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THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES

"Spiderwick's" Young Stars And Some Adults
Freddie Highmore and Sarah Bolger are actually quite close in age to the teenagers they play in the film. But they are different from the Grace siblings in one significant way. While the story takes place in New England, neither Highmore nor Bolger is American. Highmore is British and Bolger hails from Ireland.

Yet, observes director Waters, "listening to them on film, you'd never pick up on anything but a fine New England accent...a tribute to their gifts, the extensive research they did and consistent dialect coaching. These are really demanding parts for young actors, so we needed to cast artists who possessed real depth, soul and smarts. Freddie and Sarah have those qualities and so many more.”

He adds that "Highmore's choice to agree to play both parts was very exciting, and particularly so in playing Jared Grace, because we've previously seen him in such movies as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,' ‘Finding Neverland,' ‘A Good Year' and ‘Arthur and the Invisibles,' playing quieter, more introverted characters. It was very exciting to see him play the role of a kid with some real anger issues and tackling an American accent – which he did seamlessly. He's a great presence on film.”

As for Bolger, Waters says she "is really amazing, an actress to keep an eye on. ‘In America' was an amazing film, and both she and her sister Emma were awesome in it. She's really got the chops and pulls off the equally challenging role of Mallory with great aplomb.”

Freddie Highmore and the filmmaking team deftly delineated the differences between the two brothers. "We wanted audiences to immediately know whether they were watching Jared or Simon without making them at all cartoon-like or defined just by their appearance,” says Highmore. "We gave the twins distinctive hair and dress styles. Color played an important part in distinguishing them. Jared is dressed in jeans and in blacks or reds, while Simon is more subdued in conservative clothes and lots of greens or browns. I'm British, not American, so we had a dialect coach who helped me with the accent and also to make the ‘identical' twins sound individual. Jared acts tough while Simon is quieter, more bookish, and they haven't reacted in the same way to their parents' splitting up.”

Highmore proved to be more than a match for the challenges of dual lead roles. He and the production team quickly established a routine in terms of how to shoot the scenes with Simon and Jared. Because of the demands of filming a big scale movie, character switches and new set-ups had to be as fast as possible. If you couldn't handle pressure this wasn't the assignment for you.

"In rehearsal we worked out the interactions and other stuff the twins were going to be doing. When Jared was talking to Simon or vice-versa, we used one of a team of photo-doubles, stunt-doubles, stand-ins or often just an orange eye-line cross on a blue screen. A lot of the thrill of this film involves state-of-the-art computer generated images, but this adds a whole extra level of technical complexity. It was amazing how well Mark Waters and his crew stayed on top of things. I worked hard to get the technical requirements mastered so that I was free to concentrate on playing whichever twin I was at any given moment. With a full education program to fit in, every second of my day was time-tabled. It was non-stop but such great fun, and what an amazing opportunity to be given.”

Highmore notes that "there are some pretty scary scenes, but actually shooting those sequences were the most exciting. Clinging to the top of a tower can make your heart race whether you're attached to a hidden harness or not. But it's a bit like watching the finished film – even though you know you're safe, you get scared. Then, when the danger is over, you get such a buzz and you can't wait for the nex

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