Finding Neverland co-stars Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet have helped unknown child actor Freddie Highmore win a career-launching role in the remake of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.

The superstar duo - who played opposite the talented youngster in forthcoming movie FINDING NEVERLAND - were stunned by Highmore's natural acting ability.

So when director Tim Burton was looking for the perfect boy to play protagonist CHARLIE BUCKET in the second big screen adaptation of the ROALD DAHL best-seller, both stars recommended the 12-year-old.

Kate gushes, "He is something else. I would literally get hairs up on the back of my neck watching this kid act. Its so rare you feel that - not only with a child actor but also any actor you work with.

"You seldom have this incredibly unnerving feelings that they've completely transported themselves into someone else's head. With this kid, it's a scary gift."

Highmore will now play opposite Depp's WILLY WONKA and Helena Bonham Carter's MRS BUCKET.

14/07/2004 09:54