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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

November 26, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Acting wisdom from a 9-year-old

Regardless of whether it’s appropriate for a kid to be eligible for a competitive Oscar, little Quvenzhane Wallis of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (now 9, though 6 when she made the film) is managing just fine on the interview circuit. A few excerpts, from a recent interview on Deadline.com:

Getting the part was a game to her, too. “My mom’s friend called and said they were having auditions for 6- to 9-year-olds,” Wallis recounts. “My mom said, ‘She’s too young,’ and then she just hung up the phone and said, ‘Do you want to go to auditions?’ So we just tried it, and it worked. Because when you are a little kid you are bored all the time, and it’s like, OK, let’s go! It’s kind of good to do things while you’re young,” she adds, very seriously.
And what’s it like to watch the movie now? ”It’s kind of weird, because you see a bigger you,” she muses. “And then you look at yourself, and you think, ‘Why am I so much smaller than the real one up there?’ And then you look at yourself and go, ‘Wait, I’m the real one!’ ”

I’m starting to rethink my original instinct that 6-year-olds shouldn’t compete with adults for Oscars. She certainly gives a more entertaining interview than most grownups. Here’s her acting method:

Director Zeitlin, she says, would tell her: “This is what you really need to be focused (on); you need to listen to this, you don’t have to listen to that. There was important stuff and not-important stuff. And then try it twice. And then do the real one about five times.

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