Fabelmans, The: Spielberg Casts Six Child Actors to Semi-Autobiographical Film

Spielberg Adds Six Child Actors to Semi-Autobiographical Film ‘The Fabelmans’

Gabriel Bateman, Gustavo Escobar, Nicolas Cantu
Storm Santos / Courtesy of Gustavo Escobar / Ben Cope / Jen Dodson

Spielberg has cast several young actors in his semi-autobiographical film, The Fabelmans, about his adolescence as aspiring filmmaker in Arizona.

Gabriel Bateman (“Child’s Play”), Gustavo Escobar (“Instant Family”), Nicolas Cantu (“The Walking Dead: World Beyond”), Cooper Dodson (“Fear the Walking Dead”), Lane Factor (“Reservation Dogs”) and Stephen Smith (“The 15:17 to Paris”) are playing the friends of the character loosely based on Spielberg, portrayed by Gabriel LaBelle.

They join an ensemble that includes Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Paul Dano, Judd Hirsch, Sam Rechner, Oakes Fegley, Chloe East, Julia Butters, Jeannie Berlin, Robin Bartlett, Jonathan Hadary and Isabelle Kusman.

Spielberg co-wrote the screenplay for The Fabelmans with his collaborator Tony Kushner (“Lincoln”). They’re both also producing the film with Kristie Macosko Krieger, backed by Spielberg’s company Amblin Partners.

The film is currently in production, with a planned 2022 release.

Bateman, the younger brother of actor Talitha Bateman, is best known for MGM’s 2019 reboot of “Child’s Play” and the Russell Crowe thriller “Unhinged.” He most recently starred opposite Justin Theroux in the Apple TV Plus series “The Mosquito Coast,” which starts filming Season 2 this fall, and he’ll next star in the anthology series “Just Beyond” for Disney Plus.

Escobar has been acting since he was 4 in film, TV and over 48 commercials. In 2018, he appeared opposite Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne in the dramedy “Instant Family,” and opposite Jennifer Garner in the thriller “Peppermint.” He’s also appeared on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “The Potwins” and “Shameless.”

Cantu currently stars on AMC’s “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” with the final season premiering October 3. He also voices the character of Dak in the DreamWorks animated series “Dragons: Rescue Riders” from Netflix, and he’s the voice of Gumball in Cartoon Network’s “The Amazing World of Gumball,” for which he earned an Annie Award nomination.

Dodson is known for recurring arcs on AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” in 2019 and FX’s “American Horror Story: Cult,” in which he played the son of Sarah Paulson and Alison Pill. He’s also appeared on “Preacher” and in “Daddy’s Home” opposite Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell.

Factor, a native of Oklahoma, made his onscreen debut playing Cheese, one of the leads in Reservation Dogs, FX’s acclaimed drama series for Hulu, produced by Sterlin Harjo and Oscar winner Taika Waititi, about Native American teenagers on a reservation in Oklahoma.

Lane is Native American and an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation, and he is also Creek and Caddo. He’s repped by Darryl Mork Talent.

The up-and-coming Smith has appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 2018 film “The 15:17 to Paris” and the 2016 drama “Miracles from Heaven,” and also worked as a model.