In the three years since that came out, he has heard that word "precocious" a lot. Along with mentions of his adorable freckles. Both turn up often in reviews of his latest movie, the Loch Ness monster children's fantasy The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.
Whatever he has, the camera just loves. Millions was one of the most acclaimed films of 2004. And in Water Horse, even though the characters "are quite similar, both obsessed boys who are missing a parent," Alex had the skill to show his stuff acting opposite a mythical movie creature who wasn't there.
""When it was baby-sized up to teenager, I was acting with a puppet," he says of Crusoe, his character's name for the infant Nessie he finds as an egg and raises in the family bathtub. "And when it got bigger, it graduated. I was acting opposite a tennis ball on a stick.
"They didn't show me any pictures or anything showing me what he would really look like. I was shocked when I saw the film. You don't think of the Loch Ness monster as cuddly. Not really."
The animation makes the monster friendly looking, but it's the way Alex looks and acts around it that make it cuddly. Writing in The Hollywood Reporter, Stephen Farber says Alex is "is winsome without being cloyingly cute. He holds the screen as commandingly as the young Roddy McDowall," the very model of a child star back in the 1940s.
Growing up in the north of England with a story set just to the north, in Scotland, you wouldn't think Alex would have to worry much about traveling to the set. But they filmed the movie, set during World War II, in New Zealand.
"It's weird how much like Scotland it 'tis, or Scotland the way it was 50 years ago. Scotland now is all developed and industrial and New Zealand has more open country, more oldie-looking places without new houses all around them."
Alex is still young enough to rely on his parents for life and career advice. His mother was the one who read the Water Horse script and thought he would enjoy filming it.
"Didn't let me see the whole script until after I'd gotten the part and we'd left for New Zealand," Etel says. "I did a couple of scenes as an audition.
"You always hear about the Loch Ness monster where I live [Manchester]. I knew bits and bobs about it, growing up. I'd seen pictures but I hadn't given it a thought. By the time I got the part and was in New Zealand, ready to shoot, Jay [Russell, director of My Dog Skip and Water Horse] gave me a box of DVDs, books and everything about the monster."
Young Alex is just a few years into what he hopes will be a lifelong career. He's done British TV and has a couple of big movies under his belt. But he's "really dreading" the big transition, "the big decision" that comes when a child star ages out of child roles.
"I'm going to university, I know. My parents say it's important. I guess I'll find some backup idea of what I want to do, in case the acting doesn't last. You can't play innocent forever!"
Roger Moore can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5369.