Robert Redford hired a child star for a role in his new movie after spotting her on America's Got Talent.

The Hollywood veteran saw 12-year-old soprano Jackie Evancho when she was competing on the show in 2010, and decided she would be perfect for his new political thriller The Company You Keep.

Redford, who directed the film, admits he took a gamble on an unknown talent but the risk paid off.

He tells, "I'm sitting in the hotel room and I'm surfing Tv, boom there comes this beautiful, angelic face on a show called America's Got Talent. I thought, maybe she could act. It was a risk. She showed up two days later... it goes to show you risks are worth taking; she turned out to be the most real, human kid."

Evancho, who finished in second place on the fifth season of America's Got Talent, appears in the film alongside Susan Sarandon and Shia LaBeouf.