Back in his pre-"Alice in Wonderland" days, Tim Burton took a chance by casting Winona Ryder, a relative unknown at the time, in "Beetlejuice." In doing so, he catapulted her career into the stratosphere. More than 20 years later, Burton is taking another chance on a dark-haired, fair-skinned young actor -- an Australian boy named Gulliver McGrath. Burton handpicked him out of a slew of hopefuls to join the ensemble in his star-studded vampire comedy "Dark Shadows." While it's pretty early to bet, we have a good feeling this kid will go places like Ryder. And we're not talking about prison.
What He's Done: Prior to going to the dark side for Tim Burton, the Australian child actor appeared briefly in Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning 3-D extravaganza "Hugo," worked opposite fellow Aussie Guy Pearce in a stage production of "Poor Boy" and acted in the horror film "The Loved Ones" (opening in select theaters this summer).
What He's Doing Now: In Tim Burton's adaptation of the beloved ABC gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows," McGrath plays David Collins, son to bad-boy father Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) and distant relative to vampire Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp in ghoul mode). Other than that, he's undoubtedly prepping for his breakthrough by practicing his red-carpet pose ... and going to school.
Reminds Us of: We hope it's not a bad sign, but there's no denying McGrath's eerie resemblance to child actor Harvey Stephens, who played Damien (aka the Antichrist) in the horror classic "The Omen" (not the tepid 2006 remake). Stephens didn't go on to do much else with his acting career, apart from appearing in the remake as Tabloid Reporter #3. We have a distinct feeling that McGrath, unlike Stephens, has staying power.
Fun Facts: He was up for the lead in "Hugo," losing out to Asa Butterfield for the coveted part, but still popping up in a small role. His "Dark Shadows" costar Chloe Grace Moretz also appeared in "Hugo." Also, in a meta bit of casting, Steven Spielberg cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt -- who played the role of David Collins in the 1990 series revival of "Dark Shadows" -- and McGrath as brothers (!) in his upcoming epic, "Lincoln."
Also Check Out: Burton & Depp Go '70s Goth in "Dark Shadows" Trailer
Quotable: The kid's too young to be bothered with press. We have a feeling once "Dark Shadows" comes out, he'll be forced to do some, so be on the lookout!
What's Next: How does McGrath follow up working with Scorsese and Burton, all before becoming a teenager? Work with Spielberg! Up next for the pint-sized wonder is Spielberg's anticipated historical epic "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president. McGrath will be playing Tad Lincoln, the fourth and youngest son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. The film opens this December, just in time for Oscar season. Talk about a great 2012.