Super 8 may have been acclaimed for featuring the energetic performances of its adolescent cast, but it turns out the man in charge of finding these young actors was actually a convicted child molester, according to the L.A. Times.
Jason James Murphy, 35, worked under the assumed name of Jason James in Hollywood for years and helped cast young actors in movies like The Bad News Bears, The School of Rock, Cheaper by the Dozen, and the forthcoming Three Stooges adaptation. Because he worked under a false name, no background check brought up the fact that Murphy was convicted of kidnapping and molesting an 8-year-old boy in Seattle 15 years ago.
Super 8 director, J.J. Abrams, responded to this revelation by saying, "It's shocking and it's devastating, not just as a filmmaker but as a father and someone who is entrusted to make sure that everyone I work with, especially children, are safe," Abrams continued, "To think that someone like this was among us is unthinkable."
According to the L.A. Times, "California law prohibits sex offenders whose victims were younger than 16 from 'working directly and in an unaccompanied setting with minor children on more than an incidental and occasional basis or have supervision or disciplinary power over minor children.' The law also requires offenders to notify law enforcement within five days of any name change." As of now, there are no complaints that any inappropriate activities happened while Murphy was casting these young actors.
Abrams informed Paramount Pictures of James' past crimes after his manager learned of the conviction; Paramount then notified the police. We certainly hope that Joe Pa is taking notes.
[via The LA Times, IMDB]