As reported previously, the film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s post-9/11 novel Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close seems to be running through some sort of pre-Oscars checklist. But even with a dream team of Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button), and director Stephen Daldry (The Hours, The Reader) on board to bring Foer’s sentimental story of a 9-year-old boy trying to solve a mystery his father left behind when he died in the World Trade Center attacks—with bonus touches of the Holocaust ensuring maximum nominations—it’s clear the film will live or die based on its central character, the adorably, precociously intelligent Oskar.
Today Deadline reports that Daldry has finally found the unknown who will bear that burden on his wee little shoulders: Kids Jeopardy! champion Thomas Horn, who walked away with $31,800 plus an all-expenses-paid vacation when he appeared on the show earlier this year. Horn describes his specialized areas of interest as “U.S. presidents, world capitals, and French writers,” so he’s definitely got the adorably, precociously intelligent part down. Anyway, Horn should especially relish his good fortune, given that a year from now he would have lost out to a robot.