Jack From Hook Is Unrecognizable Today

What started as a simple plan to get his hands on a video game system turned into a full-on Hollywood career. Starring in a handful of beloved films throughout the '90s, alongside A-listers such as Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Madonna, and Robin Williams, Charlie Korsmo made a name for himself in the industry at an early age. "As I recall, I mostly wanted to get out of school and make enough money to buy a Nintendo," he told Case Western Reserve University. "I never saw acting as a lifelong career ambition."

After he played Jack in 1991's "Hook," Korsmo stepped away from acting for almost a decade. He would eventually return, but it wouldn't stick. Rather, the former child star grew up and followed a much different path, and put his faith, trust, and pixie dust into pursuing an education. Now a holder of multiple college degrees, published author, and professor, Charlie Korsmo continues to wow those who know him with his renowned accomplishments.

Korsmo, whose other notable credits include "Dick Tracy," "What About Bob?," and "Can't Hardly Wait," figured out early on that the acting thing just wasn't for him. Here's what he's been up to since you last saw him on the silver screen. 

Early in his career, Charlie Korsmo was ready to leave Hollywood

Shortly after his career took off, Charlie Korsmo wanted to go back to school. "After 'Hook,' that was my last movie as a kid, we really had a sort of choice to make," Korsmo told People in 2018. "But I hadn't been in school for a few years. I suddenly found I didn't really have friends my own age anymore." In a separate chat with The Plain Dealer, he remembered being more than ready for a break from show biz. "I was tired of the grind and wanted to go back to school," he said. 

Evidently, Hollywood wasn't as eager to part ways with the young star. As Korsmo told Sixth City Marketing Society, his acting career happened to be going well when he decided to step away. "I still had a lot of offers at that point to keep doing things," he said. "I was like, let's just not do it and go to high school like a regular high school kid." Clearly, he took to academia like a duck to water. 

After he graduated from high school, Korsmo headed to college. "If I hadn't had the money I made from movies to pay for college, I might have been forced to just go wherever I could get a football scholarship," Korsmo told Chambers Associate. He also acknowledged that his past as a child actor has probably helped him stand out among other applicants over the years.

The former child actor studied physics at MIT

When it was time for higher education, Charlie Korsmo went on to study physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "I went to college, maybe didn't think it through all that much, but I got a science degree. I majored in physics not necessarily having a real grand plan of what I was going to do with that," he explained in an interview with Sixth City Marketing Society. In a separate interview with The Plain Dealer, the "What About Bob?" actor also quipped that the science degree gave him "credibility." "I feel I need to overcome some preconceptions when people find out I was a child actor," he added. 

However, it was also during his time at MIT that he dipped his toe back into acting, and accepted what would become one of his favorite roles when looking back on his Hollywood career. Driven by the desire to step away from school once more, Korsmo reached out and reunited with his old agent. He quickly landed the role of William Lichter in the 1998 film "Can't Hardly Wait," starring alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt and Seth Green. And by all accounts, he didn't regret this brief return to Hollywood. "I had the most fun doing 'Can't Hardly Wait,'" Korsmo dished to Case Western Reserve University. "It's more fun to make movies when you're 19 than when you're 10." 

After MIT, Charlie Korsmo went to Yale to study law

Following his graduation from MIT, Charlie Korsmo moved to Washington D.C., where he thought he would put his degree to use and get a job within the science realm. Instead, the former child star took on a number of jobs within public policy, and he soon concluded that a law degree would help him excel in that path. His time in the nation's capital was formative, to say the least — but no, he's not interested in becoming an elected official one day. As he joked to The Bemidji Pioneer, "I think working and living in Washington for a couple years cured me of ever wanting to do that again."

After D.C., Charlie headed to Yale Law School, where he would actually end up meeting his wife, Adrienne Korsmo. He graduated in 2006. The pair moved to New York City after he earned his law degree, and Charlie would pass the New York Bar exam in 2007.

After law school, he spent time working for a 2nd Circuit Court judge. He also was an associate for Sullivan & Cromwell for a few years, and he genuinely enjoyed the time that he spent taking on this role. When asked by Chambers Associate what he expected from a career in law, Charlie lightly responded, "Flexibility, more than anything, which has worked out nicely. That, and gouts of cash, which hasn't worked out as well."

Becoming a husband brought about a pivotal career change

Shortly after Charlie Korsmo married Adrienne Korsmo, talk about starting a family began. With the idea of having children on the horizon, the lawyer took a step back to analyze his current position, and realized that being a lawyer in New York City would not be the most conducive to the life he was looking to create. "If you've seen 'Hook' you know my father in 'Hook,' Robin Williams, is a corporate lawyer. That is an accurate depiction of what a corporate lawyer's life is. You never see your family, you're working 3,000 hours a year, and I really didn't want to do that," Charlie explained to YouTuber Sienna Boccio.

With the advice from a friend, Charlie decided to try his hand at a position in the academic world, as this type of job would allow for more flexibility than that of a lawyer. "A good friend of mine who had been through sort of the same last part of that journey, from law school to law firm to having a family, had just gotten a position as an academic and was like 'You've gotta try this,'" Charlie recalled to Sixth City Marketing Society. He began teaching at Brooklyn Law School as a visiting assistant professor, where he realized that this was in fact the career he wished to pursue. Not only that, but the profession meshed quite well with his job as a new father, giving him more time to spend with his wife and two children at home. 

Charlie Korsmo became a professor of law

In 2011, Charlie Korsmo began working at Case Western Reserve University, and became a full-time law professor shortly after his arrival. In an interview for the university's website, he broke down why he chose the school: "[B]ecause of its excellent national reputation, because of the city, which has been fantastic, and — most importantly — because of the extremely welcoming and engaged members of the faculty." While most of his time spent on campus is dedicated to teaching courses in corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance and torts, Korsmo still showcases his fondness for performance and the arts. The professor sings and plays keyboard for a faculty-student band that's fittingly named Raising the Bar.

In addition to being a well-respected law professor, Korsmo also a published law scholar. Since beginning his job, his work has been featured in the Iowa Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, just to name a few. With such an impressive resume, it is no wonder many aspiring lawyers look to Korsmo as a guide.

The "Can't Hardly Wait" actor's advice to his students is pretty plain and simple. In an interview with Chambers Associate, Korsmo shared the statement he would give to those trying to enter the legal profession: "Don't panic. Always surprisingly sound advice."

He was nervous about his first teaching job

Upon entering his very first year teaching at Case Western Reserve University, Charlie Korsmo was nervous that his students may recognize him from his work on the big screen. The former actor wanted to create a new and fresh image for himself, but it was not long before a few students recognized his familiar face. "I remember my first student evaluations, one person had said he never addressed the elephant in the room. I'm going in there for the first time to teach a class and I'm like, I hope nobody brings up 'Can't Hardly Wait,'" Korsmo told Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC.

Year after year, the number of students who had seen one of Korsmo's films slowly dwindled, and this was something that the professor did not mind one bit. There are even some students, at this point in his career, who have never even heard of the movies he was in, so he is more or less able to blend in as a regular instructor with zero questions asked. "For the first time, I'm starting to see a generation of students who didn't really grow up with those movies," he told WKYC. "They're starting to be too young for 'Hook' to have been a movie they saw as kids." Korsmo went on to explain that even if one's wheels started turning as to where they may have seen him before, the thought suddenly leaves their minds after a discussion about corporate finance.

President Barack Obama nominated him for a key administrative post

In the same year that Charlie Korsmo began working at Case Western Reserve University, President Barack Obama announced the list of individuals he wished to nominate for key administration roles. It was then that Korsmo was assigned to the Board of Trustees for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, an honor that the professor accepted with extremely open arms. This scholarship, initially created to honor the work of Senator Barry Goldwater, is awarded to college sophomores and juniors who aspire to hold careers within the fields of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Time magazine caught wind of this accomplishment, and the following year, the outlet included the "Hook" alum in a roundup of "Wicked Smart Actors."

Although such an achievement would hold the top spot for many throughout their lifetime, Korsmo considers his greatest win to be that of his wonderful family. "Now that I have a beautiful wife and [kids], it's hard to take other 'achievements' all that seriously," he told Chambers Associate. Korsmo then went on to explain that he has no regrets about his career, despite the many unexpected twists and turns he experienced throughout his journey.

Charlie Korsmo returned to the silver screen once again in 2018

Although it had been 20 years since the professor accepted an acting role, Charlie Korsmo could not help but agree to star in the independent film titled "Chained for Life" in 2018. It just so happens that the film's writer and director, Aaron Schimberg, is actually an old friend of Korsmo's, so the idea of reconnecting was definitely part of the draw for the former childhood star. "He called me out of the blue and told me he had a part for me," Korsmo told CWRU'S The Daily. "The last time I worked with Aaron, we were in school in Minneapolis and he was directing a high school play." The film, which debuted at the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque, was well received by those who had the chance to view it. Touching upon themes such as beauty and disabilities, the movie was dubbed "bizarre and beautiful" by The Hollywood Reporter.

While Korsmo enjoyed playing the role of Herr Director in "Chained for Life," the professor does not plan on parting ways with his career in academia any time soon. Rather, he simply views acting as a creative outlet in his life, which is why he is open to accepting roles every now and then as they come — as long as they're a good fit and don't require too much compromise on his end. "I don't see myself giving up anything to do it," Korsmo said to The Daily. 

Charlie Korsmo is happy with the path he chose

Looking back at his journey and the choices that he ultimately made, Charlie Korsmo is quite pleased with his decision to more or less leave Hollywood behind. He not only feels very lucky that his life as a child star did not negatively affect his adult life, but he is grateful that he was given the chance to do things on his own terms. "I'm happy with the way things turned out. I quit at the right time. Every few months, someone will send me some article on the internet where I'm always the counterexample to all the former child stars who are in rehab at this point. So yeah, I was very fortunate," Korsmo told WKYC in 2019.

While acting opposite some of the greatest actors of an era certainly sounds like the best gig, the showbiz life isn't for everyone. According to Korsmo, working as a professor at Case Western Reserve University is his favorite job ever. "Not only do I continually get to work with young people, which is constantly refreshing," he told Sixth City Marketing Society. "I also have the freedom to work on and delve into topics that I'm interested in." However, if he was given the chance to go down a different path in another life, Korsmo explains that he would either pursue a career in the military or tech. "Whatever it is that Mark Zuckerberg fellow does... he seems to do quite well for himself," he said.

Fans still ask Charlie Korsmo for his autograph

While Charlie Korsmo has lost touch with many of his Hollywood friends and connections over the years, he can still be found exchanging mail with one of America's greatest film directors. "I still exchange Christmas cards with Steven Spielberg," Korsmo told People. "But other than that I have trouble keeping in touch with my own family let alone people I worked with back then."

Looking back on his relatively short but impressive stint in Tinseltown, Korsmo's memories of his former costars are only positive. "I never had a bad experience on a movie," he told The Plain Dealer in 2014. "You hear stories about Warren Beatty or Bill Murray. But everyone was very nice to me."

Korsmo continues to receive fanmail to this very day, and is asked to sign trading cards from some of his most popular movies. The "Dick Tracy" and "Hook" cards usually come with a sweet handwritten letter, reminding the actor how important he was to the childhood's of so many. However, Korsmo has come to find that much of his signed memorabilia ends up on eBay, a piece of information that the former actor takes lightly. In addition to still receiving royalty checks from "Can't Hardly Wait," Korsmo jokes that he should start selling his autographed items for less than the going price. "The going rate seems to be around $10, so I'm thinking of flooding the market by offering them for eight bucks," he told Case Western Reserve University. A savvy guy, to say the least.