Fresh-faced actor Joseph Cross established himself as an onscreen presence from the late '90s onward, with a series of effective and tightly knit characterizations in consistently interesting (if critically divisive) projects. After a somewhat mawkish start, as the lovelorn preteen son in the family-oriented Michael Keaton movie Jack Frost (1998), Cross ultimately breached more adult-oriented material, much of it offbeat. He landed two of his most prominent roles in the mid-2000s: white trash Jerri Blank's (Amy Sedaris) jockey stepbrother in the satirical comedy Strangers with Candy (2005) and young Augusten Burroughs, a youngster growing up amid a hopelessly dysfunctional and cracked environment, in Ryan Murphy's adaptation of Burroughs' memoir, Running with Scissors (2006). The latter represented Cross' premier lead; most critics commended his efforts and his ambition, even as they panned the film for the incohesiveness of its elements. The following year, Cross also landed a supporting role in the Diane Lane thriller Untraceable (2008).