Actor Jaden Michael plays Jamie, a young boy helping Ben (Oakes Fegley) find his father in
New York City circa 1977 in director Todd Haynes’s terrific new film “Wonderstruck”.
The film made its New York debut at NYFF55 and will open—in select theaters—on October 20.
Already the Oscar buzz is swirling around this charming film and Haynes is back with his past muse Julianne Moore. This film is based on Brian Selznick’s trailblazing debut novel, The
Invention of Hugo Cabret.
“Wonderstruck” it is about a young boy named Ben who longs for the father he has never
known. Set in two different time periods, the film It is also about a girl named Rose, who dreams
of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a
puzzling clue in his mother's room, and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.
Ben's story is set in 1977 and is told entirely in words, while Rose's story, set fifty years earlier, is told entirely with pictures. The two stories weave back and forth before ultimately coming together. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful–with over 460 pages of original
artwork–Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.
Actor Jaden Michael plays Jamie, an Afro-Latino New York City kid who helps Ben (Oakes
Fegley) navigate the city after he runs away from home. He’s scared, alone, penniless and deaf
a recent event that occurred during a freak thunderstorm.
Young Michael has been acting since he was three years old, appearing in several programs
produced by Nick Jr. and Sesame Street. He’s also lent his unique voice playing
Baby Jaguar in “Dora the Explorer.” He has also appeared in the role of David Diaz in the
feature film "Custody" with Viola Davis and Ellen Burstyn. He also took audiences and critics by surprise playing the role of the young gangster Rafe in "The Get Down”.
Here’s what Jaden Michael has to share about his role in Todd Haynes’s “Wonderstruck”.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your character. He’s an Afro-Latino kid, right?
Jaden Michael: Correct, I play Jamie. His parents are divorced. He lives with his father, in NEw
York City, in the summers. His dad works at the Museum of Natural History and that’s where he
meets Ben (Oakes Fegley) and helps him out with his journey.
Q: Any challenges working on the set?
A: It was easy going. Everyone on set was so close, it was easy going. We bonded so well. It
was like family.
Q: How did you prepare to play a kid of the late ’70’s? The “Get Down” in which you also
played a significant character was
A: I understood what was happening in that time period. You also had a significant role in
“The Get Down” and that musical drama was also set in the 1970s.
Well playing a gangster is much different than my role as Jamie but I actually did my research
on this film [Wonderstruck] as well and I decided to find out more about the culture. I’ve always
thought that if you listen to music it’s easier to find a character. I like listening to music because
it defines who I am. It makes me special….not that kind of special..(jokingly). And so in order for
me to get into my character, I like to listen to music from that time period, if the story is set in
another era. Or if I think this is something the character might listen to. While I was getting my
hair and makeup done, I liked to listen to a lot of 70’s rock and some David Bowie, and other
people like Fleetwood Mac and Denise Williams’s “Free would always kind of click with me
(snapping his fingers).
“Wonderstruck” directed by Todd Haynes. The screenplay was written by Brian Selznick, based
on his book. Stars Oakes Fegley, Millicent Simmonds, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and