Pacific Northwest actor Jacob Tremblay stars in the new movie Wonder, alongside Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.
The Langley, B.C. native plays a 10-year-old boy named Auggie whose craniofacial deformities make attending school for the first time especially difficult.
"They had a helmet which was connected to the mechanism which pulled down my lower eyelids, (I wore) dentures, contact lenses, and last but not least, the wig,” Tremblay said.
As he navigates 5th grade, Auggie faces bullying and isolation. But the support of his family and his own internal strength help him overcome every obstacle and make meaningful friendships.
Roberts says the themes are universal.
“Unfortunately, in the world we live in, you don't have to search your mind far to find what it’s like to feel unheard and unseen and isolated,” she said. "No matter how nice you are, we can always be nicer. However disinterested you are, you can always be more interested."
Both she and Wilson said they were drawn to their roles as parents because the script felt authentic.
"Sometimes you read stuff with a family where it's too sentimental or too cloying,” he said. “I felt this did a great job of not doing that."
Actress Izabela Vidovic - who plays Auggie’s sister - produced a short film about bullying several years ago.
"I think the way you're raised really determines what kind of person you're going to be. Just inevitably,” she said. “Because what you see at home, you tend to imitate."
Wonder centers on a family worth imitating - one that communicates candidly, laughs loudly, and loves unabashedly.
Tremblay hopes the film's clear messages will resonate with other kids his age.
"To choose kind,” he said. "To be proud of themselves and to be brave and to power through anything that's hard for them."
Wonder is rated PG and opens in theaters on Nov. 17.