Eagle-eyed Even Stevens fans who’ve wandered into the Sunvalley Mall in Concord, California, have spotted a celebrity hiding in plain sight — the actor who played Shia LaBeouf’s sidekick, Steven Anthony Lawrence.
Lawrence isn’t there to shop, however. He’s there to work, apparently as Santa’s Helper at the mall in the small city, only 30 miles from San Francisco.
Over the past couple weeks, social media has been choked with pictures of Steven Anthony with eager fans who are excited to snap a picture with the actor they lovingly know as Bernard “Beans” Aranguren from the short-lived Disney series, E! News reported.
Unfortunately, that means for the time being, Saint Nick has been upstaged.
Lawrence, now 25, is best known as Beans, a role so ingrained in fans’ memories that the people who spotted him at the Concord mall often call him by that nickname.
He was on the show for three seasons, which ended in 2003. He was barely a teenager when he starred as the bacon-loving next door neighbor to the Stevens family. Shia played youngest brother Louis; his older sister Ren was played by Christy Romano.
According to the Contra Costa Times, Steven Anthony’s life after Even Stevens has been peppered with minor roles. He’s played an elf for T-Mobile and UPS Store commercials. Around the time he was on the Disney series, he had roles in Cheaper by the Dozen and Kicking and Screaming. Since then, Steven Anthony had a scattering of spots in TV series (Weeds among them) and shorts.
For the most part, however, the actor said he’s been teaching, MTV News added.
It’s unclear whether his position, which requires a black tie and maroon apron, is a permanent arrangement. The local paper said Steven Anthony is working at the Winter Wonderland at the Photo Booth, and some have speculated that his job is actually research.
In his first role in three years, Lawrence is set to play an elf named Jingles in a Christmas comedy called Holly, Jingles and Clyde 3D. IMDb describes the film as follows.
“Two bumbling elves, Jingles and Clyde, team up with Santa’s daughter Holly to try to help a Michigan family in danger of losing its Christmas-tree farm.”
Set to be released in 2017, the film also stars Saved by the Bell’s Mr. Belding as Santa and Lana Wood as Mrs. Claus.
It’s also worth noting that the actor doesn’t list the mall as his employer, or Santa’s Helper as his occupation, on his Facebook page, rather the Screen Actors Guild. So perhaps the speculation about his dedication to method acting is correct.
What is certain is the child star seems to be having a grand old time as Santa’s Helper if the many, many photos on Twitter and Instagram are any indication. (Though his job is to man the photo booth, so he’s required to have a good time. In that case, he’s really good at it.)
In a February interview with the Huffington Post, Lawrence hinted that he enjoys the attention he still gets from Millennial fans, 14 years later, for playing their favorite, bacon-loving next door neighbor. But since he’s all grown up now, the recognition is very surprising.
“It’s really weird. I feel like I’ve changed so much when I look in the mirror. I don’t know how people… recognize me. But I’ll be walking down the street and people drive by for two seconds and automatically they’ll go, “Oh, my God! You’re Beans! Ahhh!’ God, even I would have to at least do a double-take.”
[Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images]