Sean Astin embraces being a Hollywood ‘nepo baby’: I ‘nailed it’

Sean Astin wears the dreaded “nepo baby” label proudly.

The “Lord Of The Rings” star joked in a new exclusive interview with Page Six that when people ask him how he got his start in Hollywood, he always answers, “Nepotism.”

The actor was born into a famous family — his mom is Oscar winner Patty Duke and step-father is “The Adams Family” star John Astin — and he grew up in Hollywood.

His first onscreen appearance was in the 1981 TV movie, “Please Don’t Hit Me, Mom,” in which he played an 8-year-old child with an abusive mother, played by, you guessed it, Patty Duke.

“Listen, it’s just true,” he continued. “Life is hard, work is hard. Finding your way in the world is hard. So when people have some good fortune, I don’t begrudge that.”

The “Rudy” star added that he isn’t hard on himself for taking advantage of his family connections.

Sean Astin happily acknowledges he got his start in Hollywood through nepotism. Getty Images
Astin’s mother was Oscar-winning actress Patty Duke. Getty Images

“And I don’t begrudge myself having been born into a family where I was given a lot,” he explained. “I also feel that that comes with a lot of responsibility that you have the opportunity to embrace or not.”

“So yeah … you know … [you] nailed it,” he joked about being a recipient of nepotism. “Got it in one!”

Despite the leg-up, Astin has had a long career that includes not one but four roles in movies and shows that have become cultural milestones.

Astin’s first movie role was in 1985’s “The Goonies.” ©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection
Astin played Samwise Gamgee in the “LOTR” franchise. Courtesy Everett Collection

He made his film debut at the age of 13 as Mikey in “The Goonies,” starred in the beloved football weepie, “Rudy,” appeared in “The Lord of the Rings” franchise and played Winona Ryder’s sweet boyfriend in a season of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

Astin says he’s attended many Comic-Cons for “LOTR” and knows how some people feel about his work.


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“I’ve spent many weekends a year going to places where people (give me) feedback, how important those films are to them and how much they mean,” he shared. “I’m grateful, I’m always grateful.”

He also co-starred in season 2 of “Stranger Things.” ©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

The actor, 52, also knows that he has an every-man quality and chalks that up to his upbringing.

“I was raised by a mother, Patty Duke, who had such an easy connection with people everywhere, everywhere she went,” he divulged. “Such a normal way of communicating. And it was so disarming for people. That was my experience as a little child, watching an impact that people could have with each other. And I think in some way my life just sort of emulates that in a strange way.”

His latest movie is “The Shift” in which a mysterious stranger with otherworldly powers gets a man banished to a parallel Earth where he has to battle to get back to the woman he loves.

Astin’s latest movie is the thriller, “The Shift.” Courtesy Everett Collection

“Movies that are sort of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic have always held a curiosity for people,” he opined. “But somehow, you know, in the post-COVID world where there’s so much trauma and drama going around all around us and people are more aware of it now maybe than they were in the past.”

Astin explained that he accepted the movie role because “I’m at a stage in my life where I realize and this is what the movie does, it shows you that for every choice you make, your life is (and could be) totally different…Hopefully, people will be carried along the journey of this post-apocalyptic experience. And then when it gives itself, (is it) creates a hopeful message.”

“The Shift” is in theaters now.