For J.J. Abrams, it might have been easier to work on a film using aliens from another planet than to work with inexperienced children on Super 8.
When it came to Super 8, some of the children had never been cast before, which was somewhat daunting for Abrams.
“Working with kids is something I had done only sparingly,” said Abrams. “In Star Trek, there was a young Kirk and a young Spock. But never really like this, and frankly I was terrified. I was dealing with two main actors who had never been cast before and never been on a set before. They didn’t know the most fundamental things about how a crew works. Everything was an alien experience for them. The fun of working with them, partly, is they weren’t professional kids.”
Then again, working with actors of any age can be a tricky business. “I don’t think working with actors, young or old, is ever very easy or a given,” said Abrams. “Everyone’s different. There are some actors with whom I feel I have this crazy psychic connection and I don’t feel like I have to say anything and they get what it is. When you’re casting, the most important thing is casting people who don’t necessarily have to be told what to do at every turn but will inspire you by coming up with things you never would have thought of.”