The Making of Super 8
From the Huntington WV News:
The opposite of Elle, Joel Courtney had never had any professional acting experience at all when he was offered "Super 8's" lead role of Joe Lamb, a kid trying to come to grips with the sudden loss of his mother.
"I knew J.J. was taking a real chance on me and I didn't want to let him down. I wanted to do a good job for him, myself and for everybody working on the film," Joel explains.
Abrams adds, "I didn't want the main character in 'Super 8' to be the director of the movies. I wanted him to be the kid who follows the director, who's there because he's lost his mother and is having a tough time with his father and is looking for his way."
From the beginning, Joel understood why Joe devotes himself to making his friend's Super 8 movie at a time in his life when nothing else is certain. "Joe's mom has passed away and his dad, being the town deputy, is never really around," Joel comments. "So, Joe finds his only comfort with his friends. His dad wants him to be a regular kid and play baseball, but Joe just wants to make movies. He's in charge of all the makeup, sound and special effects and he loves that stuff."
Most of all, Joel was kept intrigued by the mounting tension of the story. "I love the mystery of it and it is a total adrenaline rush," he says.