Maxwell Jenkins

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Maxwell Jenkins
Max Saturn Awards preshow 2.jpg
Maxwell Jenkins at the Saturn Awards preshow in 2021
Born (2005-05-03) May 3, 2005 (age 17)
Years active2013–present

Maxwell Jenkins (born May 3, 2005) is an American film and television actor, who is known for his roles in Lost in Space, A Family Man, and Sense8.[1][2][3][4] In 2020, he played the role of Joseph Bell in the true story of Joe Bell, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green.[5] In 2021 he was cast as the young Jack Reacher in the Amazon Prime series.[6]

Early life[edit]

Jenkins is the son of Jeff Jenkins, a former Ringling clown, and Julie Greenberg, a film and theatre actress. They are the co-founders and directors of the Chicago-based Midnight Circus, whose proceeds help fund general improvements for the Chicago parks the circus is hosted in.[7] Jenkins began performing with the circus at age three,[8] and has performed acts including rola-bola, acrobatics, tightwire walking, juggling, and playing mandolin.[9]


Jenkins started his acting career in ABC's Betrayal at age eight in 2013.[10] He would then go on to have recurring roles in several series including Sense 8, directed by the Wachowski sisters, and Chicago Fire, where he portrayed the character of J.J. Holloway.  In 2016, Jenkins was cast as Will Robinson in Lost in Space, a Netflix remake of the iconic 1965 television series.[2] His performance has been nominated for several Young Artist and Saturn Awards.[11][12][13][14] In 2021, Jenkins was cast as a young Jack Reacher in the Amazon original show based on the popular book series.[6]

Jenkins' work also includes several feature films. In 2016 he starred in A Family Man, which premiered at TIFF.[15] In it he portrayed a young boy whose new illness forces his father, played by Gerard Butler, to reevaluate his priorities and search for a way to reconnect with his family.[15] In 2020 he also starred alongside Mark Wahlberg, Connie Britton, and Reid Miller in the film Joe Bell. His role as Jadin Bell's younger brother was praised,[16] with one critic noting his scenes to be among the film's most powerful.[17]

Jenkins is also an avid musician, playing mandolin, guitar, bass guitar, violin, and drums.[18] His band, Cowboy Jesus and the Sugar Bums, received a Chicago Music Award.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Alongside his professional successes, Jenkins has continued to perform in his family's non-profit circus show, Midnight Circus in the Parks.  Through this, performers have raised over $1m for Chicago park renovations, community projects, and overseas disaster relief.[20][21]  Jenkins has also been a spokesman for the ASPCA, where he often advocates for better education, legislation, and protection for canine breeds.[22][23] He has also helped raise awareness and funds for the conservation group Oceana.[23]

In response to the NCAI efforts to remove Native American caricatures as sports mascots,[24] Jenkins led a petition to change the stereotypical ‘Indian’ symbol used by his own high school. Speaking at his Local School Council, he argued that the symbol did not show respect to native peoples, and that there was a historical precedent for the school to change its policies to align with modern progress, just as it had when it changed its enrolment policy to accept female students.[25]  It was soon announced that the school would remove its Indian symbol as a mascot.[26]

In 2020, Jenkins was honored for his various charity and community contributions when he was presented with a Community Leadership Award by the Young Artist Academy.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
2013–2014 Betrayal Oliver Recurring role; 12 episodes
2015 Sense8 Young Will Recurring role; 8 episodes
2015 NCIS: New Orleans Ryan Griggs Episode: 'I Do'
2015 Chicago Fire J.J. Guest role; 2 episodes
2018–2021 Lost in Space Will Robinson Main role; 28 episodes
2021 Chicago Med EJ Daniels Guest role; 1 episode
2022 Reacher Young Reacher Recurring role
TBA Dear Edward Jordan Main role, upcoming series


Year Title Role Notes
2015 Consumed Tommy
2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping 10-Year Old Owen
2016 A Family Man Ryan Jensen
2020 Joe Bell Joseph Bell

Awards and nominations[edit]

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films
Year Nominated Work Category Result Ref.
2019 Lost in Space Best Supporting Actor in Streaming Presentation Nominated [13]
2021 Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Television Series Nominated [14]
2022 Best Performance by a Younger Actor in a Streaming Television Series Pending [27]
Young Artist Award
Year Nominated Work Category Result Ref.
2019 Lost in Space Best Performance in a Streaming Series or Film: Young Actor Nominated [11]
2020 Special Merit Award Community Leadership Award Won [12]


  1. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (November 12, 2014). "Gerard Butler's 'The Headhunter's Calling' Casts Maxwell Jenkins (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (2016-09-20). "Toby Stephens To Topline 'Lost in Space' Netflix Remake, Maxwell Jenkins To Co-Star". Deadline. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Phelan, Zehra (11 April 2018). "Exclusive: Maxwell Jenkins, Mina Sundwall & Taylor Russell on playing the Robinson Kids in Lost in Space". Hey Guys. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Ahr, Michael. "Lost in Space: 'Too Good Not To Develop'". Den of Geeks. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Galuppo, Mia (2019-04-12). "'Lost in Space' Star Maxwell Jenkins Joins Mark Wahlberg in 'Good Joe Bell'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  6. ^ a b Petski, Denise (2021-06-11). "'Reacher': Kristin Kreuk, Marc Bendavid, Willie C. Carpenter Among 6 Cast In Amazon Series". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  7. ^ Knight, Meribah (September 15, 2011). "Just Children, but Training for the Center Ring". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  8. ^ "From the Circus Ring to Outer Space: Maxwell Jenkins". Midnight Circus. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Midnight Circus' Young Stars Learn Trapeze, Rolla Bolla From The Pros". DNAinfo Chicago. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  10. ^ "From the Circus Ring to Outer Space: Maxwell Jenkins". Midnight Circus in the Parks. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  11. ^ a b "Nominees 2019 - Young Artist Academy". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  12. ^ a b c "Press Release 10.14.20 - Young Artist Academy". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  13. ^ a b "Past Saturn Award Recipients". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  14. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (2021-03-04). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker', 'Tenet', 'Walking Dead', 'Outlander' Lead List". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  15. ^ a b West, Rachel (2016-09-13). "Gerard Butler On His Emotional TIFF Drama 'The Headhunter's Calling': 'It Was A Big Challenge'". ET Canada. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  16. ^ Prokopy, Steve (2021-07-23). "Review: Mark Wahlberg Makes for Odd Casting in Joe Bell, Based on a True Story of a Father Seeking Connection". Third Coast Review. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  17. ^ "Good Joe Bell Review: A Film with Good Intentions but a Bad Message". Collider. 2020-09-15. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  18. ^ "Maxwell Jenkins – imagista". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  19. ^ Cowboy Jesus and The Sugar Bums, retrieved 2021-10-21
  20. ^ "The Midnight Circus raises over $1 million for Chicago Park District projects". WGN Radio 720 - Chicago's Very Own. 2018-09-19. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  21. ^ "This circus features rescued pit bulls instead of elephants and lions". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  22. ^ "Edie Falco Leads List of Acclaimed New York Artists and Entertainers in Open Letter Urging State Lawmakers to Shut Down the Puppy Mill Pipeline". ASPCA. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  23. ^ a b "Maxwell Jenkins | Join the Circus or Get Lost In Space?". Flaunt Magazine. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  24. ^ "Ending the Era of Harmful "Indian" Mascots | NCAI". Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  25. ^ "Lane Tech's 'Indian' symbol closer to removal following LSC vote". Nadig Newspapers - Northwest Side Local Newspapers. 2020-08-05. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  26. ^ Greene, Morgan. "Lane Tech will remove Native American symbol as mascot". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2021-10-21.
  27. ^ Tinoco, Armando (August 12, 2022). "Saturn Awards Nominations: 'The Batman', 'Nightmare Alley', 'Spider-Man', 'Better Call Saul' Top List". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 22, 2022.

External links[edit]