Oakes Tonne Fegley was born on 11 November 2004, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA. He’s an actor, best known for roles in popular films such as “Pete’s Dragon,” “The War with Grandpa,” and “The Fabelmans.” He has been working as an actor since he was seven years old, now as of 2023, he is 18 years old, and his height is listed as 5ft 8in (1.73m). He’s the older brother of actor Winslow Fegley, who was the star of the 2022 animated film “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile”.
Early Acting Career
After several short films, Oakes was cast in his first major motion picture in 2014’s “Fort Bliss.” The film tells the story of a female US Army medic who returns home following a tour of Afghanistan, and struggles to build a relationship with her son. In the film, Oakes worked alongside established actors such as Michelle Monaghan and Ron Livingston.
More projects soon opened to him, and in the same year he worked on “This is Where I Leave You” and “Board Walk Empire.” In the former film, he portrayed a young Judd Altman, the adult version of which was portrayed by Jason Bateman. Other stars in the film include Jane Fonda, Adam Driver and Tina Fey. In the latter TV series, for three episodes he played the role of a younger version of Elias Thompson portrayed by Shea Whigham, before moving on to other projects.
He then played the role of Gabriel Hayward in the television series “Person of Interest,” appearing in three episodes over the next three years. The science fiction show was considered one of the best of its kind, created by Jonathan Nolan and produced by JJ Abrams.
Rise to Prominence
2016 was pivotal for Oakes Fegley’s career, as he got back-to-back award-nominated projects with his stellar performances. The first project was the film “Pete’s Dragon,” in which he portrayed the titular character, Pete, in a remake of the 1977 musical of the same name released by Disney; other stars include Karl Urban and Bryce Dallas Howard. “Pete’s Dragon” tells the story of a boy who meets and befriends a dragon, creating problems when his town’s residents discover his secret.
— The Morning Call (@mcall) August 12, 2016
The film was financially successful at the box office, and competed closely with the release of “Suicide Squad” and “Sausage Party.” Critics also received the film positively, stating it was a great remake, honoring the original and retaining the charm that once made it popular. Oakes was nominated for a Young Artist Award for his performance.
The following year, he starred in the film “Wonderstruck,” which is based on the 2011 novel of the same name written by Brian Selznick. The film tells two different stories and switches between them, the first being set in 1927 while the second one is set in 1977. One of the key differences is that the older setting was in black and white; other stars in the film he worked with include Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Millicent Simmonds.
The film was distributed through Amazon and was a success, even competing for the prestigious Palme d’Or award during the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, getting a standing ovation. While it didn’t have a significant financial return due to limited theatrical screening, the reviews of it were mostly positive. Some people struggled with the shift in tone between the two settings, but overall, it gained praise. Oakes earned another Young Artist Award nomination for his performance as Ben.
In 2019, Fegley portrayed the role of a young Theo Decker opposite the adult version of the character played by Ansel Elgort. He worked alongside the younger versions of the two other main characters, as the film showed flashbacks. Other stars of the film include Finn Wolfhard and Ashleigh Cummings. The film is based on the novel of the same name written by Donna Tartt, and tells the story of a person who takes a famous painting called The Goldfinch during a terrorist bombing of a museum. The film didn’t fare well at the box office, having mostly negative reviews. Even the writer Tartt declared that she would no longer give the rights to any of her written works to films.
The following year, Oakes starred alongside Robert De Niro in the film “The War with Grandpa,” which tells the story of a boy and his grandfather as they engage in a prank war. Other stars of the film include Uma Thurman and Rob Riggle. One of the unusual parts about this film is that it showed a much younger version of Oakes. They filmed it in 2017, but numerous delays caused its release date to be pushed back three years. It didn’t fare well with critics, but still earned a small profit.
Things turned around for Oakes Fegley when he was cast in “The Fabelmans”, the film being a semi-autobiographical story based on the life of Steven Spielberg, about a young boy who discovers his love for filmmaking, and goes against all odds to pursue his dream. In the story, Oakes plays the role of the high school bully Chad Thomas. After Sammy Fabelman moves to a new school, he is often made fun of by Oakes, who mocks his Jewish heritage. Sammy was later able to turn it around by using his films to show Chad in a more positive light. According to reports, Oakes’s character is just a representation of the anti-Semitic bullies that Spielberg encountered during his adolescence.
While there were fictional parts of the film, it was reported that Spielberg was very emotional during filming, and even cried several times. The film was a great success, earned numerous nominations and awards, and is considered one of Spielberg’s best.
Fegley’s latest project is the Apple+ TV series “Dark Matter,” based on the science fiction novel of the same name written by Blake Crouch, working alongside Dayo Okeniyi, Jennifer Connelly, and Joel Edgerton.