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Stephen Daldry: Young Thomas Horn is 'a proper leading man'

January 19, 2012 | 12:02 pm

Alexander Payne Michel Hazanavicius Stephen Daldry Martin Scorse and George Clooney

Never work with children or animals, says the old show-business adage — advice largely ignored by five of this year's top directors.

In a visit to the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable, filmmakers Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") and George Clooney ("The Ides of March") spoke to The Times' John Horn about some of the unique challenges of working with kids and dogs.

In the case of Daldry and Thomas Horn (no relation to John), the 14-year-old star of "Extremely Loud," the director had to work around regulated hours, schooling sessions and meal breaks. "You don't have them for long," Daldry said of child actors.

Luckily, Thomas' talent made up for the extra work. "In terms of his professionalism and dedication and his preparation and his charm on set and his clarity and intelligence — no issues at all," Daldry said of the young actor, a first-timer. "He was fantastic."

Scorsese rattled off a list of challenges he faced shooting "Hugo": two child actors (Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz), a 3-D camera rig, dogs — "and then Sacha Baron Cohen," he deadpanned.

See more of what the directors had to say in the video below, and check back for more clips from the Directors Roundtable on Friday and next week.


George Clooney, director: I look for films 'in my wheelhouse'

Martin Scorsese: Doing just one shot makes a fine 'first half-day'

Alexander Payne: Machinery of filmmaking mars 'intimacy of a shoot'

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Directors Alexander Payne, from left, Michel Hazanavicius, Stephen Daldry, Martin Scorsese and George Clooney gather to discuss their craft. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times