Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Director Stephen Daldry has set Thomas Horn to play the lead role alongside Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the Eric Roth-scripted adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s acclaimed novel for Warner Bros and producer Scott Rudin. Production begins early next year.

Daldry needed an exceptionally intelligent kid to play Oskar Schell, the bright and precocious 9-year old whose father is killed in the World Trade Center terror attack. The youth finds a key left behind in his father’s belongings, and sets out on a cathartic journey to uncover the lock. Horn is something of a wiz kid himself, making national headlines in October when the 12-year old won first place on Jeopardy!, winning in a $12,000 final wager that brought him $31,800 in prize money. Horn has already signed with ICM, the agency that also reps young thesps Hailee Steinfeld, (a revelation in True Grit), Abigail Breslin and Kodi Smit-McPhee from Let Me In.