While Jurassic Park
fans know him best as Tim Murphy -- the precocious young dinosaur enthusiast who survives the perils of the first park's major malfunction -- Joe Mazzello has grown up quite a bit since his time on Isla Nublar.
The 32-year-old actor is following in Steven Spielberg's footsteps and has stepped behind the camera with his directorial debut, Undrafted.
"I've been dreaming of being a director since I was nine years old, watching Steven Spielberg do it, and I just said, 'You know, that's the job for me,'" Mazzello recently told ET's Ashley Crossan at the premiere of his new film, Undrafted. "So to be able to finally do it is just a dream come true."
According to Mazzello, he's remained friends with the three-time Oscar-winning director
since working together on the dino-filled blockbuster in 1993, and has even gotten quite a bit of guidance.
"I've stayed close with him over the years," Mazzello shared. "He wrote me my recommendation for college to go to USC film school [and] he hired me for The Pacific."
Mazzello said it was Spielberg who first spurred him on to directing during the premiere of HBO's 2010 World War II miniseries, in which the actor starred as Cpl. Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge.
"We were doing the premiere for The Pacific, he said, 'Joe, when are you directing your first movie?' I said, 'Stephen, I'm going to try to make it happen over the next couple of years,' and here we are," he recounted. "I'm so happy that it's finally here and I can't wait to show everybody."
Mazzello, who also stars in the baseball comedy, was joined at the premiere by some of his co-stars, including Ryan Pinkston and Jay Hayden who had nothing but high praise for their friend and director.
"It was such a good comradery that we had on the set and Joe's a big part of that," Pinkston recalled. "You wouldn't have been able to tell it was his first time."
"Joe did a great job! He's probably one of the best directors of all time," Hayden said, adding, "Don't tell him I said that."
Undrafted tells the story of a former collegiate baseball star whose dreams of playing pro ball are dashed when he's skipped over in the Major League Baseball draft. The sports dramedy is available to rent or buy on iTunes now.