The Teen Stars of 'Moonrise Kingdom' Are Two New Face to Watch

Wes Anderson's new film "Moonrise Kingdom" opened to rave reviews at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and is set to open nationwide on Friday, May 25. Anderson is, once again, working with some of his usual cast of characters including Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. But this time he has added a few other notables like Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Frances MacDormand to the mix.

Yet with this star-studded line-up, most surprisingly the newcomers steal the show. Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman were discovered by director Anderson after a six-month nationwide casting call. It is the first professional acting gig for both children, who were just 12 years old at the time of filming and are now thirteen.

'Moonrise Kingdom' Is a Tale of Young Love

The movie tells the story of two young kids who spend a year writing letters to each other after they first meet. Eventually they decide to run off together. In order to recreate that bond, the young actors also corresponded by mail from the time they were cast until shooting began.

In the film, which is set in 1965, Gilman plays Sam, a coon-skin cap wearing 12-year-old orphan who runs away from his Boy Scout troupe, led by Edward Norton, when he falls in love with his pen pal. Hayward plays Suzy, the object of his affections, a troubled teen, who is the youngest in a family of three older brothers and neglectful parents, portrayed by Frances MacDormand and Bill Murray.

'Moonrise Kingdom' Is Wes Anderson's Fantasy of First Love

Anderson told Jake Coyle from AP that the movie was based on his own recollections of first love. He stated, "It's a memory of an emotion, but kind of a memory of a fantasy as well... Everything that happens in the story is what didn't happen to me."

The Hollywood Reporter's review of the film after it opened in Cannes stated, "Anderson is able to express sincere personal connection and compatibility while employing a highly artificial style. The result is that the core of 'Kingdom' - the bond between the leads played so forthrightly by newcomers Hayward and Gilman - is strong, even bracing in its resilience."

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman Make Their Professional Debut

Not much is known yet about the teen stars, but they are surely two to watch. While neither has worked professionally before, both have expressed an interest in acting in the past.

Gilman has studied both acting and filmmaking at summer camps and art studios and, in addition, makes his own short action videos on the side. In his free time growing up in New Jersey, he also participates on the fencing and cross country teams and loves to play golf.

Hayward is not as much of a jock as her co-star. In fact, she is more the brainy type. Aside from her pursuit of acting in summer camp, the teenager has been a Mensa member since she was nine and likes to read, dance and write poetry.

"Moorise Kingdom" opens nationwide on May 25. Check local listings for theaters and showtimes.

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