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Sony Pictures Classics
Jackie Evancho stars in “The Company You Keep,” which opened Friday.

‘Talent’ sensation in ‘Company’ with Redford

When you’re Jackie Evancho, the milestones come in waves.

This month alone, Jackie turned 13, performed in Taiwan with Spanish tenor Jose Carreras in front of a rain-soaked but riveted crowd of 30,000 and, oh yes, made her movie debut.

She plays Robert Redford’s character’s daughter, Isabel Grant, in “The Company You Keep.” The drama opened in limited release April 5 and has been adding theaters each week.

Redford discovered her on a PBS pledge programming showcase. It turned out that he and “Company You Keep” co-star Susan Sarandon separately were watching the same special.

In March 2012, Sarandon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “I went in the next day and I was talking about her, and he said, ‘Oh my God, is that that girl? I saw her, too. Do you think she could play my daughter?’ And the next thing I knew, they’d gotten an audition tape flown in, and she’s in the movie, but she got there after I left.”

Redford and Jackie look like (later in life) father and daughter and share an easy rapport on screen. They didn’t have the luxury of spending time together ahead of shooting but carved out some during production.

“After I sent the audition tape in, I went and I filmed and we spoke a little bit before filming, but it was mainly getting to know each other while we were filming,” Jackie said in a phone call. “It was nice, though; there was a lot of time for waiting, so we got to know each other.”

And just what is Robert Redford like?

“I was kind of surprised at how gracious he was. A star being as big and legendary as he is, I would assume you’d have a bit of an attitude or something, but he was very gracious and down to earth and understanding. And he is such a nice person.”

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