I just watched an interview on CBS Sunday Morning with the young, magical actress of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Miss Quevenzhané Wallis. When I watched Beasts a few months ago, I was awed by her performance as “Hush Puppy.” After seeing this interview, I am even more in awe of her as a person. Though only nine-years old (she was only SIX when she starred as Hush Puppy,) she has a sparkling wisdom I seldom see.
I must admit, all I could think as I watched was, “She’s Jubie!” Well, okay, that thought was surrounded by thoughts of “If only, if only, if only.”
She is exactly how I imagined Jubie Lee Franklin in my mind as I wrote The Red Kimono. Sassy, sweet, wise beyond her years. So of course, I couldn’t help thinking, if ONLY someone would write a screenplay and produce Red Kimono, The Movie before Miss Wallis is too old to play the role of Jubie Lee Franklin.
I couldn’t find a video of the CBS Sunday Morning interview, but here’s another interview Quevenzhané Wallis did with Oprah Winfrey.
At the end of the CBS Sunday Morning interview, reporter Michelle Miller asked, “The buzz is that you will at least get a nomination – what do you think?”
With a sparkle in her eyes, Miss Wallis replied, “I’m excited, but I won’t, like, let it get in my way.”
“The whole universe, it depends on everything fitting together just right.”
–Hush Puppy, Beasts of the Southern Wild
I figure “everything fitting together just right” has to start with putting your dreams out into the universe. Well, at least now it’s out in the blogosphere. Whoever is out there listening . . . I figure we have about two years.
Following is an excerpt from The Red Kimono, which takes place on the day Sachi and her family first arrive at the internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas. It is in this scene that Sachi and Jubie first see each other.
* * * * * * *
The sun was hot and the shady area where they waited by the train was shrinking and people pressed together more tightly. Sachi walked over to where Mama sat on her suitcase. “What do you think our new home will be like?”
Mama fanned herself with her hat. “I have no idea, Sachi. We will have to wait and see.”
She looked around. “Where’s Nobu?”
“He said he was going to look for Kazu.”
Sadness settled like a rock inside her. Nobu had Kazu here. She had nobody. She missed Sam all over again and opened a book he’d given her, even though she’d already read it a hundred times. Reading it didn’t help any, but she pretended to read it anyway, hiding behind it to watch the people that watched her.
The Arkansans paced, impatient and restless, never taking their eyes off the Japanese internees. It reminded her of pictures she’d seen of lions stalking prey. She wondered what they would do if the soldiers weren’t standing between them. She didn’t want to look at them. They scared her. Yet, she couldn’t seem to turn away.
“Go on, get on outta here!” One old man dressed in overalls yelled. “We don’t want your kind ‘round here.” She didn’t know what was uglier, the scowl on his face or the way he spoke.
She pulled the book over her eyes. What had they done to make him so mad? Her heart pounded so hard her fingers throbbed as they held the book.
She peeked again. Maybe that mean old man would go away.
A movement caught her eye. By the tree near the gate. A colored girl was hiding behind it. She peeked around the trunk, then hid again. She looked a little older than Sachi. Why was she hiding? The girl stared right at her, but pulled behind the tree trunk every time Sachi looked at her.
Slowly, she peered around her hiding place again, her skin even darker than the bark.
Sachi lowered the book and put it on her lap.
The colored girl smiled a funny, crooked smile, then waved hello.