'Raising Arizona' Child Actor on 'Surreal' Film with Nicolas Cage, Holly Hunter (Video)
T.J. Kuhn, now a real estate agent in Phoenix, shared how a motorcycle helped him get the gig and why the film is still his father's most popular holiday gift.
Today caught up with T.J. Kuhn, the child actor who played Nathan Arizona Jr. in the Coen brothers' 1987 cult comedy classic Raising Arizona. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter as a couple struggling with fertility issues who go on the run from the law — and a particularly frightening bounty hunter — after they kidnap a baby.
Kuhn told Today on Wednesday that he was only a year old when he was featured in the film. "It's surreal to sit here and watch," he said of the footage, while his mother recalled, "He was just so laid back — I think during the auditions, he just didn't care. They passed him all around!"
Kuhn's father first heard about the opportunity while working at a jail and spotting the ad in the newspaper. "I thought it'd be a fun thing to do, to take him to the interview," he said, as they noted that the casting process included putting baby Kuhn alongside a motorcycle to see how he'd react.
Kuhn's acting career has long since ended. Shortly after completing the film he did two commercials, but he's now a real estate agent in Phoenix. But his father still gives out copies of Raising Arizona as gifts. "I've even had [my son] sign a couple of copies!" he said.
The Today segment follows the morning show's catch-up with Kristina and Michelle Kennedy, the twins who rotated in as Elizabeth Wiatt in the Charles Shyer's 1987 film Baby Boom, with Diane Keaton, Sam Shepard and Harold Ramis; and twins Lisa Blair and Michelle Blair Ontonovich, who played Mary in Leonard Nimoy's 1987 hit, 3 Men and a Baby, starring Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck.
Watch the video below.