Charlie Korsmo, the 11-year-old from Minneapolis who plays the kid in "Dick Tracy," was hard to persuade to take the part--Warren Beatty didn't offer him enough money and, besides, he was tired from his previous movie role in "Men Don't Leave."
The boy first turned down the role when he was asked to play Junior.
This isn't some precocious Hollywood smart aleck with a coterie of agents and managers and a driven stage mother. Charlie lives in Minneapolis and spent much of his childhood in Fargo, N.D.
But he is bright. Very bright. He also knows the value of a buck.
Charlie is skinny and short for his age with a high, piping voice, big eyes and braces.
"They asked my mother to send Warren Beatty a videotape of me playing the kid. Then they wanted me to audition in Los Angeles. . . . That was in October of 1988. I was 9 and it was only two months after I finished 'Men Don't Leave' and I didn't want to do it. I wanted to take a break.
"So they left me alone until January (1989), a week before shooting began. They called and asked me to come to Los Angeles for a day to audition for Warren at his house."
Charlie's mother, Debbie, took over: "Warren's people kept telling us what a great opportunity 'Dick Tracy' was for Charlie. We weren't attuned to that, so it didn't matter.
"They also said, 'Well, Madonna is accepting such-and-such an amount of money, and that's why we're only offering you this amount.' Then Charlie said, 'Sure, Madonna makes $5 million a year. She can afford to work for nothing.'
"Charlie is the one who decides if he wants to work. He gets out his calculator and figures out scheduling of time and if the pay is what it should be."
Charlie enjoys acting, partly because it means he doesn't have to attend school, but he isn't bent on becoming a latter-day Jackie Cooper.
"I don't plan to be an actor when I'm an adult," he said. "I want to act while I'm growing up because I hate school. It's boring and a waste of time. Tutoring on the set is much better because I can go at my own speed."