SEABROOK — Five-year-old Jackson Nicoll's mother, April, always thought he was a special child, but after all, he is her son. But movie-goers will soon be able to judge for themselves how cute the tiny tyke is, because he landed the role as Christian Bale's son in the Mark Wahlberg movie "The Fighter," currently filming in Lowell.
This is Jackson's first acting job, and the entire experience has been a whirlwind, ending up with Jackson's first filming day yesterday, Nicoll said. But it's the first of many days on the set for Nicoll and her son.
"He wraps up filming on Aug. 26, and he'll be filming every day," Nicoll said. "We still can't believe this has happened."
The blond-haired, hazel-eyed boy has been modeling for a while, after Nicoll and her husband, Mike, took the advice of many.
"Of course we thought he was a cute and remarkable child, but we're his parents," Nicoll said. "But people kept telling me how adorable he is, and how personable and smart. They told me he should be a model, so I eventually took the suggestion."
Jackson is a model with Boston Casting and has been in a number of ads, including one for Blue Cross Blue Shield. But it was a modeling job Jackson didn't get for Stride Rite children's shoes that led to his first sojourn into acting.
"We were at the Stride Rite call, and they didn't want to use Jackson because they said he was too edgy. He has spiked blond hair, and Stride Rite's a little preppy," Nicoll said. "But a person there suggested we take him to the audition for the movie. She said there had probably been loads of kids there, but that Jackson might be right for that role."
The Nicolls got involved at the last minute. The second week in June, Jackson went to the casting call in Allston.
"There were tons of kids there, all practicing for the audition, and Jackson was just sitting there calmly waiting," Nicoll said. "But he did well at the auditions. He wasn't shy but outgoing, and he can remember his lines, so he kept getting called back for the next audition. There were four altogether, and finally it was narrowed down to three children. We learned he got the part on June 24."
Jackson traveled to the set on Tuesday for a wardrobe call and to meet his movie father, Christian Bale.
"You should have seen my son with Christian Bale," Nicoll said. "I'm the one who was tongue-tied. Jackson was talking to him like he was one of his playmates. They got along great."
Nicoll has to be on the set every day with Jackson and has put her job on hold until the movie wraps, but it's worth it, she said.
"Jackson loves it, but he's cool, grounded and unaware of what a big deal this is," Nicoll said. "And he's getting SAG (Screen Actors Guild) rates and getting well paid. I'll let him spend a little of it to buy a few things he wants, but the rest is getting put away for his education."
As excited as everyone in the family is about Jackson's new gig, his 8-year-old sister, Jayden, hasn't been bitten by the acting bug.
"She told me I wasn't allowed to sign her up for acting," Nicoll said. "But she's proud of her brother."