Quvenzhané Wallis (pronounced Kwah-VAHN-Jah-Nay) has taken the film world by storm. This eight-year old actress has marveled audiences with her tender portrayal of Hushpuppy in the upcoming drama, Beasts of the Southern Wild.
The young girl with the old soul, nicknamed “Nazie”, is featured on the cover of Scene Magazine as she, director Behn Zeitlin and her co-star, Dwight Henry are making the rounds after the film won top honors at Sundance and the Cannes film festivals. Slated for release later this month, Nazie has displayed a tremendous sense of humor as well, not totally comprehending the amazing position she finds herself in.
Adapted from Lucy Alibar’s play Juicy and Delicious, Beasts of the Southern Wild is set on the Gulf Coast of South Louisiana. At the center of the story is Hushpuppy (Wallis), the daughter of an impoverished man named Wink (Henry). An exhaustive search for the young girl who would embody Hushpuppy ended in the city of Houma with Louisiana native Wallis.
Her big screen debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival was lauded. In an early review, Variety proclaimed her “possessed of incredible poise and almost feral intensity.” The Hollywood Reporter remarked that “her tenacity and fortitude seem absolutely real, not posed or artificially induced.” And the New York Times said the film is “among the best films to play at the festival in two decades.”
Where are you from?
QW: I was in my mom’s stomach whenever we lived in Houma.
What was your response (when you found out you got the part)? Did you jump up and down?
QW: No, I was just like, “Ok,” then I got back on the computer.
After you were cast, I’m sure you started doing rehearsals. What was it like working with the director, Benh Zeitlin?
QW: It was fun because whenever I would get mad or sad, he would have to take off his hat and hit me with it to make me angry.
He would hit you?
QW: Yes, with his hat. And it was a blue hat and he would hit me with it. I told him to do it, anyway.
Tell me about your character, Hushpuppy.
QW: Hushpuppy, she’s wild, as you can see in the movie. She is wild, she’s always in the forest. She’s always doing something she’s not supposed to be doing.
Who is her dad?
QW: My dad in the movie is Mr. Henry, who plays Wink. He’s my father and he got sick, because I hit him in his chest and he was a piece of the world. And if only one piece of the world gets broken, everything gets broken. So, it made him sick because he’s part of the world. Everything breaks, and so does he.
Click here to read the rest of the interview from Scene Magazine.