"We started seeing kids, and months and months and months went by," Abrams recalls. "Finally we found these amazing young actors, who were just really terrific."
Elle Fanning, the fast-rising young actress who impressed in
and the most experienced of the younger actors, was cast as star Alice.
"I remember meeting with JJ for the first time, I was so nervous," Fanning tells TF. "He didn't spill any secrets about the movie, he just said 'I'm doing a movie with a girl in it', and that's about it."
"Later on I auditioned with all the boys, so he could see us all together. Then he called each one of us personally to tell us we got the part, which was really cool of him."
"It was really fun 'cos this was my first movie. I didn't know what to expect," says Joel Courtney, who had no professional acting experience when he was cast in the lead role of Joe Lamb, a Deputy Sheriff's son reeling from the death of his mother.
"I was down in LA with Joel and JJ told us we got the part" says Ryan Lee, who plays Cary, the mischievous pyromaniac with a penchant for cherry-bombs and firecrackers. "JJ came up to me and said, 'Ryan I need to talk to you...' all serious, and he was talking in this sad voice so I was bracing myself for bad news, and then he said, 'Ryan, do you want to be in Super 8?'
"I was like, 'Heck, yeah!'"
Also cast was Riley Griffiths as Charles, the thinly veiled Spielberg/Lucas Jr, who has roped his friends into helping him make a Super 8 zombie film,
Gabriel Basso as slow-witted actor Martin and Zach Mills as sound-man Preston.
With the young parts in place, JJ started looking for their folks...