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'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Actor Dwight Henry Added To McQueen's '12 Years A Slave'

by Vanessa Martinez
June 26, 2012 8:50 PM
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Dwight Henry, the star alongside Quvenzhané Wallis (playing her father) in this year's critically accaimed Benh Zeitlin's Beasts Of The Southern Wild, is the latest addition to the grand, star-studded cast of Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave.

Henry joins the still increasing ensemble which includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Scoot McNairy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Garret Dillahunt, Ruth Negga, Taran Killam, Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodard, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael K. Williams and Chris Chalk.

According to the Washington Post, Henry, owner and operator of Buttermilk Drop Baker in New Orleans, had turned down Behn Zeitlin's offer to star in Beasts three times prior to finally accepting.

Director Zeitlin told the post, “We went there every morning for grits and doughnuts, and we got to know him. He talked about his life, things he had been through, and parts of his life got written into the film. At some point, we realized he was the one we wanted for this film.”

Unsurprisingly, Henry is more than glad to have accepted, given the positive reception of Beasts at Sundance and Cannes earlier this year.

Henry told the post,  “I’m glad I did it, but at the time, I was reluctant to do it, to sacrifice my business that I had worked so hard to open for a chance at a possible movie career."

And, the timing is just right, as production in McQueen's 12 Years begins this week in Henry's New Orleans hometown.

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  • Mark & Darla | June 27, 2012 10:42 PMReply

    JOB OPENING - Open 1/1/12 - Close until all position full
    Director Steve McQueen is hiring blacks everyday to play slaves for his next movie, no experience require, your DNA makes you an expert, just bring an old dirty scarf to tie on your head, natural hair is a must.

  • the black police | June 27, 2012 11:14 PM

    LMAO at "natural hair is a must". We all know natural black hair is a sure sign of enslavement (not the permanent wigs, weaves, relaxers and texturizers, ironically). What, Comment Police? Aint it the truth?

  • COMMENT POLICE | June 27, 2012 11:04 PM


  • Bondgirl | June 27, 2012 9:37 PMReply

    A New Orleanian, playing a New Orleanian (or at least Southern)? Maybe he was hired so that he can give the Brits dialect lessons in between takes. LOL Little Quavenzhane Ellis should play Eliza's daughter, but they probably won't hire them both.

  • Nikki | June 27, 2012 6:51 PMReply

    Seeing as though there aren't that many films on slavery, I don't get what all the complaints are about. Then again if most of the comments aren't filled with negativity then it must not be Shadow and Act.

  • Blacktress | June 27, 2012 3:15 PMReply

    I refuse to play a slave this summer..I realize these stories need to be told and retold but it doesn't sit right with me..guess I won't work for another 3-4 years again.. sigh

  • Noah | June 27, 2012 7:05 PM

    @Akimbo You are reading way too heavy into Blacktress' comments.. I read it as satire just like The Black Police stated a similar comment below. How many African American actors are being cast? If the roles that have been popular in the last couple of years, have been about broken down people, doesn't an actor have a choice? Last I thought they did.

  • Akimbo | June 27, 2012 4:59 PM

    That's the wrong question. The better question is "how can an actor use not wanting to play a slave as an excuse for not booking a job in four years?" This movie supposedly started shooting on Monday so they're likely pretty cast up, Django is finished, and I'm not aware of another similarly-themed film that's actively casting. Nothing wrong with passing on certain types of roles, but let's not be ridiculous.

  • Noah | June 27, 2012 4:46 PM

    @Akimbo Stop? Why? Whats wrong with someone not wanting to play a slave? Im confused. Fill me in?

  • Akimbo | June 27, 2012 3:17 PM

    Girl, stop.

  • Micah | June 27, 2012 9:48 AMReply

    Steve McQueen is putting together a seriously solid cast.

  • the black police | June 27, 2012 4:06 AMReply

    Yay, every black actor will play a slave this year! It's the pinnacle of black acting! Yippie!

  • the black police | June 27, 2012 11:41 PM

    Whoa! I didnt know I had a lover! Sweet!

  • CareyCarey | June 27, 2012 7:28 PM

    @Noah, Shadow and Act has featured new young writers. In fact, Tambay had a continual series doing just that. Maybe someone can link a post? I know one such article featured a writer who switched career from wallstreet to Hollywood. So yes, new black writer are out there. Come to think of it, S&A also profiled young writers in the Disney intern program (I believe it was Disney?)

  • Ava | June 27, 2012 5:00 PM

    LOL. True, there does seem to be more than one high profile movie with this theme but considering that it's McQueen, I expect that at least this film could be unflinching and won't let the audience off the hook. Perhaps this film will leave people as uncomfortable and unsettled as Hunger did.

  • Noah | June 27, 2012 4:48 PM

    No time to be facetious @the black police.

    I know we got some young writers out there that are cooking up some stories for the next generation of black actors!! Shadow and Act, lets feature a new young black writer every week, so people know that there are other stories out there!

  • BlackPoliceLover | June 27, 2012 3:09 PM

    LMAO Black Police. I'm so there with you on this.

  • NOEL | June 27, 2012 8:58 AM

    Will smith and lots more exclusive

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