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SUPER 8

The Adults of "Super 8"
As the kids in "Super 8” grapple with seeing something they should never have discovered, they are brought into conflict with parents, teachers and authorities of all kinds, each played by an adult cast that includes Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich and Ron Eldard.

Chandler, well known for his roles on television's "Friday Night Lights” and "Early Edition,” plays Deputy Jackson Lamb, Joe's father, who begins to investigate the unusual disappearances and other odd happenings that suddenly afflict the town. A hard-working law officer, but struggling widower, the deputy is drawn into a consuming mystery at a time when his emotions are most raw and his son most desperately needs him.

Abrams says the key to Chandler's performance is a slightly broken-hearted quality that shines through his harsh exterior. "Kyle is an incredible actor,” says the director, "wildly likeable and a great Everyman. He plays Jackson with a strength and a toughness, yet lets you see that, despite not being the best dad, he really is a broken soul, and therefore sympathetic.”

"His wife has passed away and now he has to care for a son who he doesn't understand all that well,” Chandler explains. "He wants to protect Joe as much as possible, but he also sees that Joe is growing up and he's going to go on adventures with his friends, whether Jackson likes it or not.”

He was also fascinated by what Jackson Lamb witnesses all around him as the town is overtaken by fear and anxiety. "People in the town start doing what we all do when we can't solve a mystery – they start pointing fingers at each other,” he notes. "A shadow starts to pervade this little Ohio town and then you have these young kids who are right in the thick of something huge, even as the police are trying to figure things out.”

Working with newcomer Joel Courtney as his son was a particularly special moment for Chandler. "I can only imagine what it would be like to come onto a large, intimidating, complicated set like this, having never worked on a movie before,” he muses. "Joel handled it so well, meeting every challenge.”

Noah Emmerich, whose film roles range from "The Truman Show” to "Little Children,” and the television hit "The Walking Dead,” takes the role of the hardened, mystery-laden Air Force colonel who comes to town on a mission so covert he can tell no one what he is really looking for.

Emmerich could not resist the chance to work with Abrams. "J.J. was the big draw for me,” he says. "It's rare that you come across such a masterful storyteller. You know that whatever he does, you're going to be in good hands. He has that ability to create a deep sense of mystery for audiences, to really make the viewers lean forward in their chairs and ignite their curiosity. J.J. and I were both magicians as kids, and I think J.J. has somehow brought that quality of being able to elicit wonder and intrigue to his movies.”

As for his secretive character, Emmerich simply states: "He's a dark and scary guy and I'm sure I'll be frightening kids who see me for the next decade!”

Providing a local foil for Jackson Lamb is Ron Eldard, the actor who began his career on the hit medical show "E.R.,” then headed into a film career with credits including "Sleepers,” "Black Hawk Down” and "Freedomland.”

As Alice's angry, troubled father, Louis Dainard, Eldard describes him as "a guy who is really struggling. He's struggling with his work at the steel mill, he's struggling because his wife has left him and he's struggling with a daughter who is coming of age. He doesn't particularly want her out with a bunch of boys, but she wants to be part of these budding filmmakers.”

That brings Louis into conflict with Jackson Lamb just as their kids become closer as friends. "They're two very competitive characters,” remarks Eldard. "Once Jackson and Lewis were really good friends, but stuff happens and now they're on opposite sides of the tracks. Jackson is a law man and Louis is a renegade but, only as things get worse, they find that they're going to have to help each other.”

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