Adding Tom Wilkinson to virtually any project makes it better, so by logic, Alejandro Monteverde’s Little Boy just improved.

Variety notes that the Oscar-nominated character actor will be joining Ben Chaplin, Emily Watson and David Henrie for the historical family drama Little Boy, which is set during the early moments of WWII. The story focuses on a teenage boy (played by Henrie) who must care for his developmentally disabled brother after their father is called off to war. Some of the issues the siblings contend with include cruel schoolmates and other societal problems.

Little Boy began its 11-week shoot in California earlier this week, the trade reports. It’s possible Wilkinson jumped over to Monteverde’s intimate drama after The Lone Ranger -- of which he was negotiating to be an ensemble member -- stalled. Not that Wilkinson’s every really starving for work. The prolific performer is about to be seen in John Madden’s commendable period thriller The Debt. He also has roles in Brad Bird’s upcoming Mission: Impossible sequel, Ghost Protocol, and he recently wrapped work on David Weaver’s The Samaritan opposite Samuel L. Jackson.

What’s strange is that the Variety story makes no mention of Kevin James, even though we reported a few weeks back that he was taking part in the independent film. Does that mean James is out? Was he ever attached in the first place? We made note at the time of the fact that he didn’t seem like a natural fit for the story. Maybe that was a casting mistake that quietly corrected itself?

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