Tye Sheridan, who was selected as one of the Hamptons International Film Festival and Variety‘s 10 Actors to Watch last year, has been cast in the role of Cyclops in the eighth installment in the X-Men film franchise.
Variety saw promise in the young actor, who was a month shy of his 18th birthday when he and nine other up-and-coming thespians were recognized in East Hampton at the film festival in October.
In Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, expected to hit theaters in 2016, Sheridan is playing a younger version of the character originated by James Marsden. Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner will play opposite Sheridan as Cyclops’ love interest Jean Grey.
Sheridan is one of those rare young actors who was actually plucked from obscurity.
“I got a letter in the mail, and it was an invitation to come to an audition,” he recalls during an interview at the film festival. He was 11 years old, living in a small Texas town. His parents encouraged him to try out and see what happens.
“I didn’t think much about it,” he admits. “I didn’t think it would turn into a career or anything, that’s for sure.”
He was chosen from a field of 10,000 children for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, which stars Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain. However, the film wasn’t released in theaters until three years later.
“He takes years in the editing room—he’s a perfectionist,” Sheridan says of Malick. “And he doesn’t want to release something until it’s perfect, which can be tough at times, because you’re trying to get jobs, you’re trying to get other roles, and you don’t have anything people can see you in.”
When the film was finally released at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, it won the Palme d’Or, that festival’s highest award.
Sheridan next appeared in Jeff Nichols’s Mud, starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.
Currently in post-production are Grass Stains, which he co-starred in with fellow Actor to Watch Kaitlyn Dever, and Scouts vs. Zombies, directed by Christopher Landon of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.
Scouts vs. Zombies is his first big studio film, Sheridan says. “It’s a horror-comedy, but it’s heartfelt. And it has good characters and a really good story, and I think that’s what most people are going to be surprised by.”
He explains, “The movie’s about three Boy Scouts who have kind of lost their way, and are now in high school and dealing with their struggles with popularity and girls and parties. … This zombie apocalypse happens and they come back together and really find themselves again through the fight.”
Grass Stains, an indie film shot in 20 days with director Kyle Wilamowski, is quite a different movie. “It’s about two teenagers who fall in love,” Sheridan says. “The guy’s responsible for the death of her older brother, and she doesn’t know. His character is dealing with a guilty conscience and trying to keep up the relationship.”
Also among his film credits are Joe with Nicholas Cage and The Stanford Prison Experiment.
Sheridan says he felt super honored and grateful to be selected as one of the 10 Actors to Watch for 2014, especially considering some of the past actors who have been picked. “There are some really big names who have come out of that, and they are good at predicting a future career,” he says.
Sheridan isn’t the first future superhero the Hamptons International Film Festival recognized early in his career. Ezra Miller, who was picked as a breakthrough performer in 2011, has been cast as The Flash in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Justice League. Miller also appears with Sheridan in The Stanford Prison Experiment, which will debut at the Sundance Film Festival on Monday.