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The Adam Project Moments That Prove Young Adam Was Perfectly Cast

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

"The Adam Project" is chock-full of highly established actors, including Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldana, and Catherine Keener. But even among so many Hollywood heavyweights, talented newcomer Walker Scobell manages to steal quite a few scenes, and he leaves an indelible impression with his performance in the pic.

Scobell stars in the film as 12-year-old Adam Reid, a boy who's routinely picked on by the schoolyard bully because he's both small and an unapologetic smart aleck. Though Adam's loud mouth is constantly getting him into trouble — and it also makes his mother Ellie's (Garner) life more difficult — he's also quietly grieving the sudden death of his father, Louis (Ruffalo), in his own way beneath all that brashness.

However, Adam's life is completely turned upside-down when he meets a grown-up version of himself (Reynolds), who's traveled from the future in hopes of stopping something terrible from happening in the past. As young Adam grapples with the news that time travel exists — and that it will give him one last chance to say goodbye to his dad — Scobell imbues his performance with some truly heartrending drama. At the same time, he's also a total stitch in the film's funnier moments and proves to be a stellar screen partner for Ryan Reynolds. Here's a look at all of "The Adam Project" moments that prove Walker Scobell was the perfect casting choice for young Adam.

No fear

One of the first scenes that shows off Scobell's shine happens right at the beginning of the film, when Adam is on the run from a pair of boys named Ray (Braxton Bjerken) and Chuck (Kasra Wong). Adam is clearly in a hurry to escape the wrath of his nemeses, but when he accidentally knocks a girl's books over, he takes the time to apologize, help her gather her things, and even flirt a bit, which makes for an adorable and rather hilarious little interruption to the chase.

Even more endearing is his reaction to finally being confronted with the pain he already knows is coming when Ray catches up to him. Clearly, this isn't Adam's first rodeo with his personal bully, but even the imminent threat of a fist to the nose doesn't stop him from being a pint-sized wisecracker. In this intense but comical scene, Scobell doesn't miss a beat in setting the tone for Adam's personality as a fearless little fella who isn't afraid to let his big talk make up for what he lacks in physical size.

Total brainiac

Walker Scobell's knack for mile-a-minute dialogue delivery isn't just essential to establishing who Adam is as a character; it also makes him a unique screen companion for co-star Ryan Reynolds, who's famous for his zippy lines and deadpanning prowess. The first time the two ages of Adams collide in the 2022 timeline is a great moment to showcase just how well these actors mirror each other in their quick quipping skills.

For starters, they both have sass to spare and immediately begin trading sharp barbs, and after a brief bit of panic, young Adam adapts surprisingly well to the news that his future self just traveled through space and time. In fact, instead of losing his cool about this unbelievable exchange, little Adam starts digging into some cosmic theories about the multiverse and interdimensional travel. Scobell's ability to make the character vulnerable, exceptionally resilient, and curious is completely on point as he comes to know — and even out-nerd — his future self.

The right stuff

As if coming face to face with a version of himself that's more than three decades his senior isn't enough of a thrill, things get even more action-packed when elder Adam's evil boss, Mya Sorian (Catherine Keener), comes crashing into the timeline with a ship full of soldiers. As with all of the gobsmacking information little Adam has received already, he handles the sudden smashing in his front yard with remarkable poise, even as he's whisked along for a potentially deadly ride with the older Adam.

In fact, little Adam is quicker to accept this unusual reality than even big Adam is, especially when his thought-to-be-dead wife, Laura (Zoe Saldana), comes barging in to lend a hand during the battle. As usual, little Adam uses humor to diffuse some potential awkward moments, and when it's time for him to step up and join the fight alongside his older self, he raises his hand to activate the ship-summoning device without a beat of hesitation. Here, in these critical moments of coming to terms with something enormous in the matter of seconds, Walker Scobell manages to say so much with his expressions, which makes his delightful line deliveries pack even more of a punch.

Heavy heart

With both versions of Adam, the constant use of sarcasm is really just a defense mechanism to cope with some very deep feelings that eventually come bubbling up to the surface. And as clever and funny as Walker Scobell's portrayal of young Adam is, when he gets the chance to lift the veil on the character's true emotional experiences, he nails it just as well as any punchline he delivers throughout the picture.

There's a moment, for example, when he has a heart-to-heart with the older version of Adam ahead of their fateful reunion with their late father. They both know seeing him alive and well in the 2018 timeline is going to be a remarkable experience, but little Adam also sees it as an opportunity to prevent this devastating loss in the first place. So when his elder counterpart makes him promise to resist the urge to warn their dad about the deadly accident in his future, Adam's expression becomes completely crestfallen before he, once again, visibly accepts this difficult reality for what it is, however heartbreaking it may be. 

Another moment that allows Scobell to shine with maturity beyond his years comes when he decides to deliver his own emotional reality check to his older self, reminding him of all of the good things he's forgotten about his dad. As little Adam details all of the precious details about their father that he knows he will forget, Scobell layers the scene with so much heart and wholesomeness that it's hard not to weep. Even Adam's more sardonic, older self can't help but be amazed by the authenticity of this moment.

All in all, in "The Adam Project," Walker Scobell more than holds his own with a slew of seminal screen stars and deliver a performance that's absolutely hilarious and completely devastating in equal measure, proving he was the perfect choice to play this very special little boy.