Mike Flanagan saw 900 girls while casting Abra in Doctor Sleep

Ewan McGregor knew Kyliegh Curran was the one after a reading.

Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan and his team saw more than 900 girls while trying to find the perfect Abra for the movie.

In the new horror, which is a sequel to The Shining, Abra Stone is a young girl with formidable psychic abilities known as "the shining" and she has to hold her own in scenes with Ewan McGregor as Dan Torrance, a recovering addict with similar powers, and Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Rose the Hat, the leader of a cult who feeds on children with psychic abilities.

During a Q&A at a screening of the film in London, the director revealed the team saw 900 girls before finding 13-year-old Kyliegh Curran.

"We saw more than 900 girls trying to find the right one and you hear these stories about Hollywood casting that you hope are true and this is one of those stories," he said. "Kyliegh, who is a complete unknown, who is a local hire - she lived 15 minutes from our production offices - had submitted a tape, didn't have the big agency weight behind her - I don't think she even had a current headshot - and her tape did what it was supposed to do."

Curran's tape kept rising through the levels of the casting process until she made the final few, which included experienced actresses, and got called in to read with McGregor.

"She came in and read with Ewan and as soon as she walked out the room, the door hadn't quite closed yet, and he turned to us and said, 'It's obviously her, right?' and it was, we all completely agreed," the filmmaker recalled. "She's an amazing young talent. You hope in your career that you get to see someone really truly come out of nowhere like that and I'm honoured that we were there to able to see that happen for her because she's really something."

Doctor Sleep, an adaptation of Stephen King's 2013 novel of the same name, is in cinemas now.

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