Welcome back to the spotlight, Jonathan Taylor Thomas!
He laid pretty low after Home Improvement ended its run in 1999 (save some appearances on Smallville and Veronica Mars), but EW managed to lure the former teen idol back in front of the camera for a reunion shot in Pacific Palisades, CA. Afterward, Thomas talked to the magazine about his beloved run on the ABC comedy, what he’s been up to, and whether we’ll ever see him again on the small screen. (That’s your cue, Tim Allen: Time to book your TV son for a cameo on ABC’s Last Man Standing!).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was it like seeing the cast at the reunion shoot?
JONATHAN TAYLOR THOMAS: It was great, it obviously had been a number of years and it was really remarkable how easily everyone slipped back into our old banter and behavior with each other. It was though as nothing had changed, and we had literally stepped back onto the set. It really felt comfortable, the way we were joking with each other. It was like a family reunion, like old times.
You fell off the radar after the show ended and many of the castmembers haven’t seen you since then. What have you been up to?
I’ve been going to school, and traveling quite a bit, getting to read a lot of books I’ve wanted to for quite some time. I think at this point, I’d eventually like to work behind the camera. That’s not to say I would never act again, I’m not quite sure to be honest. I still have a passion for TV and film could see myself working in it.
Fans were thrilled to see the cast back together again and to especially see you.
That actually sort of surprises me. I didn’t know there would be that kind of response.
You single-handedly gave the teen fan magazines a reason to stay in business back in the 90s. Were you on the cover every week?
I guess so, yeah.
Did the cast tease you about your idol status?
Oh yeah, every once in a while, it was always in good humor. It was too tempting not to be brought up on occasion. There are too many things you could make fun of.
What do you think about Tim Allen doing another family comedy?
One of the things Tim does very well — besides being downright hilarious — is how he is able to present the complexities of relationships with children and spouses in a deeply humane way. Your instinct is to root for this guy and connect with him.
Has he asked you to guest star on Last Man Standing?
[Laughs] That has not come up yet. We’ll see about that. I’m sure they have a lot of stories they want to get to.
For more from Thomas and the rest of the Home Improvement cast, pick up EW’s Reunions Issue on newsstands Oct. 7.