ROOM director Lenny Abrahamson shared the intense challenge in casting the lead child actor role of Jack. ROOM is adapted from the Emma Donoghue novel inspired by the horrific Austrian Elizabeth Fritzl imprisonment case. Abrahamson shared that casting the leading role gave him “night sweats,” until finally discovering Jacob Tremblay of Vancouver. By all reports, this nine year old child actor delivers a breakout, award-worthy performance.
Abrahamson was quoted by Vulture at the EW Fest:
‘There were times when I used to say to the various people including the author of the novel, “Don’t worry about it. Top professional people are working on this. We find genius kids all the time.” Then I’d go home and I’d have the night sweats. We saw hundreds of kids. There were plenty of extraordinary kids that you could watch forever but you absolutely knew there was no way they’d be able to handle the drama of this film. There are some films where what you want is for the kid to be able to be themselves and just occupy that space on screen but that’s not enough for this. There’s a big arc for the characters. So eventually Jake Tremblay popped up out of Vancouver. He’s this really extraordinary kid who … I worked with him for a while to see how hyperactive he was, how robust he was, and he really is extraordinary. He’s going to be a great one. He has that talent — whatever that talent is that really great actors are born with — but you’re still asking someone who’s been playing the violin for two years to do a Paganini piece, so it’s still an amazing process of working with him. It’s the most challenging and the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done as a filmmaker, but yeah finding him was the single biggest stroke of luck I think in the arrival of this finished film.’
Synopsis of ROOM