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Catonsville 10-year-old makes TV debut in AMC's 'Feed the Beast'

Marylanders who watched the series premiere of AMC's "Feed the Beast" may have seen a familiar local face.

Ten-year-old Elijah Jacob of Catonsville made his television debut in the show, which stars David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess. The show premiered Sunday, June 5, and will regularly air Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on AMC.

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"Feed the Beast" is about two best friends, played by Schwimmer and Sturgess, who try to realize their dream of opening a restaurant.

Elijah plays the role of TJ Moran, the son of Schwimmer's character, Tommy Moran. TJ had witnessed the death of his mother in a hit-and-run accident; he frequently uses a sketch book to draw his memories of what happened to her, Elijah said. He appears in all 10 episodes of the first season, he said.

"He's just trying to basically get over it and move on with his life," he said. "But he can't because it was such a big hit on his life."

Acting is fairly new for the Westchester Elementary School fifth-grader. When he was 6, he started modeling, but by the time he was 9, he realized he wanted to change gears and give acting a try. He started by taking part in commercials. Most actors get their start that way, he said.

He likes the idea of playing roles he never would have been himself.

As he did commercials, he started auditioning for television shows. His agent and manager told him about the audition for the role of TJ Moran.

"I felt like I could play that role, and as an actor you want to be challenged in some things," he said. "I felt like that was my role where I could be challenged. My manager believed in me and my agent believed in me, and I just went for it and eventually I got it."

The show filmed from February to May in Queens, New York, Elijah said. He balanced his school and his job by having a tutor on set. And while he caught up in his schoolwork, being on set gave him a different kind of education.

Elijah described Schwimmer, whose resume includes "Friends" and "The People Vs. O.J. Simpson," as a mentor who helped him understand scenes and how he should be thinking. Sturgess, in addition to helping out Elijah, was someone he would joke around and hang out with — the veteran of such films as "Across the Universe" and "Cloud Atlas" taught him how to play guitar, a craft Elijah wants to continue learning, moving forward.

"It was the best first big experience on a TV show I could really ask for," he said. "Everybody was willing to help."

Elijah's mother, Carly Eutsler, accompanied him in New York and said he fit in well with the cast and crew.

Everyone on set "taught him so many things that no school in the world could teach him because he's learning firsthand as he's doing it," she said. "Just how kind they were to him and teaching a young actor and wanting him to succeed struck every chord with me."

When the show premiered, Elijah was satisfied with his performance.

"I like to watch myself act, but I'm a critic of myself," he said. "As the show went on I feel like I became a better actor, so I expect more of myself sometimes."

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The experience was one that inspired Elijah to continue acting. He had previously acted in a movie, "My First Miracle," which is about a teen girl who's battling a rare kind of cancer called myelodysplastic syndrome; it is expected to be released this year.

While strangers haven't recognized him just yet — friends and family certainly have, he said — he's excited to be in the spotlight and for whatever may come next in his acting career.

"I think that's going to be cool," he said. "I don't think I'm going to be that nervous about it."

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