Article "Showbiz Kids - Child's Play".

Labor laws and growth spurts make working with underage performers a challenge, but for film producers with a creative vision, the experience is worth their while.

Erik Per Sullivan, 14, ‘Malcolm in the Middle’

Years acting: 9

Hometown: Franklin, Mass.

First acting job: 1999’s “The Cider House Rules.”
“That was really fun (on two counts): the acting itself and working
with a Swedish director (Lasse Halström), who directed me in Swedish. I speak the language because my mom is Swedish.”

Most important lesson learned on the  “Malcolm” set:
“It’s really important to achieve a balance of taking your job seriously and having fun with it. I haven’t found that balance — I have way too much fun with it.”

Why he likes his character:
“Dewey is fun to play. He has a mischievous side but still plays it cool in front of the parents.”

Funniest moment on the “Malcolm” set:
“A crew member gave me a Nerf Bazooka, and because it was so fun, (executive producer) Linwood Boomer got a bunch more. There was about a week of serious battles, but there were residual skirmishes for months after.”

Next project:
“I have a short independent film called ‘Once Not Far From Home’ that I did last summer. It’s in film festivals throughout the country.”

Riding his dirt bike, skiiing, playing on the “Malcolm” softball team

On schooling:
“My schooling usually takes place on the set, but when I’m back in Massachusetts, I go to Mount Saint Charles Academy.”

On juggling work and school:
“I really enjoy it because it keeps me constantly busy. That’s a good thing, since I get restless pretty easily.”

In 20 years:
“I will have finished college. I could envision myself running for public office ... maybe for president!