting on a shelf in Universal collecting dust for the last five years,” he said. “… I’m not really where that stands. There’s been a lot of rumors online. Some fans have started Twitter pages called ‘American Vacation,’ pretending that it’s happening. I haven’t heard anything.
"I was the first one to agree to do ‘American Reunion.’ I remember [writer] Adam Herz, we were talking at a sushi restaurant in 2009. He was like, ‘Hey, what do you think of this idea about doing a reunion? I was like, ‘Count me in… Good luck coordinating everyone’s schedules.’ Sure enough, it took about three years.”
Another film Nicholas gets recognized for is 1993’s “Rookie of the Year,” which also starred Gary Busey. The movie tells the story of how a young boy is miraculously granted a powerful pitching arm and quickly becomes an unlikely major league pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.
“Gary was interesting,” he recalled. “He’s very high energy. He was very nice to me on the set. So I didn’t see how he treated some other people. But he was very nice to me. One time, he carried me by my underwear 25 feet across the lunchroom. But remember, he was the nicest guy to me (laughs)… I think he’s amazing in the film.”
These days, Nicholas has plenty on his plate as a hands-on father.
“I was recently texting Jason Biggs because he just had his second child and I was like, ‘Welcome to the club of two kids,’” he said.