At Dream Con, an anime and video game convention in Austin, Texas, actor Khleo Thomas, perhaps best known for the 2003 movie Holes, competed in and won a Mortal Kombat 11 tournament. Thomas, who played Zero in the 2003 Disney film opposite Shia LaBeouf, won the Mortal Kombat 11 tournament while cosplaying as Powerline, a fictional pop idol from the 1995 animated Disney film A Goofy Movie.
Speaking with Kotaku via email, Thomas revealed that he won the tourney playing Sub-Zero, a character Thomas says he’s mained since he first picked up a fighting stick to play the original Mortal Kombat on his Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
“MK is my favorite fighting game 100 percent. I’m a lifer when it comes to this franchise. The characters, the story, the stages, all of it,” he said. “It’s a tradition with me and my brother that when the new MK game drops we play 100 matches to see who comes out on top. We’ve done this with every single MK game. I’ve always chosen Sub-Zero and he’s always chosen Scorpion. It’s poetic in a way.”
In case you haven’t ever beheld A Goofy Movie, Powerline was basically an anthropomorphic canine amalgamation of Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie, and Bobby Brown, whose stage presence inspired Goofy and his son Max to engage in arguably one of the best-animated performances in Disney history.
Thomas is a pretty big fan of Powerline and even wore the same cosplay, which he commissioned from fashion designer Bryan Hearns, to make his own live-action music video of the fictional pop star’s song “I2I.”
“I asked my followers which cosplays they wanted me to bring to Dream Con and Powerline was voted #1. I decided to keep it on after my panel and just compete in the tournament with it on,” Thomas said. “Also, being in a public setting didn’t bother me at all. I’m trained to perform, so when the bright lights come on, it’s showtime.”
While most would simply know Thomas as “that kid from Holes,” the Alaskan-born actor is actually pretty prominent in the video game space. Whenever Thomas isn’t acting, he’s streaming games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, and Diablo IV on his YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok channels. Most recently, Thomas played Diablo IV with fellow actor and gamer Chloë Grace Moretz, which you can check out below.
“We just celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Holes two weeks ago. This is a book and a movie that has stood the test of time for 20+ years and I’m very grateful to have a role on my resume as iconic as Zero,” Thomas said, adding that it doesn’t bother him that he’s still known as the kid from Holes.
Aside from Powerline, Thomas also cosplayed as Batman Beyond while attending Dream Con. This just goes to show that although digging holes might not build character, Thomas has damn good taste in them.