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'Barefoot Bandit' movie casting speculation begins

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Source: It's important to choose an actor who resembles the bandit
  • One casting director says "Percy Jackson" star Logan Lerman should play the role
  • The movie will most likely follow the tone of "Catch Me If You Can," a source says
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(CNN) -- Hollywood producers couldn't have written Colton Harris-Moore's story better if they had dreamed it up themselves.

No one was surprised to hear that 20th Century Fox jumped at the chance to purchase the rights for a film based on the 19-year-old Washington native's exploits.

Harris-Moore, suspected of stealing automobiles, boats and airplanes, as well as committing a number of other thefts, earned his nickname -- the Barefoot Bandit -- by committing some of his crimes without shoes. In 2009, police found footprints in an Iowa airport hangar.

Harris-Moore was apprehended on July 11 after a high-speed boat chase in the Bahamas. He has since been moved to Miami, Florida, where he appeared before a federal judge at an identity hearing. He is being transferred to a federal prison in Seattle, Washington.

His story, which mirrors 2002's "Catch Me If You Can" -- based on the true story of con-artist Frank Abagnale Jr. -- has people talking, although details of the "Barefoot" film are still under lock and key.

"I wrote when he first started running that he would get a movie deal," CNN commenter SICKBOY70 wrote. "They offered him a reward to come in that was nowhere near what the movie people would offer."

Another CNN.com commenter, BostonChuck, wrote: "It's a good thing he was caught, he was breaking the law. However... this all seems like something out of Hollywood. It's going to make a heck of a movie!"

The prospect of a film version also has Hollywood casting directors talking about which young actor might play the role of the barefoot bandit.

"Crash" and "Iron Man" casting director Randi Hiller didn't hesitate when asked which young Hollywood star would make a good barefoot bandit. "['Percy Jackson' star] Logan Lerman. ... He's young, he's charming and he's a really good actor," Hiller said.

Lerman's charm could come in handy, too. Hiller said It's important to cast a likable young man because, while the Barefoot Bandit may be in the wrong, he's also the protagonist. "You kind of root for him, even though he's done something really, really wrong," she added.

Regardless of who nabs the role, Hiller said the film is sure to do well. "Everybody wants more information."

The movie will most likely follow the tone of "Catch Me If You Can," Hiller said. "It's not laugh out loud funny, but there's definitely amusing bits."

Casting director Tammara Billik, who also made the connection between the Barefoot Bandit and Leonardo DiCaprio's "Catch Me If You Can," said the movie will be a success, whether it's on the big screen or the flat screen.

When casting a role like this one, it's important to choose an actor who resembles the other person, she said. However, Billik added, it's important to remember that "his story is more familiar than his face."

"You don't want somebody who can't act, but looks exactly like the guy," she added, noting that it might be difficult to find an actor with Harris-Moore's 6-foot-5 frame -- which is why she suggests taller actors like "Friday Night Lights' " Zach Gilford and "The Last Song's" Liam Hemsworth.

 
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