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Young Jackson made quite an impression

From left: Mark Wahlberg, Jack McGee, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, and Jackson Nicoll in “The Fighter.’’ From left: Mark Wahlberg, Jack McGee, Melissa Leo, Christian Bale, and Jackson Nicoll in “The Fighter.’’ (Jojo Whilden)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
December 31, 2010

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One of the quieter performances in “The Fighter’’ belongs to Jackson Nicoll, a 7-year-old boy from Seabrook, N.H., who plays Little Dicky, the son of Christian Bale’s character, Dicky Eklund. A novice, Nicoll had done only a few print ads when he was encouraged to audition for a role in director David O. Russell’s biopic of Lowell-bred boxer Micky Ward. “There were thousands of kids there, but they narrowed it down and narrowed it down, and he got the part,’’ says Jackson’s mom, April. Her boy became fast friends with Bale, even going fishing with the actor after the cameras stopped rolling. “Christian has called and e-mailed since the movie,’’ says mom. “He really made Jackson’s first movie the best experience ever.’’ While hardly a Hollywood veteran, her son has been in two movies since “The Fighter,’’ including “What’s Your Number’’ and “The Stand Up,’’ and commercials for Comcast, Pillsbury, and Hasbro. Nicoll says her son has made a little money — “he’ll be set for college,’’ she says — and maintained an unaffected, easygoing manner. “He seems like he’s the right kid for this, but I’m not sure I’m the right parent,’’ she said, laughing. “He’s taking it all in stride. We still make him take out the trash, if you know what I mean.’’