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Sunday, Nov 18, 2018
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Tampa actor has role in star-studded 'Valentine's Day'

Tampa's Carter Jenkins doesn't have the biggest role in "Valentine's Day" but he has one of the most memorable scenes. The 18-year-old who grew up in Carrollwood says this is his first major adult role even though he's still playing a high school senior. The Garry Marshall-directed romantic comedy opens in theaters Friday. "Not every child actor can make the transition to adult roles but this film is a great opportunity for me," Jenkins said during a recent visit to his home town.
"I worked with some great actors and Garry Marshall was fantastic," Jenkins says. Carter was last seen on the big screen in the summer teen comedy "Aliens in the Attic" opposite teen star Ashley Tisdale. He shared the screen with computer-animated aliens. This time Jenkins, who was in the 2005 remake of "Bad News Bears" and co-starred as a troubled teen in the NBC sci-fi series "Surface," is sharing the screen with some big names. The cast includes Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Bradley Cooper, Taylor Swift, Patrick Dempsey, Emma Roberts,
Eric Dane, Topher Grace, Queen Latifah and Shirley MacLaine."I didn't get to work with all of them because this film is a series of small stories about people whose lives change during one day - Valentine's Day," says Jenkins. His character is a nice guy who plans to lose his virginity on Valentine's Day to his high school sweetheart, played by Emma Roberts (niece of Julia Roberts). "Without giving away too much, let's just say things don't go as planned," says Jenkins.
During a Monday night preview screening at the AMC Veterans, Jenkins' embarrassing bedroom encounter got one of the biggest laughs from the audience. "Valentine's Day" centers on Kutcher's character, a Los Angeles florist who proposes to his girlfriend ( Alba) at dawn on Valentine's Day. Before the day is over both of their lives will change and they will find romance as will many other couples who cross paths in this comedy. Movie-goers at screening described it as "cute and fun." The film contains a few surprises as the day ends. Also, young country singer Swift is a surprise as a ditzy teen. There's also an interesting scene in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a Los Angeles landmark that shows old films on an outdoor movie screen near the graves. MacLaine's character has a romantic reunion with her husband (Hector Elizondo) while the 1958 potboiler "Hot Spell," starring a young MacLaine is playing in the background. Jenkins says when they were making the film there were a lot of comparisons being made to the romantic comedy "Love Actually" which is set during Christmas. The role could open more doors for Jenkins who says that he isn't interested in becoming a "star." He just wants the opportunity to act in good roles. Growing up in Tampa, Jenkins had two passions: dramatic arts and baseball. By age 7, he was appearing in community theater and TV commercials. He also climbed up the Little League ranks to become one of the top pitchers in the state. His parents, Eric and Mary Jenkins, moved the family to Sherman Oaks, Calif., after Carter began getting roles in films and television.

Reporter Walt Belcher can be reached at (813) 259-7654

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