Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
Just yesterday we heard that Martin Scorsese‘s adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret was looking to add Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley to the cast. Now it looks like the two lead child actors have been chosen, as well. Asa Butterfield will play the titular Hugo Cabret, and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) will play “an eccentric, bookish girl” who comes into Hugo’s life as he navigates the Parisian train station where he lives.
Deadline has the casting news. Butterfield is probably an unknown quantity to some, but he’s got a couple big credits: he was in The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and just finished Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. He was also briefly in The Wolfman and Son of Rambow. Moretz, of course, was in (500) Days of Summer and has been making waves as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass.
To reiterate the plot, here’s Publisher’s Weekly:
Twelve-year-old orphan Hugo lives in the walls of a Paris train station at the turn of the 20th century, where he tends to the clocks and filches what he needs to survive. Hugo’s recently deceased father, a clockmaker, worked in a museum where he discovered an automaton: a human-like figure seated at a desk, pen in hand, as if ready to deliver a message. After his father showed Hugo the robot, the boy became just as obsessed with getting the automaton to function as his father had been, and the man gave his son one of the notebooks he used to record the automaton’s inner workings.
That’s the beginning, and then there’s the bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, and a train inspector with some part to play. Sacha Baron Cohen is the inspector, and Kingsley, I believe, the old man. There’s a reveal there, which you’ll discover if you read yesterday’s casting report, linked above. At that point I didn’t realize that it was treated like a reveal by the book, but now I’ll refrain from mentioning details about Kingsley’s role, to preserve what I can of the story.