It was just about a year ago, while still basking in the spotlight of his acclaimed directorial debut that Beasts of the Southern Wild director, and New Orleans resident, Benh Zeitlin, revealed in an interview that he had already begun work on his follow-up film, which he said would also likely be set in New Orleans, where Zeitlin’s Court 13 film production company calls home.
Further, Zeitlin shared at the time, that he planned on using the same production team for his second film that he used on Beasts, AND, of most interest, that he wanted to, once again, cast Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry in the new project – both who made their acting debuts in Beast Of The Southern Wild, in that film’s lead father and daughter roles.
The untitled project, Zeitlin said, was about a hidden ecosystem where the aging process is out of whack, and people can age rapidly or very slowly.
He didn’t share anything further, leaving us intrigued by the premise, and guessing as to what kind of a journey he’d be taking with Quvenzhané Wallis a second time.
He added that he expected filming to begin this fall.
It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen; however, Zeitlin does reveal much more about the film’s story in a New York Times profile, published a couple of days ago.
In the piece, Zeitlin says this about the project:
The new film is about a young girl who gets kidnapped onto a hidden ecosystem where a tribal war is raging over a form of pollen that breaks the relationship between aging and time. It follows a friendship-love story-adventure of her and a joyous, reckless, pleasure-mongering young boy as they swirl in and out of youth and as the ecosystem around them spirals toward destruction. We’re working on it all day every day, but as all psychotic adventures go, you know where your destination is but not how long it’s going to take to get there.
After reading that, I’m even more curious, especially after having seen what he was able to accomplish with his first feature. This one sounds even more ambitious. But whether or not he will definitely be using Quvenzhané Wallis in the lead role as the young girl who gets kidnapped, may not be a definite.
I certainly hope so. It’s certainly not uncommon for directors to work with actors from previous films, given the comfort, familiarity, trust and general rapport developed between both director and actor, after having worked together previously, or as Zeitlin describes it, after having gone through one psychotic adventure already.
In the meantime, both Dwight Henry and Wallis will next be seen in Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years A Slave next month. Wallis is also starring in Sony’s Annie remake. Henry is playing Marvin Gaye’s father in a Julien Temple’s biopic starring Jesse L. Martin.