Time: The mystery box of J.J. Abrams' "Super 8"

From Time magazine:

Fanning, playing 14 when she was 12, is a showbiz pro, having co-starred in Sofia Coppola's Somewhere. But Courtney, 14 playing 12, was just an Idaho kid taking acting lessons when Abrams cast him. The stark tenderness of their scenes is surely due in part to the director's communicating with them peer to peer, as if, once again, he were a kid putting his friends through their movie paces. "He was 14 directing 13-year-olds," Spielberg says, "and the honesty that shows in every performance was the natural result."
Joel Courtney