Astro Boy Is Cast February 29, 2008 There is a secret in the life of Mussolini: a wife and a son, Benito Albino, who was born, acknowledged and then denied. The secret bears a name: Ida Dalser. It is a dark page in history, one ignored in the official biography of the Duce. When Ida meets Mussolini in Milan, he is the editor of Avanti! and an ardent Socialist who intends to guide the masses towards an anti-clerical, anti-monarchical, socially emancipated future. Ida already had a fleeting encounter with him in Trento and remained thunderstruck. Ida truly believes in him and his ideas. In order to finance Il Popolo d’Italia, a newspaper he has founded and the nucleus of the forthcoming Fascist Party, Ida sells everything she has. When WWI erupts, Benito Mussolini enrolls in the Army and disappears. When Ida finds him again in a military hospital, he is tended to by Rachele whom he has just married. Ida lashes out at her rival furiously, demanding her rights as Mussolini’s true wife and the mother of his first-born son. She is led away by force. For more than 11 years, she is locked away in an insane asylum (and her son in an institute) where she is put under physical restraint and tortured, never to see her son again. But Ida will not give up without a fight. Freddie Highmore might be only 16 but he certainly has Hollywood eating out of the palm of his hand. He’s already had a hand in ‘Charlie & The Chocolate Factory’, ‘August Rush’, ‘The Golden Compass’ and he stars in ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’ opening next month. Now news reaches us that he’s been cast in next years ‘Astro Boy’, a CGI update of the classic Japanese animated series.The cartoon has a large cult following around the world thanks to cutting edge storylines based on a scientist who creates a robotic replication of his deceased son. Director David Bowers was quoted as saying, “It’s terrific that Freddie has agreed to play Astro. He’s a remarkably skilled young actor, whose freshness and vitality make him perfect for the role. Astro Boy is a beloved superhero and has captured hearts around the globe for more than 50 years. I can’t wait to see where Freddie takes him.” Movies.ie interviewed Freddie Highmore recently for ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’, you can view our video interview next week as part of our video podcast!