90s | Movies | Pop Culture
21 Years Ago He Starred In "James and the Giant Peach," But Is Life Still Peachy For Paul Terry?
It took casting directors more time than they'd probably like to admit to find the perfect boy to portray James Henry Trotter in Disney's live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach."
After a lengthy audition process, they chose 10-year-old Paul Terry from 500 child actors, to play the role of the English orphan who finds his way into a giant magical peach in an attempt to escape his horrible aunts, Sponge and Spiker. He meets a group of life-size insects, and they all embark on an adventure towards New York City.
Terry's father, Mark, was the one who first heard about the casting call in 1994, and persuaded his son to try out. "Like James, Paul can act like a little boy lost," Mark told People.
James and the Giant Peach, produced by Tim Burton, was released in 1996, and combined live-action and stop motion animation to tell the story that captured the hearts of children and adults everywhere. At the time, it was hands down one of the coolest looking Disney movies made.
Terry's impressive silver screen debut (the role required acting, voice-work and singing) had people hoping he'd go from being a child star to a successful actor as an adult, but it appears as though he never found his footing in the industry.
While his co-stars, including Richard Dreyfuss (Centipede), Jane Leeves (Ladybug), Susan Sarandon (Miss Spider), Simon Callow (Grasshopper), and David Thewlis (Earthworm), went on to establish careers in Hollywood, and appear in a number of award-winning films, Terry eventually left the acting world.
So what has he been up to since his peachy adventure ended?
Terry's performance in James and the Peach earned him a nomination for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Voiceover. Unfortunately, he did not win, but his popularity helped find more work.
At 13, he landed a role in the BBC and Disney-produced children's sitcom Microsoap. Terry starred on the BAFTA award-winning show as Joe from 1998 until the series finale aired in 2000.
Once the show ended, Terry decided to leave acting behind, and pursue other interests. He joined an indie band named Glassapple in the 2000s as a bass guitarist. The group toured mostly performed in London, U.K., but they toured around the U.S. at one point. In 2005, they released an EP featuring three tracks.
Terry also obtained a master's degree in civil engineering from Cardiff University, and worked for a company called BAE Systems.
These days, 32-year-old Terry is living in County Durham in northeast England. He has remained out of the spotlight and has not given any interviews in years, but he is reportedly working as a novelist and mathematics teacher at Discovery School Newcastle Upon-Tyne.