7-year-old to play young Keanu in film
by Michelle Mullins
Darkening Nickolas Loquercio's [sic - Loquercico, and here's a photo] hair was all it took to transform him into a young Keanu Reeves.The Palos Heights 7-year-old doesn't just have the star-quality looks to pass as a boyish Reeves in a movie filming in the Southland. He's also talkative, energetic, funny and smart — everything it takes to be a successful child actor.
"He already thinks he's a movie star," his mom, Kari Loquercio, joked.
Nickolas will be featured in Reeves' upcoming movie, "Il Mare," playing Reeves' character as a boy.
The movie, a remake of a Korean movie, stars Reeves as an architect and Sandra Bullock as a doctor. They begin exchanging love letters but soon discover they are living two years apart in the time-traveling romance.
Some of the movie is being filmed at Maple Lake near Willow Springs, where a large house has been built on the lake's southern shore for the film. Nickolas filmed his part in the movie in two days last month at the Cook County Forest Preserve District lake.
Nickolas said he was not nervous at all during his first movie role, describing the experience as "very fun" and "very exciting."
"I'm going to see myself on TV," he said. "I told my friends. They thought it was amazing."
Nickolas' mom, who accompanied her son to the movie set southwest of 95th Street and Willow Springs Road, said she was awestruck by the experience. More than 200 people were on the bustling set, which had many trailers and an impressive array of cameras and filmmaking equipment — even a phenomenal catered buffet, Kari Loquercio said.
"He got to sit in a trailer," she said of Nickolas. "Everyone was very nice to him. He was treated like a star all day. It was a very positive experience for Nickolas. He's so proud of himself."
Nickolas' rise to stardom began when he was 5 years old. While shopping at Chicago Ridge Mall, he asked his mom if he could enter the New Star Discovery competition that was being held there. New Star Discovery sponsors "beautiful baby" contests for newborns and children up to age 6 throughout the country.
Nickolas won the 5- and 6-year-old division of the regional and state contests, before finishing fourth nationally. He signed with talent agents, who quickly found modeling work for him, and he will soon be featured in upcoming math and music textbooks, Loquercio said.
Nickolas didn't audition for "Il Mare" but was chosen after his agent showed his pictures and resume to Warner Bros. executives.
While Nickolas' role is not a speaking part, his role is important to the story line and flashback scenes, according to his agent, Susan Sherman, with Ambassador Talent Agents Inc., Chicago.
"It's very relevant to the movie," she said. "It's a glimpse of Keanu early in his life."
Sherman said Nickolas acts very professional for his age.
"He's very adaptable," she said. "He's open to new opportunities and that makes him exemplary."
Loquercio said she doesn't know if her son's part will wind up on the cutting room floor.
"We're really looking forward to see how big or how small the part is," she said. "Nonetheless, it was extremely exciting."
Loquercio said she never would have thought to enter her son in the beauty contest if it wasn't his idea. And as long as he's interested in modeling and acting, she will support him, she said.
A first-grade student at Chippewa Elementary School, Nickolas gets straight A's, plays baseball, likes to read and participates in school math competitions.
"Nickolas has such a great personality," his mom said. "He always said he wanted to be on TV. This is all his ambition."