Steven Spielberg's actor son Sawyer has dropped his dad's famous surname ahead of his New York stage debut so theatregoers won't be put off by his celebrity.
Sawyer Avery Spielberg, the Jaws filmmaker's 20-year-old son with actress wife Kate Capshaw, is set to star in dark comedy Belgrade Trilogy at the 4th Street Theater in Manhattan's East Village on Friday (07Sep12), but the aspiring actor has chosen to axe his last name from the playbill in order to pave his own path in showbusiness.
He tells the New York Post, "It was a very conscious decision. I wanted to tell my own story and have my own little journey and my own little adventure. Sometimes the last name can be a little bit distracting."
And Sawyer insists his parents won't be offended: "No matter if I'm Sawyer Avery or Joe Schmidt or whatever my name is, my dad will always be a big part of my life. It is a big name and there will be a lot of noise around it. But as long as I stay focused, I can handle it. They've always been very open to all my decisions, all my choices and I'm very thankful. It's been a gift."
But, despite distancing himself from the family brand, he does hope to follow in his father's Hollywood footsteps by taking an intensive screenwriting course in Manhattan once his stage show wraps on 22 September (12).
He adds, "My goal isn't to be a movie star. That just seems like a lot of anxiety. That just seems like a lot of pressure."