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So What's Next For Quvenzhané Wallis?

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 18, 2012 3:22 PM
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The accolades have been virtually non-stop since the film and its star bowed at the Sundance Film Festival in January, this year. And while the director of that film, Benh Zeitlin - Beasts Of The Southern Wild - likely won't have much difficulty building on the success of the film, as his career as a filmmaker blossoms, what about its star, Quvenzhané Wallis?

I've watched her spellbind hosts and reporters in interview after interview, as audiences watch in wonder, charmed by the young lady's personality. But I keep waiting to read an announcement about her being cast in any future feature projects.

Granted she's 8-years-old, and I suppose work is scarce for young black girls, but I actually think she'd be a hot property right now, and directors would be fighting over themselves to cast her in something... anything... if only to capitalize on all the press she's been getting for her performance in Beasts (press that even includes talk of an Oscar nomination).

Unless I've just missed an announcement, but I've been watching fairly closely, with my antennae on alert for any news about Ms Wallis that doesn't have anything to do with Beasts Of The Southern Wild.

I suppose there could be some deals in development that haven't been officially announced yet, as I think the world would be really interested in seeing what she does next. I know I am. Ok, so maybe not the entire world, but you know what I mean. She's been everywhere, and has become an instant celebrity, practically overnight, thanks to director Zeitlin's request that she fill little Hushpuppy's tiny, but simultaneously massive shoes.

She's, as I said in my review, a miniature force of nature with a natural onscreen charisma, and her performance only seems to get better as the film progresses, and more is required of both her and the character she plays.

And that's why I'm looking forward to seeing the short film titled Boneshaker by Frances Bodomo - a Ghanaian filmmaker based in New York City, and Columbia University grad; currently an MFA Candidate and Dean’s Fellow at NYU’s Graduate Film Program.

We featured Boneshaker in April, and I think it'll be Ms Wallis' first post-Beast film, which I would say instantly raises the film's profile, something that I'm sure Frances is aware of. At least, I would think so.

Boneshaker centers on "a Ghanaian family, lost in America, [that] travels to a Louisiana church to cure their violent daughter."

The film stars Quvenzhané Wallis, and it certainly has my attention, based on the short 40-second teaser embedded below, if you haven't seen it yet:


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  • Kim | July 24, 2012 6:21 PMReply

    My Quvenzhané hair envy is raging...

  • Barbara | July 20, 2012 3:21 PMReply

    Her mother should let her act only to the point where she can make enough money to send her to college to become the dentist she wants to be.

  • Laura | July 19, 2012 10:30 AMReply

    Personally, as a parent, I would NOT want her to have a hollywood career. The town is littered with too many bodies of child stars, such as Gary Coleman, Corey Haim, soon to be Lindsey Lohan. If she WANTS to be an actor may her career follow the trajectory of Giancarlo Esposito, Regina King, Lawrence Fishburne, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kirsten Dunst and the ULTIMATE successful child star RON HOWARD.

  • Nikki | July 19, 2012 9:09 AMReply

    She said she wanted to be a dentist and still wants to be one.

  • Orville | July 19, 2012 12:39 AMReply

    Why do people WANT this child to become a big time actress? She is only eight years old that's simply too young. Let the girl be a kid. Do people remember Keisha Castle Hughes the youngest female to be nominated for a best actress Oscar for Whale Rider? Hughes is still acting but she struggled with problems. Hughes got pregnant at the tender age of seventeen, and she faced a lot of media scrutiny in Australia and New Zealand.

  • Akimbo | July 19, 2012 11:28 AM

    Raven and Jurnee had parents who actively pursued careers for them and were showbiz kids through and through. Keisha was plucked from obscurity, with no knowledge of the business. So was Brad Renfro. So has been Q. Sometimes people, and especially kids, who are suddenly thrown into the entertainment industry struggle tremendously with its cutthroat nature and all the rejection. If she wants to keep acting, then I hope she does, but if she doesn't, I DEFINITELY hope she does not. In one interview I saw she sounded like she enjoyed playing with the other kids on set more than anything else, but that was just one, so I can't speak with authority on it.

  • BeautyIAM | July 19, 2012 1:44 AM

    Well, if you're going to use that argument, you should try to be balanced. There are other child actor/actresses that have are doing well as adults. Just to think of a two, Raven Symone and Jurnee Smollett. But I know there are more.

  • F.B. | July 18, 2012 10:04 PMReply

    Quvenzhané is a wake up call to all screenwriters/directors. Write the roles! Her face is the furthest from archetype and trope.

  • AccidentalVisitor | July 18, 2012 6:49 PMReply

    Dakota and her family intentionally took a dip into the acting/Hollywood pool. It was part of the plan, part of their larger goals. From everything I read about Ms. Wallis her acting debut came almost by accident. Acting wasn't necessarily something she thought of before "Beasts". Is she in it for the long haul? We can't say for sure yet. So why are we trying to rush it? Goodness sakes she is eight. There aren't many roles for eight year old girls in Hollywood in the first place. Normally the process would be she would go from a main role in an independent film to perhaps a supporting role in a major film, playing the daughtter of the lead character. This would be easier if she was white since there are far more films involving white families than there are with black families. Sure, I suppose she can play a biracial child or an adopted child but the point remains there are still going to be less opportunities for little girls, particularly non-white little girls. But its early. Lets give it some time

  • StephHughs | August 5, 2012 12:13 AM

    Why must it be about race? Actually, in the business most kids don't play a leading role that uses their perspective as the leading point of view throughout the movie (like Beats of the Southern Wild). Most kids her age, which may I remind you was six at the time, are less likely to be leading roles regardless of their ethnicity. A more appropriate and thorough observation about the future of her career would be that she might want to spend more time being a kid rather than being put into a world filled with scandal, lies, and rejection because it is not the environment that any child should grow up in. She is just a kid who wants to have fun and enjoy life normally just like any other child. Lastly, in Houma, Louisiana show business is not prominent/barely existent for natives of Houma. Maybe if you were cognizant of these factors, then you would not have made such incorrect and inappropriate comments.

  • Shanea | July 18, 2012 6:23 PMReply

    She truly is a "miniature force of nature". I was astounded by her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

  • BeautyIAM | July 18, 2012 4:22 PMReply

    She has a new fan. I loved her performance as Hushpuppy. I would love for her to have a great acting career. But not a the expense of her childhood. However, I really want to see how her career will take off.

  • Sanaa | July 18, 2012 3:45 PMReply

    I was wondering the same thing and at the risk of pandering to racial stereotypes I'll go ahead and say, what the hell? When other child stars such as Dakota Fanning did their breakout roles (hers at 5 in I am Sam) it truly was a BREAKOUT role, the Fanning has been working ever since. So what's the deal? I read that Wallis still doesn't even have representation. What's going on? At that age, race shouldn't really be an issue, there are tons of roles for "kids" that are not race specific. C'mon Hollywood! Be better.

  • David | July 18, 2012 5:05 PM

    No matter her success, I'm not sure Dakota Fanning and her 'career' is some sort of model for Q to look up to; neither his "child star" success. I mean, dude she's 8-year-old. This language of "buzz" is scary: it's parlance in branding industries designed to package, reduce -- in some cases dehumanize -- people as consumptive products.

    As Hushpuppy she was a wonder and will always live in the annuls of that rare indie film that was an artistic revelation and creation. But to put her in this rat race of roles, agents, money? I hope she still gets time to simply 'play' and be a kid.

  • Ali | July 18, 2012 4:04 PM

    She doesn't have representation yet because she lives in Lousiana, her film is an indie and is now breaking out in a big mainstream way, and she was never seeking it out. She wasn't a child model. She didn't have stage parents. She was just a regular little girl before this movie and during the entire two years of production and post-production. Dakota Fanning was signed before she got I Am Sam. She had worked before I Am Sam. Trust me, they're looking at her now.

  • the black police | July 18, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    So do you think screewriters are now writing new scripts specifically with her in mind? I mean her buzz is still new. Wait a while. Or do you think she can be casted in readt scripts? Well "I suppose work is scarce for young black girls" addresses that. She'll probably be in the next Tyler Perry movie.

  • David | July 18, 2012 3:33 PMReply

    Q is a phenomenally gifted child and a born natural. Sure hope she, and her mother (family), doesn't get blinded by dollars and get sucked in immediately into the morass of the biz, only to get spit out in her adolescence as a has been who regrets trading in her childhood for something fleeting.

  • the black police | July 18, 2012 3:37 PM

    Speak it!

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