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Stars come out for big ‘Little Boy’ premiere

Jakob Salvati, star of ‘Little Boy’
Jakob Salvati, star of ‘Little Boy’ Madeleine Marr

2015 is Eduardo Verastegui’s year.

In late March, the former telenovela star was in Miami to promote a costarring role in comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Tuesday night, he was walking the red carpet for faith-based indie Little Boy, out Friday.

“I know. It’s crazy — two movies back to back!” said Verastegui, who has a cameo as Father Crispi, who advises the title character, Pepper, played by Jakob Salvati.

Little Boy’s child star looked different from what you see on screen. Jakob, now 11, still had all his baby teeth when he stepped on the Mexican set at age 7.

Wearing a suit with a bow tie, he was all smiles.

“I was so psyched to be a part of this,” said the home-schooled sixth grader, adding that the trip wasn’t all work and no play. “I’m going to Jet Ski!”

Also looking different from his character was Verastegui.

“You won’t recognize me,” said the blue-eyed actor, who also shares producing credits with Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (Son of God). “My head is shaved. I wear glasses, the whole thing. You may recognize my accent, though!”

How Verastegui’s bookending films came to be: Paul Blart himself Kevin James has a cameo in Little Boy, playing Pepper’s doctor. The King of Queens star and Verastegui became friends, and James later offered him a part in the Mall Cop sequel.

“Kevin was like, ‘I wrote a role for you. Trust me, it’ll be funny,’ and it was,” said the Mexican actor (Chasing Papi). “But this movie is really different, which is what I liked about it — more revolving around family themes and what it means to be a good father. I’m really excited it’s getting to see the light of day.”

Speaking of surprise cameos: Amid the flashing cameras, Jewel suddenly appeared.

“I have nothing to do with his movie in any way, shape or form; I’m just a fan,” said the You Were Meant for Me singer. “Little Boy just inspired me, it was painful but hopeful and touching and beautifully written.”

It’s also a bit of a tearjerker.

“The first time I saw it, I sobbed hysterically the entire time,” Jewel said. “They should hand out tissues along with the ticket!”

She has two projects in the pipeline.

“The next album is very raw, very emotional,” the 40-year-old explained. “It will be on an independent label; now that I’m a mom I don’t want to promote records the way I used to.” (She coparents 3-year-old son Kase with ex husband, cowboy Ty Murray.)

The album will be released along with her memoir soon. “It’s my first long form book, not just poetry and prose.”

Of Jewel’s writing process: “I try to carve out a couple of hours each day, but if I didn’t have a deadline, forget it!”

Also on the carpet: Emilio Estefan, the film’s director Alejandro Gómez Monteverde and actress Ali Landry.

MADELEINE MARR

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