Why America has fallen in love with the ''Malcolm in the Middle'' star

By Dan Snierson
December 23, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

Moment of Arrival As the tween genius epicenter of Fox’s irreverent familycom hit Malcolm in the Middle, Muniz deftly plays coming-of-age awkwardness against spunky mischievousness.
His IQ ”I don’t know. I’ve always pretty much gotten straight A’s, but I don’t think I’m a genius. I just listen in class, I guess.”
Coolest Perk Of Fame With his money from Malcolm, Muniz purchased a Pearl Master Series drum kit. ”I’ve had drum sets before,” he notes, ”but this is like a real, real, real nice one — I mean, like better than what the pros use. I have six cymbals, but I’m getting like 10 more and I’m adding all these drums. I want Carter Beauford’s setup from Dave Matthews Band. He has the coolest drums.”
Previous Gig The sweethearted Southern kid in My Dog Skip
On His Real Mom She’s not as strict, confides Muniz. ”She’ll say that I’m punished but she really doesn’t go through with it…. Don’t put that in. I don’t want her to change that.” You’ll be okay, Frankie.
What’s Next Martin Scorsese’s 1950s Brooklyn gang drama, Deuces Wild.