Not too many people can list actors Richard Gere, Cameron Diaz or Kevin James as co-workers. But 13-year-old Kevin DeCoste from Hull can.

Not too many people can list actors Richard Gere, Cameron Diaz or Kevin James as co-workers. But 13-year-old Kevin DeCoste from Hull can.

While Kevin is one of many in a crowded scene in James’ "Paul Blart: Mall Cop'' opening Friday, he has a more substantial role in this spring’s "Hachiko: A Dog’s Story,'' starring Joan Allen and Richard Gere. In the movie Kevin plays Gere’s nephew.

"He’s a great person and he gave me some great advice about acting,'' Kevin said. "He mainly told me to be a kid and try to live out my years as an adolescent the best I can. And to stop acting if it’s no longer fun.''

Kevin’s first film job in 2006 was as an extra in the Steve Carell flick "Dan in Real Life.''

"Steve Carell is one of the funniest actors today,'' Kevin said. "He’s the first Hollywood actor I met and he was very nice to me.''

Kevin said he auditioned with more than 1,000 other children and made it to the final 19. He earned a bit-part as an extra.

Another upcoming movie Kevin is in is the locally-shot "The Box,'' starring Cameron Diaz and directed by Richard Kelly. "Cameron Diaz was the first actress I had a speaking scene with and she was very nice,'' Kevin said. "In between takes we all sat in the house where we were filming and just chatted, which was pretty cool.''

This November, Kevin can also be seen in Mel Gibson’s "Edge Of Darkness.''

Kevin said the most fun about a movie shoot is the famous people one gets to meet, but he’s also quite mature about the movie making process. "A typical day on the set involves lots of waiting around for stuff to happen. Movies are definitely a hurry-up-and-wait business,'' Kevin said.

So how does a 13-year-old prepare for his big moment under the bright lights?

"Most of my training has been geared toward film work,'' he says. "There have been two teachers that influenced me. The first is Maura Tighe of Maura Tighe Casting. Maura was my first acting teacher and her class helped me with my auditioning skills. The second is Jennifer Salvucci of the Media Performance Center. I have taken two improv classes with her and they both were great.''

''With the sudden rush of projects and attention it might be tough to just be a regular kid, so Kevin’s mother Anne DeCoste keeps him together.

"The most important challenge is keeping Kevin focused on his academics,'' Anne said. "We want Kevin to know he is still just a kid. He should have a fun childhood and needs all the experiences he can get but we strive to keep him grounded.''

Kevin said his favorite movie stars are Johnny Depp and Jimmy Stewart.

Kevin also enjoys politics, TV and radio broadcasting. "I’d love to grow up and be the next Stephen Colbert…''

In several years he wants to work toward a college degree in biology.

So does he have any time to offer advice to other teenagers interested in going into acting? "Be able to take rejection well. There are a lot of things that go into getting a role that are out of the actor’s control, so don’t get discouraged and keep your talents sharp.''

Anne DeCoste agrees that parents of aspiring actors and actresses need to be aware of the realities as well. "Be prepared for rejection because it comes often,'' she said. "Treat every audition as if it were a raffle because there are so many variables that go into being cast. But keep trying as long as your child loves what they are doing.''

The Patriot Ledger