Though his earliest roles ranged from that of a young Hugh Hefner (Hefner: Unauthorized ) to a pre-psychotic serial killer (he was Vincent D'Onifrio's sympathetic younger counterpart in The Cell ), Jake Thomas faced his biggest challenge to date in the role of a sickly son who was temporarily replaced by an android longing to learn and love in director Steven Spielberg's A.I. (2001). Born in Knoxville, TN, in January 1990, to a radio personality father and a television reporter mother, Thomas got an unexpected break in show business after his parents relocated to Los Angeles to seek new career paths. Wandering off to the youth-division area as his mother dropped off her headshots for her agent, Thomas attracted the attention of another agent who promptly signed him, soon landing the youngster in his first national commercial. After guest shots on such popular television shows as Touched By an Angel and 3rd Rock From the Sun, as well as his appearance in Hefner: Unauthorized, Thomas made his feature debut in The Cell before landing a role on the imaginative television series Lizzie McGuire. Remaining optimistic and well grounded regarding his big-screen turn, Thomas said that though he hopes to carry a film like A.I. co-star Haley Joel Osment some day, he plans on working up to that goal slowly.