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After inking a science-fiction role in Wake the Dead last year and popping up in the preview for Sassy Pants this January, Haley Joel Osment has pulled a kid star comeback hat trick, landing the lead role in I’ll Follow You Down. The formerly Muppet-faced Oscar nominee (for 1999’s The Sixth Sense) will star as Erol, the son of a scientist who mysteriously disappeared on a business trip. Years later, Erol makes an unsettling discovers about his father’s whereabouts.

Richie Mehta wrote and will direct Down. Lee Kim, who is producing the film under Resolute Films and Entertainment said, “Our main challenge was to find the right actor [with] the perfect balance of innocence, honesty and intelligence; Haley provides just that.”

Osment finds himself in an interesting position with this new slew of roles. Clearly, he’s having to pay his dues and re-establish himself, but it says a lot that these indie projects are getting noticed at all. Young actors from Kirsten Dunst to Shailene Woodley and Abigail Breslin are proving these days that starting out as a child actor isn’t necessarily a career-killer.

I’m not saying Osment is going to be competing with Shia LaBeouf or Taylor Lautner for tentpole popcorn flicks any time soon — their transitions from kiddie cuties to leading men proved seamless while Osment struggled with a failed Broadway debut and brushes with the law. But, on the spectrum of Daniel Radcliffe to Taran Noah Smith, it looks like there may just be some hope for Haley Joel Osment after all.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Are you hankering for more Haley? Has he gotten enough distance from his Sixth Sense days to establish himself as a legitimate adult actor? Are you intrigued by his upcoming roster of sci-fi indies and Sassy coming-of-age films?

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