We can now take “interview a nine-year-old about a movie” off our bucket list. Recently we sat down with the adorable and charismatic Quvenzhané Wallis, who stars as little warrior Hushpuppy in the Sundance hit"Beasts of the Southern Wild." It’s difficult to describe “Beasts” — a film set in the mythical community of Bathtub off the coast of Louisana — in a way that isn’t confusing, but we can tell you it’s one of the most magical movies you’ll ever see in your lifetime.
We caught up with Wallis (who was accompanied by her mother) at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills to talk about the movie and some of her favorite things in life.
Tell us about Hushpuppy.
Hushpuppy is a brave little girl who lives with her father in the Bathtub and tries to follow her father’s footsteps.
Talk about the process of how you got the part — how you heard about the first audition, all the way to getting the part.
Whenever the audition came, my mom told me, “Let’s get into the car and let’s go to the library.” So we went to the library and we did the audition, and they said they liked what they seen. And when they called back they said they liked what they seen and that they were looking for [my sister], and my mom said, “Oh, you must be looking for Quvenzhané,” and they were like, “No, no, no, no,” and they almost hung up. So my mom [said], “Oh, she must have told you Nazie is her nickname, but her real name is Quvenzhané.”
So the movie revolves all around your character, which means you are carrying a lot of the weight. How nervous were you once you started shooting?
I wasn’t as nervous, I was actually excited.
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What’s your favorite scene in the movie?
Birds screaming and crawfish.
How about telling me about your favorite moment on set.
Whenever we did the crawfish. And the crabs and the shrimp.
Let’s talk about your experiences at the film festivals you’ve been to. This had its world premiere at Sundance — talk about that experience.
Being at Sundance was the first time we got awards, and that was the first day I realized the movie was special.
A few weeks ago you were at the Cannes Film Festival, which is one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. What was it like seeing yourself on giant screen at the Palais?
It [felt] like a bigger me with a smaller voice with a smaller me with a bigger voice.
How many times have you answered that?
A thousand times. [laughs]
What else did you do at Cannes besides see your own movie?
I saw the beaches and things like that.
Hushpuppy is very strong and independent young lady. How much do you relate to her?
She takes care of her father, she has animals. She likes to explore the world. And she [has] different things that she can do. We both like to take care of our fathers. We both like to explore the world. We both like animals, and we like to complete mysteries.
This is your first movie, and it happens to be your breakout role. How cool does this feel?
It feels good to do a movie, but I will always feel the same.
What’s your favorite movie?
“Happy Feet 2.”
What’s your favorite animal?
What kind of dog?
What kind of music do you listen to?