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'Beasts of the Southern Wild' drew from real-life families [Video]

December 10, 2012|By Steven Zeitchik

If you’ve caught this year’s indie darling “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” you’ve likely been struck by the family dynamic at its center — particularly the complicated, tough-love relationship between ailing father Wink (played by Dwight Henry) and his prodigious daughter, 6-year-old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis).

That’s not an accident: Lucy Alibar, one of the film’s writers, drew from her family experiences in crafting the story.

“I was really exploring my own sense of guilt about my father being sick,” she said at The Envelope Screening Series last week. “I think I was searching for 'could I have some control over this' or if I was responsible.”

Henry, meanwhile, looked at parent-child relationships from the other side. As he set out to shape scenes with his on-screen daughter (which include fishing and teaching her to fend for herself), he sought inspiration from his life.

“I have a daughter that’s 7, and [for] the things I had to relate to with Hushpuppy I reached back to things with my daughter,” he said.

It's paying off. Alibar said that the family elements have resonated as she’s shown the movie around the world.

“People come up to me and start talking about the relationships with their daughters, or relationships with their dads,” she said. “It’s something so deeply uniting.”

ALSO:

How 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' made farm animals mythic

Louisiana holdouts inspired 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Quvenzhané Wallis rides the wake of 'Beasts'

Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

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