Judging by how long other people stayed on board for the big-screen version of Astro Boy, I'm amazed they finally found the time to cast their lead. In a press release sent to Comics2Film, Imagi Entertainment announced that Freddie Highmore (of Spiderwick Chronicles fame) will voice Astro Boy in the feature film. Originally created by Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy was the story of a boy robot fighting crime and dealing with some personal 'issues' about reconciling his circuitry with his burgeoning humanity.

Director David Bowers was quoted as saying, "It's terrific that Freddie has agreed to play Astro. He's a remarkably skilled young actor, whose freshness and vitality make him perfect for the role. Astro Boy is a beloved superhero and has captured hearts around the globe for more than 50 years. I can't wait to see where Freddie takes him." Not to rain on their parade, but some of the same things were said about Colin Brady and Michael Lachance -- look where they ended up.

It's going to be a busy year for the young actor; he's also currently working on the family flick, Eddie Dickens and the Awful End for Francis Lawrence. Highmore has been earning some good reviews for his performance in Chronicles, so I doubt that they will be replacing him anytime soon. Not bad for an actor that by the tender age of 16 has already worked with some of the biggest names in the business. Astro Boy is scheduled for release in 2009.