Roughly two years after the big Sundance debut of Beasts of the Southern Wild, or in December 2013, I wrote director-writer Benh Zeitlin about what I’d heard was his next project. It was called Wendy, I’d been told by a friend, and was thought to be some kind of rural-American, loose-shoe reimagining of the Peter Pan saga. Or something in that vein. So I wrote Zeitlin and asked what up.
“I’m looking to verify that your followup to Beasts of the Southern Wild will be some kind of variation on the Peter Pan legend, called Wendy,” I said. “Which will basically be the classic story told from Wendy’s point of view. A similar kind of organically magical other-world vibe that you delivered in Beasts, I gather, but within a more familiar structure.”
In his emailed reply, Zeitlin said what I’d been hearing was almost 100% wrong, and that the vision of the film had changed every which way. He asked me to keep it zipped until he knew what it finally would be and was ready to share. I said fine and that was that.
Wendy director-writer Benh Zeitlin.
4 1/3 years have passed since that exchange, and Zeitlin’s Wendy is finally done, having shot last year in Montserrat and Antigua, and currently in post. And ready to roll out in the fall, I’m presuming, under Fox Searchlight. Or maybe not. I wrote Zeitlin earlier today to ask how thing’s are going…silencio.
Wendy‘s IMDB page offers the following synopsis: “A young girl is taken to a destructive ecosystem where she befriends a young boy and discovers a mystical pollen that allows them to break the relationship between aging and time.” That sounds kinda Peter Pan-ny, no?
Wendy is played by the very young Tommie Lynn Milazzo, who may be the new Quvenzhane Wallis mixed with a slightly younger sister of The Florida Project‘s Brooklyn Prince. Shay Walker plays Angela Darling, the IMDB says. Darling, of course, was the last name of the London family that Peter Pan visited in the original 1906 J.M. Barrie novel, “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.”
I have it in my mind that Zeitlin is temperamentally the new Terrence Malick, and that he likes to take his time in the editing room. I’m figuring nonetheless that Wendy will probably screen in Venice, Telluride and/or Toronto.