Unless you've been living under a rock this summer, you know about The Visit — the newest addition to the found footage horror film genre that includes The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity series. Trailers for The Visit have taken over the world (or, at least, my online world), and they all start out the same: two young siblings, Becca and Tyler, go to stay with their grandparents for a weekend visit. Yet despite it's buzz, its two young stars remain a mystery. So, who plays the kids in The Visit? The answer: two young, Australian actors named Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould. (Yes, they do have super cool names. No, I'm not jealous...)
And what roles they get to play. In the film, everything looks picture perfect at first, from the cottage in the woods to the bonding activity of baking chocolate cookies. Then, things get weird. Nana walks around scratching the walls naked at night, Pop Pop seems threatening and, worst of all, Nana asks Becca if she'll "get inside the oven to clean it." (Ahhh!) The massive marketing campaign, plus the fact that the film marks director M. Night Shyamalan's first real foray into the horror genre, is making The Visit, which opens in theaters on Sept. 11, one of the most talked-about movies of the moment.
Shyamalan has a habit of casting young up-and-comers in his films, be it The Sixth Sense's Hayley Joel Osment or Abigail Breslin in Signs, and the casting of The Visit was especially crucial. The film is told entirely from "found footage" belonging to Becca, an aspiring filmmaker, making her a sort of on-screen director. Not only that, but Shyamalan financed the film with $5 million of his own money, raising the stakes to the tune of millions. With his personal cash on the line, I'd bet the director wanted the best possible cast. So, it's safe to assume that DeJonge and Oxenbould could be next in
line for young Hollywood stardom. Speaking of his work with young actors, Shyamalan revealed that he made a point to treat Oxenbould and DeJonge like adults
Odds are, if you're not from Australia, you probably don't really know Olivia DeJonge or Ed Oxenbould, two relatively new actors who got their start working in short films in their home country. Oxenbould, 14, started acting professionally when he was only 10. Since his 2011 debut, he has appeared in a handful of short films and episodes of the Australian television show Puberty Blues, as well as the Australian film Paper Planes. Oxenbould recently made his Hollywood debut in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, in which he played the unfortunate title character, Alexander.
DeJonge, 17, started acting around the same time, earning her first IMDB credit playing Ally in the short film Good Pretender. Like Oxenbould, DeJonge also got her feet wet appearing in an Australian television show, Hiding, but unlike Oxenbould, DeJonge has yet to headline a major Hollywood picture. That's not to say DeJonge hasn't already had success. She starred in the much buzzed-about indie film, The Sisterhood of Night from director Caryn Waechter, a movie about teenage girls who create an exclusive club that gets them in a world of trouble.
Depending on the success of The Visit, both DeJonge and Oxenbould could be here to stay. Oxenbould's IMDB page doesn't hint at any future projects, but DeJonge already has two other horror films in the works, Scare Campaign and Safe Neighborhood. For now, it looks like DeJonge and Oxenbould have nothing but bright futures ahead of them, as long as they stay out of the oven.
Images: Universal Pictures