Jonathan Taylor Thomas left TV's "Home Improvement" to focus on school, but his fans can catch his familiar, family-oriented comedy skills in the Disney movie "I'll Be Home for Christmas." For a switch, though, the 17-year-old also took an unfamiliar casting as a tough street kid in "Speedway Junkie," a gritty indie coming next year with Gus Van Sant as executive producer.
MOVIN' ON: "It's not easy to walk away from a place you've been for almost eight years of your life--and eight impressionable years. This is my junior year of high school, the big year colleges look at, and I've got three Advanced Placement classes. I have to be a student and can't work 65 hours a week as well."
GROWIN' UP: "What I'm choosing to do as an actor is in flux. I have to be more selective, and at 17 I want to do more adult material. That's where the good roles are. 'Speedway Junkie' gave me an opportunity to show people I can do other things, and was a real eye-opener for me."
FORMER CHILD STAR: "I like Ron Howard as a person and like what he's done--good choices he's made in his life. I've followed what he's done, and Jodie Foster as well. Would love to work with either of them."