Two recent television ads are helping a former Passyunk Square resident to further his acting career.
Like any 10-year-old, Jaeden Lieberher loves being lively. Unlike most of his peers, though, the former resident of the 1200 block of South Clarion Street shows off his penchant for activity before millions of eyes.
With starring duties in two recent commercials, including a Super Bowl advertisement, and a key role in an upcoming film, the energetic youngster is gunning for acting glory, with preliminary plans for gaining directing distinction complementing his ambition.
“Acting is very fun so I intend to see what comes out of it,” the boy said last week from Los Angeles, where he has lived for two years. “I remember being nervous when I started, but I think I’ve adjusted well.”
The one-time Passyunk Square dweller had not entertained a career as a thespian during his East Coast residence, which ended when his culinary-inclined father, Wes Lieberher, landed an opportunity to operate a Golden State-situated food truck. Extended family prompted Jaeden to explore acting and with five commercial assignments, one music video shoot and one movie endeavor as résumé boosters, he has evolved from a thrilled viewer of screen creations, especially comedies and action films, to an ecstatic participant.
“I’ve been acting for a year, and I like that it gives me chances to meet people and be creative,” the grateful performer said.
While the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers desired to emerge victorious in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, with the former prevailing, Jaeden hoped many of the game’s 108-million watchers would consider buying a Hyundai Santa Fe. He landed the commercial’s lead, that of a courageous individual whose mother drives him around to secure teammates for a football game against bullies, shortly before Christmas, windfall that caused the cancellation of a trip to Philadelphia. He and his actual matriarch had not initially known the clip would become part of the pigskin pageantry, and though he enjoyed its construction, he deemed the anticipation surrounding its airing “nerve-racking.”
“Everyone was so happy and screaming when it came on,” he said of his well-received gig. “I like football so it was great to have some kind of role in everything.”
The director behind the Los Angeles-set promotional material tabbed Jaeden soon after the championship to play a science enthusiast for a Verizon FiOS segment. Venturing to New York City, he found the booking especially exciting since the commercial has him transforming into the titular character from May’s “Iron Man 3.” It began airing last month and marks the first of a two-part appeal to his superhero sensitivities. The second will come sometime this year with the release of “A Many Splintered Thing,” which will feature Chris Evans, who has played the Human Torch in “The Fantastic Four” franchise and Captain America in “The Avengers” series, as an often dejected pursuer of love. Cast as the 6-year-old version of the main character, Jaeden has a somewhat dark role, although his preparation caused little drama.
“I didn’t feel any added pressure,” he said of completing his three scenes. “I’m looking forward to seeing it, too.”
Determined to follow in the footsteps of Leonardo DiCaprio, his favorite actor, the ambitious fourth-grader also wishes to be a renowned director and has prepped for the latter vocation by shooting videos with his iPad.
“I have been in front of the camera, so I feel I could do a great job behind it,” he said.
When Jaeden called South Philly home, he possessed a similar appreciation for his opportunities, with athletics topping his preferences. He honed interests in baseball and soccer through involvement with the Philadelphia Youth Organization centered at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center, 744 S. 17th St., and joined the South-of-South site’s Anderson Monarchs Baseball Club at 5.
“I was so happy being a Monarch,” he said of his three-year tenure, with his primary duties as a left and right fielder and a reliable right-handed lineup member. “Whenever we traveled, I really felt like a professional.”
Yet to find a California club because of his busy audition schedule, he often recollects on his time with the local squad, particularly esteeming a Halloween game when coach Steve Bandura had his charges don costumes, with Jaeden opting for a mummy wrap. An avid sports fan, he maintains an allegiance to the Phillies, whom he hopes will rebound from last season’s mixed results, by wearing a cap most days and believes the Eagles will one day claim the Super Bowl trophy but not with quarterback Michael Vick at the helm.
“We’ve been there twice but haven’t won, and I don’t think he’s the guy who’ll help us,” Jaeden said.
He makes return adventures to Philadelphia twice a year and eagerly reunites with friends to recollect.
“Parks are among what we miss the most,” his mother, Angie Martell, said of sojourns to such places as Capitolo Playground, 900 Federal St., and Palumbo Recreation Center, 700 S. Ninth St. “Cheesesteaks, too.”
“I miss the weather, including the snow,” her son added.
With more auditions and ever-growing directorial confidence, Jaeden anticipates a prosperous future teeming with fun and gratitude for his gifts.
“I like what I’m doing,” he said, “so I just want to keep growing and become better.”
Contact Staff Writer Joseph Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 124.
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