Steven Spielberg has cast newcomer Thomas Sangster as Tintin in the new live-action film based on the comic book character.
For those who remember, he was the young boy who gets the girl in the film Love Actually. For those who don't, Thomas Sangster may yet become a household name. The sixth-former from south London, the Guardian can reveal, has been chosen by Steven Spielberg to be his Tintin for a three-movie adaptation of the boy reporter's adventures. The trilogy is likely to give the 17-year-old the same profile as Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, or Elijah Wood, who shot to international stardom as Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings series.
Spielberg has been working with Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, on how to bring Tintin to life. Now the production has taken another significant step with the casting of Sangster, alongside Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in the adaptation of Tolkien's books, as Captain Haddock.
Both actors spent a week in Los Angeles before Easter running through scenes for Spielberg and Jackson; work begins in earnest in September, with a view to releasing the first film in 2010.
Sangster admitted to the Guardian that he had not read Tintin until a few days ago. "But I've always loved the cartoons. I never saw the books because I was never that big on reading. When I was really young I watched some episodes and loved it.
"You can really escape into this fantasy world ... I love cars and aeroplanes and stuff, any car or any aeroplane or any gun that was ever used in Tintin would always be real, an exact copy of it so if it was a car it would be a Citroen and if it was a gun it would be a Luger."
"Tintin is like a super boy scout. He knows how to fly these things. He knows how to drive these things. It's just like common sense: he jumps in and goes, he doesn't need to think about any safety, he just goes where he pleases. For such a small kid he's very good at beating people up and, being a cartoon, nowadays you know, there's all that 'we can't be violent'".
Sangster played the son of Liam Neeson's character in Love Actually and played the eldest child in the Nanny McPhee film. He's also appeared in many other roles: here he's pictured playing young Caesar (Romulus Augustus) in the film The Last Legion.