Dale Robinette/Lionsgate
Jodi Guglielmi
August 10, 2016 10:00 AM

Jacob Tremblay is back, and he’s as aww-inducing as ever.

The Room actor, 9, stars in the upcoming drama Wonder alongside Julia Roberts – and PEOPLE has the first look.

The film, based on the best-selling book by R.J. Palacio, tells the story of a boy with facial differences who strives to be treated the same as his peers as he begins the year at a new school.

“The movie Wonder is about family, friendship, love and most of all, it’s about choosing kindness at every stage of life,” director Stephen Chbosky tells PEOPLE.

Chbosky said he chose Roberts, 48, and Tremblay to play the mother-son duo of Isabel and Auggie in the film not only because of their talent, but because of who they are when the camera stops rolling.

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“Julia and Jacob are not only great actors, they are great people. One of the special things about the movie Wonder is that we cast the actors as much for their humanity as their talent,” says the director. “Both Julia and Jacob are so normal yet so exceptional, not only at what they do, but who they are. That’s what makes them perfect to play Isabel and Auggie. You have to be grounded to fly that high.”

Also starring Owen Wilson, Wonder hits theaters April 7.

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