He may only have one season under his belt as the star of Fox's Malcolm in the Middle
, but already young Frankie Muniz
is learning about one of fame's most enduring conundrums: separating your real friends from your fake ones.
"I went back [home] to New Jersey and saw them for pretty much the first time since the show was on, and it was so wild," Muniz told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, CA. "It was like I didn't even know some of them. Because a lot of kids that never used to hang out with me used me as a show-and-tell. They'd bring me over to their friend's house [and go], 'Look, look who's my friend!' So it was sort of weird."
The actor stressed, however, that his fair-weather pals "were really cool. They didn't even really make a big deal out of it. They like me because I'm Frankie, not because I'm Malcolm."
And just in case anyone's worried about the effects of his early success spoiling him, Muniz insisted that he won't be pulling any star trips. "I just know I'm no bigger or better than anyone else in this world," he said. "I'm just the same person I always was ? Frankie.
"I just like to be a normal kid ? go to the movies, hang out with friends, just be a normal person." he added. "I don't think I'll get big-headed. I don't want to."