Schmidt was born in Wichita, Kansas, to Kathy and Kent Schmidt. His brothers, Kenneth Schmidt and Kevin Schmidt, are actors. He began his acting career at age five, appearing in a Chex TV commercial. When he was nine years old, he was one of two young actors who were hired to be Haley Joel Osment's stand-in and body double (they shared the same agent) in the Steven Spielberg film, A. I. Artificial Intelligence. He celebrated his birthday on the set, and Spielberg and the cast surprised him with a birthday cake decorated with Star Wars figures. When he was 10 years old, his family finally made the move from Kansas to California.