Is the next Spielberg star somewhere in the South Okanagan?

Steven Spielberg and Mark Rylance

Somewhere in the Okanagan — perhaps even in Osoyoos or Oliver — there might be a six- to nine-year-old boy Steven Spielberg wants to make famous.

The Okanagan Film Commission is advertising a casting search for the lead character for The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara. The movie will shoot in Europe in 2017.

The role is described as a “unique and very challenging part for a truly special boy.”

According to the Film Commission, the story deals with the complexity of an extremely intelligent and gifted child’s situation — his desire to return to his family and the faith of his ancestors, pitted against his ability to learn the Catechism and engage with the Pope on a level far beyond his years.

The ideal Edgardo should appear to be a Jewish Italian child. An Italian accent is not necessary.

Here’s the story line:

Edgardo Mortara is a six-year-old Jewish boy from Bologna who was reported to have been secretly baptized by a maid and was deemed by the Catholic church therefore to be Christian.

07_01_harminder_01Pope Pius IX (to be played by Mark Rylance) decreed the boy could not remain with his Jewish family. He was seized by the Papal State and taken to the Vatican where his indoctrination into Catholicism began. This was a cause célèbre of mid-nineteenth century European politics and the domestic and international outrage against the pontifical state’s actions may have contributed to its downfall amid the unification of Italy.

Parents interested in presenting on behalf of their son can visit for instructions. A submitted video clip should be of the child reading the sides (scene), slate & introduction.

Deadline for submissions is September 30.

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