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As second movie opens, local actor enjoys Hollywood scene

File Photo — Noah Lomax posses for a portrait with his family dog, Romeo.

File Photo — Noah Lomax posses for a portrait with his family dog, Romeo.

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Special Photo Noah Lomax, 11, second from left, will star in another feature film when "Safe Haven" is released on Thursday. Here, Lomax is pictured with castmates Mimi Kirkland, left, Josh Duhamel, and Julianne Hough.

SUWANEE -- As his second movie is released this week, Noah Lomax is now quite familiar with the Hollywood scene, how critics portray films and, most importantly, how much fun it can be to work on a set.

Two months after Lomax' first film, "Playing for Keeps," was released and received a largely lukewarm reception, the 11-year-old Suwanee resident isn't bothered by sub-par reviews and has come to enjoy the variety that a publicity tour brings.

"It was a really good experience, I took a lot of pictures," Lomax said of the "Playing for Keeps" premiere in New York. "There was a whole line of people to do interviews and pictures. It was awesome to do that."

Lomax was one of the few bright spots in critics' eyes about "Playing for Keeps," and plays a similar role in "Safe Haven," which opens on Thursday, as he stars alongside Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. In "Safe Haven," Lomax plays a kid who is angry that his mother just passed away when his father, Duhamel, begins dating a new woman, Hough.

The budding career of the child actor continues to be a family affair as his easy-going personality contrasts with his mother's "ball of nerves" reaction as Lomax is interviewed by media around the country, and opinions about his acting are published in national newspapers and entertainment magazines.

"We're just so excited," his mother, Michelle said. "The first time, it's like a new relationship, you don't know what to expect. He was as cool as a cucumber. I was a ball of nerves. That's the difference between kids and adults. Same thing with this. We get to do this, he's like, 'OK, cool.' Noah takes it in stride, I'm actually learning from him."

In a USA Today review of "Playing for Keeps," (which the paper gave one and a half stars) the headline read: "One reason to like 'Playing for Keeps': Noah Lomax, at 10, outshines his co-stars," which were Jessica Biel and Gerard Butler.

"To me, critics are just somebody else's opinion so I don't care about critics," Lomax said. "I heard everybody in the audience liked it. I don't really care about the critics. They would say bad things about the movie and they're just jealous because they're not in the movie."

Critics' opinion of his role surprised him, he said.

"It makes me feel good, really good, actually," he said. "I'm happy that they liked my role, that's awesome, and I'm proud of myself. Usually I'm used to it, but it was actually pretty cool. It actually really did surprise me."

Michelle said she and her husband stressed to their son that a review was simply one critic's opinion of the movie -- which comes out on DVD in early March -- and there was no need to tell him how many stars the movie received.

"I don't want to gauge his performance based on what other people feel about him," she said.

Since first appearing in a Walmart commercial, Lomax has also appeared in the Lifetime series "Army Wives," the ABC sitcom "The Middle," the AMC drama "The Walking Dead" and the CBS series "Mad Love."

While he hasn't landed another project, Lomax' next step is to audition during "pilot season" in Los Angeles through March for television shows and made-for-TV movies. His mother offers caution that the success rate in Hollywood is low, and not well-known. And while he won parts on two films, he's auditioned for at least 40 films, Michelle said.

"Our hope is he gets something in L.A.," Michelle said. "In this business there's no reward for second place. We're going to go out and try."

The Lomaxes have maintained their pledge not to split the family -- older sister and father -- apart for more than two weeks at a time, and after the upcoming auditions, Lomax will return home to prepare for Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests in the spring.

"In this business," Michelle said, "it's just finding the next job and he likes being on set."

As Lomax' Twitter bio reads, "Just a kid who loves to play football, be outside and with my family. If I am lucky enough then being on set doing what I love the most, acting!"