Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Review: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1' Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Philip Seymour Hoffman, And More Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Steve McQueen's Next Film Will Be About Paul Robeson Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Watch: First Trailer For 'The Age Of Adaline' Starring Blake Lively, Ellen Burstyn And Harrison Ford Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Listen Up, Christopher Nolan Defends Sound Mix On 'Interstellar' Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Official Soundtrack Details For Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Inherent Vice' Revealed Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Casting: Shailene Woodley Joins Oliver Stone's Edward Snowden Pic, 'True Detective' Adds Pair & More Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Rare Pics Of James Remar In James Cameron's 'Aliens' Before He Was Fired Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Watch: 40-Minute Discovery Channel Special 'The Science Of Interstellar' Narrated By Matthew McConaughey Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Listen: 45-Minute Talk With Christopher Nolan, Plus The Big Twist From Steven Spielberg's 'Interstellar' Script And More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

'Beasts Of The Southern Wild' Writer Lucy Alibar On Turning The Play Into A Film, Visions Of The Apocalypse & More

Photo of Katie Walsh By Katie Walsh | The Playlist December 21, 2012 at 3:12PM

While Benh Zeitlin has deservedly received much praise and many laurels for his direction of the little movie that could, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a critical darling appearing on many end-of-the-year Best of Lists, it was his longtime friend and co-writer Lucy Alibar who sent him her original play, "Juicy And Delicious" that eventually evolved into the film. Making big waves when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, going on to play the Cannes Film Festival in the spring and since then earning accolade after accolade, 'Beasts' is one of the most distinctive features of the year, and is hotly buzzed to finish its journey with an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
0
Beasts Of The Southern Wild Lucy Alibar

While Benh Zeitlin has deservedly received much praise and many laurels for his direction of the little movie that could, “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a critical darling appearing on many end-of-the-year Best of Lists, it was his longtime friend and co-writer Lucy Alibar who sent him her original play, "Juicy and Delicious" that eventually evolved into the film. Making big waves when it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, going on to play the Cannes Film Festival in the spring and since then earning accolade after accolade, 'Beasts' is one of the most distinctive features of the year, and is hotly buzzed to finish its journey with an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

We recently caught up with Alibar to chat about the origins of this story, which takes place in a magical-realist South and centers on a young girl, the themes that she and Zeitlin both brought to the screenplay while working on it at the Sundance Lab, and shooting in the bayou with the Court 13 collective.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Alibar and Zeitlin have been friends and creative collaborators since adolescence.
They’re both a little bit fuzzy on the age they met, with Ailbar saying, “We’re always a little confused about that. He says 13 or 14, which sounds about right to me.” But, from the beginning, it was a creative connection for the two young artists: “We both won this playwriting award called Young Playwrights the same year. We got to go to New York and see a lot of plays together, and he and I just responded so quickly and so immediately to the same kinds of theater. We saw a lot of more traditional straight plays, and then they took us to see 'Hedwig ['and the Angry Inch'] and Benh and I just couldn’t believe we were seeing this. We would talk about it, and then we stayed pen pals, and we would send each other mix tapes and I would send him everything I’d write and he’d send me these short films he’d make every weekend. We just felt it was this very immediate artistic camaraderie that we had. It was part of a really wonderful friendship.” 

“He’s just always been the first one I sent anything I write to, so when I wrote this play I sent it to him and I heard from him about three months later that he was interested in shooting it as a movie in Louisiana," Alibar says. "We had our first meeting about it and then we just went from there.”

"Beasts Of The Southern Wild."
"Beasts Of The Southern Wild."
The genesis of the play “Juicy and Delicious” came from a deeply personal event and relationship in Alibar’s own life.
She says about the play that she “wrote from a very gut reaction. My dad was really sick and I just started writing because that’s how I was processing it. I started writing about this kid, he’s a boy, and he’s lot like me, and his dad is a lot like my dad, and his dad gets sick and these aurochs start coming out of the cave paintings and devour this group of kids. And there was something so elemental about that idea of abandonment and what he’s going through in the play and what Hushpuppy goes through in the movie too. He’s very sure that when his dad dies, he’s going to die. I was just thinking about that a lot, thinking about my dad’s mortality in that way. I wrote in my diary, 'I feel like when he dies, I’m going to die,' and I wrote the play from there.”

The experiences that she and her father went through during his illness informed the themes of abandonment, independence and apocalypse that come through in the film. “Hushpuppy learning that she can live independently, and the father realizing that the daughter does depend on him… it’s not just him alone in the world,” Alibar says.

As for the process of adapting the play into a screenplay with Zeitlin at the Sundance Lab, she’d had more time to think about it and also was given the time to evaluate it during the writing process. "Working with Benh at the Sundance Lab made me really get very nitty gritty about a lot of the feelings that I white washed through the play -- just about the anger that might be there, the rushed, violent nature of their relationship, and also the love that’s with that, when he is tender, how he’s tender," she explained. "It was all very therapeutic in a lot of ways. There was a lot of really intense conversation and going away to write and coming back to it. Because he and I have been friends for so long and because I have such deep trust in him, he was the easiest person to do that with, I had just not talked about any of this before.”

This article is related to: Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Lucy Alibar, Interviews, Interviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates