EXCLUSIVE: After an extensive casting search, newcomer Millicent Simmonds has landed a primary role in Todd Haynes’ next film Wonderstruck. Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, the Amazon Studios pic will chart the intertwined stories of two deaf children: Ben, who lives with his family in Minnesota in 1977 and runs off to New York following his mother’s death when a mysterious note shows up, and Rose, locked in a house in 1927 New Jersey, who also escapes to New York to see her idol, film actress Lillian Mayhew.

The 13-year-old Simmonds, a deaf actress from Utah, will play Rose, whose half of Wonderstruck will be presented as a silent film in both a nod to movie history and an aesthetic designed to capture her perspective. In addition, this section of the narrative will see an unprecedented number of deaf actors in roles that would normally go to hearing actors.

Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Jaden Michael also star, with more cast to be announced soon.

Haynes is directing Wonderstruck from a script by Selznick, with Christine Vachon, Pam Koffler and John Sloss producing and Brian Bell and Sandy Powell executive producing.