x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Top Five: Child drivers

From a Chinese orphan who tied blocks to his feet to reach the accelerator to the son who acted as his father's getaway driver while he robbed banks, meet five miniature motorists.

The young James T Kirk in the 2009 big-screen version of Star Trek.
The young James T Kirk in the 2009 big-screen version of Star Trek.

Children should be seen and not heard, and they should certainly not be driving. But these kids started putting the pedal to metal at an early age on the silver screen. From a Chinese orphan who tied blocks to his feet to reach the accelerator to the son who acted as his father's getaway driver while he robbed banks, meet five miniature motorists.

 

Short Round

The Chinese orphan joined the Indiana Jones adventures in the second film, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The 11-year-old Short Round is able to drive by tying wooden blocks to the bottom of his shoes. Jonathan Ke Quan won the role after beating 6,000 other children auditioning, including his own brother. The character is named after the screenwriters' dog and was voted in a poll, before the release of the fourth film in 2008, as Indy's favourite sidekick.

 

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in The Chamber of Secrets were too young, at the age of 12, to drive a normal Ford Anglia, let alone a flying one. After missing the train to Hogwarts, the two characters in the film, based on the second of JK Rowling's boy-wizard series, steal the car belonging to Ron's father, Arthur. Arthur had enchanted this Ford Anglia, giving it the power of flight. The Anglia used in the film now resides at the Cars of the Stars museum in Keswick, England.

 

James T Kirk

A 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray is a classic now; imagine how priceless it would be in the 23rd century. So when a 13-year-old James T Kirk steals his stepfather's vehicle to go joyriding, listening to the Beastie Boys' Sabotage, and, after being chased by a police hoverbike, drives it off a cliff, you can guess the boy is in some serious trouble. The destruction of the 1960s car was seen by some as a metaphor for throwing away the old Star Trek and the start of a new era with the 2009 film.

 

Michael Sullivan, Jr

Most fathers teach their sons to drive at an appropriate age and to give them a sense of freedom. Not Michael Sullivan; he taught Junior how to drive to act as his getaway driver while he robbed banks. The 14-year-old actor Tyler Hoechlin was chosen from more than 2,000 candidates to portray Tom Hanks's character's son in the 2002 film Road to Perdition. Hoechlin was taught how to drive for the film, but there was a stunt driver in the back with his own set of controls.

 

Anakin Skywalker

The nine-year-old slave was a gifted pilot at podracing on the planet of Tatooine. His ability to see things before they happen gave him an edge and he used this ability to win his freedom after being taken under the wings of a couple of Jedi masters. But after this he goes pretty crazy, kills nearly all the Jedi warriors, becomes more machine than man and helps rule the Empire with an iron fist. And still, during all this his podracing trophies stayed on the mantlepiece ... probably.