Five-year-old actor Myles Brooks put himself on the map when his first film, Pioneer, took home the Best Narrative Short award at the South by Southwest festival this year.
The 15-minute production is the story of a father telling an epic and violent tale about an absent mother to his young son.
Director David Lowery told Filmmaker magazine about what made Myles special and how he was prepared for the role:
We found Myles in an open casting call. He was four years old, the youngest kid we saw, and he'd never acted before. He was so calm and patient and had an innate ability to internalize whatever directions I'd give him. We were pretty certain from the moment we saw him that he was the right kid. Once he had the part, we spent a lot of time working with him, just getting him used to the idea of being around cameras and lights and such. And we read a lot of stories to him. We had different versions of the story from the film that we'd workshop with him; shorter, less intense iterations. We had his dad read him a version of it every night before bed the whole week leading up to production, but we left certain details out so that they'd catch him by surprise when we started shooting. And we’d practice his dialogue too, and different ways of saying it. Since he couldn't read yet, he just learned the part through gentle repetition.
Myles is adorable and talented and has his first award under his belt before most kids complete kindergarten. It's safe to say this young actor has a bright future.
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