Last week, two of the breakout stars of the Cannes Film Festival were looking to take a breather after a grueling session of interviews, press roundtables and photo shoots. They decided to mark the moment with a toast.
"To a great drink," said Brooklynn Prince, who is 7.
"To a great trip," said Valeria Cotto, who is 6. The two clinked glasses, filled with Italian sodas of various fruity provenance, as the Mediterranean lapped at the beachside restaurant behind them.
The festival, which ended Sunday, often revels in and renews existing stars. Nicole Kidman, with four works in the official selection, became an adored fixture this year. But the gathering also has the ability to mint young personalities.
Even, in the case of the Florida natives Brooklynn and Valeria, really young personalities.
The girls are the stars of "The Florida Project," the new film from Sean Baker, writer-director of the indie sensation "Tangerine. Florida centers on the so-called hidden homeless members of the underclass who live in motels and other makeshift spaces. Its set in a part of America rarely seen on screen: Baker cast from and shot in Orlando, in the counterpoising shadow of Walt Disney World. Though thousands of miles away, in distance and sensibility, from the Wonder Woman enthusiasm going on back home, the girls were nonetheless very much of the same shatter-the-ceiling mind-set.
Brooklynn plays the outgoing and at times obnoxious Moonee, who with her mother (Bria Vinaite) and best friend (Valerias Jancey) finds joy amid the bleak survivalism of the Magic Castle Motel and Futureland Inn they respectively call home. Moonee, Jancey and a third friend, Christopher, are often getting into trouble with pranks that can border on the delinquent. But they do it with winning mischief, thus remaining endearing throughout.
In its willingness to see the world radically from young peoples point of view, The Florida Project takes its cues from movies as varied as E.T. and Kids, and exists spiritually somewhere in between. Unlike the children in more burnished Hollywood enterprises, they act like, well, kids. The girls form alliances, act out with exuberance (and, sometimes, petulance), and follow their curiosity into trouble. They remain joyfully oblivious to the hardships of the adult world around them while occasionally just occasionally signaling a bracing awareness. Interested in character moments and episodes more than narrative arcs, the film wowed critics with its lived-in naturalism.
Driving that naturalism are the two young leads. As they fielded a barrage of questions from a table of a dozen reporters, Brooklynn and Valeria showed uncommon poise.
What do your parents do? a European reporter at a roundtable asked them.
In the movie or in real life? Valeria asked.
My mom sells tickets for events and my dads job is, hes in a position, where he makes furniture, Valeria said, before clarifying it was upholstery.
My dads a scientist and my mom's an acting coach, Brooklynn said with practiced aplomb.
You never told us your age, a reporter said to Valeria.
You never asked, she replied, reasonably.
The tendency with actors this young is to assume they are merely playing themselves. But the characters and many moments in the film are carefully scripted, and the girls are legitimately acting.
Theyre doing what adult actors do, which is listening closely, Baker said in an interview. Even in improvisation, theyre receiving lines, and digesting them and spitting them out as character. Both girls easily memorized the script, a point that will resonate for any parent whos ever had a 6-year-old try to prepare for a spelling test.
Their polish came in part from on-set guidance, both from Baker and his partner, actress Samantha Quan, who worked with the children for a month before shooting, using a variety of kid-specific workshopping techniques. Quan would do things like bring the girls into a room and have them describe objects as though they were giving a museum tour, all with an eye toward preparing them to react spontaneously to their surroundings during shooting.
Finding the young actors wasnt easy. Baker was ready to scrap the whole project for lack of a lead until Brooklynn came along, via a local casting agency. He was immediately taken with her confidence and her loose-limbed intelligence. Valeria was found in a less likely place: Target. Baker was doing a walk-through in the hope of locating a non-pro; when he spotted Valeria, he approached her mother and asked if shed like to bring her daughter in for an audition.
Despite their closeness, the two girls are very different. Brooklynn is a natural extrovert, taking the hand of adults she just met, dropping in a French phrase she knows will impress, and describing her favorite Cannes activity as going for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea.
Valeria has a more studied and if this can be said of a 6-year-old darker personality, with a preternatural wisdom; several journalists who talked to her thought she was at least several years older.
Shes a quirky kid, said her mother, Ivelisse Rijos, as her kindergartner daughter name-checked books she liked, including the Junie B. Jones series, the standard-bearer for go-your-own-way childhood thinking.
Since making the movie a year ago, the girls have bonded and now regularly make the 40-minute trip across the Orlando suburbs for play dates.
At Cannes, they sat at a restaurant between photo shoots, hugging each other and talking about matters of the day.
I like Daisy Ridley and Britney Spears, and Cara Devello, or whatever her name is, Brooklynn said, as she gave her costar a big squeeze.
Britney Spears isnt an actress, Valeria coolly replied.
Thats true but I still like her. And Elle Fanning, of course, Brooklynn said.
A handler told her Fanning had several movies at the festival.
Shes here? Brooklyn said, her eyes widening. We need to leave right now and find her. No, really, lets find her.
Rijos wasnt looking for a role for her daughter when Baker approached her in the Target; she in fact thought it was weird when the director handed her a card emblazoned with two chihuahuas, the logo of his production company. She was about to disregard it when an Internet search showed her it was the real deal.
Brooklynns parents were skeptical too, for a different reason: Theyre people of faith and thought some of the profanities Moonee had to utter in the film werent in keeping with their values.
There was some choice words and tumultuous language, and we were going to turn it down for that reason, father Justin Prince said. It was Brooklynn who convinced us she should do it. The elder Prince, who works as an environmental scientist, grew up in a world not unlike that of the movie, living for a time in a trailer in a backyard behind his grandfathers trailer in Ohio.
"I think she was happy to say some of those words because she doesn't get to say them at home, said a laughing Vinaite, herself a non-actor who Baker found on Instagram, to a reporter.
Also of the grown-up world: a Cannes premiere. Nearly a thousand people the night before had watched in the hallowed theater of the Directors Fortnight section, where both girls had tears in their eyes as they acknowledged the crowd.
I did cry last night, potentially, Brooklynn admitted.
I cried because there are some sad scenes and it brought back lots of memories of me and my friends, Valeria added. At the after-party, both girls had taken over the dance floor, well past the fashionable Cannes hour of midnight. Dance like nobodys watching, Valeria said and shrugged the following day.
Someone on a roundtable asked Vinaite what it was like to have such an important role in a movie as a first-timer.
I was definitely nerve-wracked because Id never acted, Vinaite said.
You were very good, Valeria reassured her.
Though the word precocious comes to mind when talking to the girls, Baker was intent in the film on avoiding the trap of the old-soul young person. Indeed, much of The Florida Project feels a lot like peeking in on everyday children who think no adults are watching impressive, given that on a set many dozens were.
Weve always had a very strong reaction to the kids you usually see in Hollywood films, Baker said. It always feels fake; it always feels stilted. We wanted to do the opposite of that.
See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour
That goal becomes more difficult circa 2017. As kids have cameras on them more than at any point in human history never mind dreams of stardom drilled into their minds a naturalistic portrayal becomes that much more difficult. Young people have more tools to star in a movie than ever before, but fewer ways to seem like real kids when they do.
A lot of people asked us how we got Brooklynn to reach certain places, Baker said of critical dramatic points in the film. But most of the time she would just do it herself. Before [a big crying scene], someone on the crew came over to her and started talking. And Brooklynn says, I have to focus right now because Im about to cry.
Brooklynn is probably the youngest Method actor youve ever met, Quan added, laughing.
As the girls sipped on their Italian sodas at Cannes, they began debating not the craft but a more important subject: their favorite movies.
Star Wars, Harry Potter all the Harry Potters, obviously, Brooklynn said. She ticked off some genre fare her family saw during a Halloween movie marathon.
I watch the Disney Channel, Valeria said.
A24 bought Florida at Cannes and is weighing when to release it. Brooklynn could well garner awards buzz if the Moonlight studio decides to put it out during the competitive heat of the fall. If she were to be recognized by Oscar voters, she would shatter by several years the record for youngest lead actress nominee, currently held by Quvenzhan Wallis, who was nearly 9 when she was shortlisted for her turn in Beasts of the Southern Wild in 2013.
Though Justin Prince said he was both intrigued and daunted by Oscar hullabaloo, his daughter was none the wiser.
In between interviews, the young girl walked up to a chalkboard at the restaurant that held the messages from film luminaries and put her own stamp on it. Bonjour. I love Cannes. I am in France, she wrote in a mixture of green and white lettering.
Brooklynn had put her entry right under one from the French director Claire Denis, another female trailblazer at the festival.
When the juxtaposition was pointed out, Brooklynn gave a curious look. "That's cool," the 7-year-old said, and maybe what was most cool was that she didn't realize how cool it was.
Read the original:
- The 12 Best Zombie Movies of All Time - Men's Health - July 8th, 2020
- Inside the luxury nuclear bunker protecting the mega-rich from the apocalypse - CNET - July 8th, 2020
- Leader of ultra-right militia The Three Percenters General BloodAgent predicts end of America by 2021 and warns of new civil war - RT - July 8th, 2020
- Coronavirus and the Culture Wars - PopMatters - July 8th, 2020
- The Rose | by Ben Lerner - The New York Review of Books - July 8th, 2020
- VICE - Armed Man Who Allegedly Stormed Justin Trudeau's Residence Appears to Have Posted QAnon Content - VICE - July 8th, 2020
- Military Veterans and the Boogaloo Bois Explained - Connecting Vets - June 20th, 2020
- Return to your roots: Gardening a great solution to cope with stress of pandemic - The Independent - May 24th, 2020
- Else Blangsted, Who Fled the Nazis and Found a Hollywood Ending, Dies at 99 - The New York Times - May 24th, 2020
- Inside ultra-luxurious disaster survival kits where super-rich can pay 4k for night vision goggles and posh - The Sun - May 24th, 2020
- Far More Valuable Than a Stockpile of Food and Money - Investment U - May 19th, 2020
- Eat this Now (Because You Have to): Terrible Homemade Bread - Kansas City Pitch - May 15th, 2020
- Survivor Is the Quintessential TV Show - The Ringer - May 15th, 2020
- Documentary shows life in the 'Biosphere' wasn't out of this world - Arlington Catholic Herald - May 15th, 2020
- I didn't think a pandemic would bring out the domestic goddess in me - Metro.co.uk - May 11th, 2020
- How to avoid the end times - The Japan Times - March 24th, 2020
- Is It as Impossible to Build Jerusalem as It is to Escape Babylon? (Part Two) - CounterPunch - February 27th, 2020
- Veteran Analyst Warns of XRP Crash to $0.20 as Price Stumbles - Ethereum World News - February 27th, 2020
- XRP Could Be on Verge of Explosive Breakout Higher, Taking It 100% Higher - Ethereum World News - February 27th, 2020
- XRP Just Flipped a Key Resistance Into Support: Why This is Bullish - Ethereum World News - February 27th, 2020
- Ripple Is On The Verge Of A New Rally According To Analysts - Somag News - February 27th, 2020
- West Ham need something drastic to kickstart a revival they might not get it in the Premier League - FourFourTwo - January 25th, 2020
- Lost in Space Season 3 Releasing on Netflix and Dr. Smith Will Return - Honk News - January 25th, 2020
- When Is Lost In Space Season 3 Coming Out On Netflix And Dr. Smith Returning Possibilities - The Digital Wise - January 25th, 2020
- The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 1/15/20: Survivalism - UPROXX - January 18th, 2020
- Bitcoin Indicator That Called Rally to $14000 Flashes Again - BTCNN - January 18th, 2020
- Bitcoin just cracked $8,500, and it means bulls are taking control - CryptoSlate - January 18th, 2020
- Ethereum Forms a Bearish Rejection Just Below a Key Resistance Level - Ethereum World News - January 18th, 2020
- The Explosion In This One Metric Is Bullish for Bitcoins Price - Ethereum World News - January 18th, 2020
- Why An Analyst Thinks XRP Price Has Further to Fall - Ethereum World News - January 18th, 2020
- Would a Virginia bill really ban dads from teaching sons how to use hunting rifles? - PolitiFact - December 18th, 2019
- Amazon's holiday gift to Orlando's sci-fi fans is a revitalized season of 'The Expanse' - Orlando Weekly - December 13th, 2019
- Market Experts Weigh in on the Next Major Mergers & Acquisitions in Media - Observer - November 21st, 2019
- A brief history of John Krasinski's transformation into a guy who absolutely loves the CIA - Business Insider - November 21st, 2019
- Richard Tobin of Brooklawn accused of conspiring to initimidate minorities - Courier Post - November 21st, 2019
- The Terminator Created a New Kind of Hero With Kyle Reese - Yahoo Entertainment - October 27th, 2019
- Bitcoin Might Head To The $6,000 Region In The Near-Term According to Wyckoff Logic - ZyCrypto - October 17th, 2019
- Low Tide Review: The Goonies Meets The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in Sharp Coming-of-Age Thriller - IndieWire - October 4th, 2019
- As the climate collapses, we can either stand together or perish alone - The Guardian - October 4th, 2019
- Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Trapped in the R.A.W., A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion by Kaylee Bearovna by Kate Boyes - Locus Online - October 4th, 2019
- Oregon 'Hate Map' Reveals 11 Racist, Separatist Hate Groups In The State - Patch.com - August 18th, 2017
- Doomsday Desperation - Southern Poverty Law Center - August 18th, 2017
- 'American Made' Review: Tom Cruise Flies Between Comedy and Tension, Missing Both - TheWrap - August 18th, 2017
- North Korea: Nuclear War Fears Spur Sales of Preparedness Goods ... - Fortune - August 14th, 2017
- For Doomsday Preppers, the End of the World Is Good for Business - New York Times - August 13th, 2017
- Film Review: Good Time - Consequence of Sound (blog) - August 13th, 2017
- What I Learned From the Neo-Nazi in My Prison Book Club | The ... - The Marshall Project - August 11th, 2017
- Nine Inch Nails - Webster Hall, New York City - Gigs - Reviews ... - Soundblab - August 11th, 2017
- Film Review: The Glass Castle Fails on Almost Every Level - Splice Today - August 11th, 2017
- If North Korea targets Guam, how should the US respond? - Fox News - August 11th, 2017
- Naked - slantmagazine - August 10th, 2017
- Noir Thriller Wind River Examines An Ignored America - Willamette Week - August 10th, 2017
- Silicon Valley luminaries are busily preparing for when robots take ... - Mashable - August 10th, 2017
- Review: Nolan's 'Dunkirk' is as Riveting as it is Groundbreaking - First Showing (blog) - July 23rd, 2017
- Do you Have What it Takes to be a Christian Survivalist? - CBN News - July 19th, 2017
- Morning Star :: No growth but lots of opportunities | The People's Daily - Morning Star Online - July 19th, 2017
- 'War for the Planet of the Apes' Review: Finale of biblical proportions - Rappler - July 18th, 2017
- Queued Up: 'The Lego Batman Movie,' 'XX,' 'Logan,' and More - Aquarian Weekly - July 12th, 2017
- Film Review: War for the Planet of the Apes - Consequence of Sound (blog) - July 11th, 2017
- Review: Paranoia thriller It Comes At Night is impressively tense and ... - Norfolk Eastern Daily Press - July 8th, 2017
- Review: Paranoia thriller It Comes At Night is impressively tense and ineffably creepy - Norwich Evening News - July 8th, 2017
- DJ CherishTheLuv, Music Missionary - HuffPost - June 30th, 2017
- What it Means to Finish Pikes Peak + Results - Hot Rod Network - Hot Rod Network - June 29th, 2017
- 'It Comes at Night' a Spellbinding Tale of Family and Survival - Shepherd Express - June 29th, 2017
- Are you ready when disaster strikes? These Minnesota doomsday preppers are - Charleston Express - June 26th, 2017
- Are you ready when disaster strikes? These Minnesota doomsday preppers are - Arkansas News - June 25th, 2017
- Where billionaires are stockpiling land for the apocalypse: Map - The Real Deal Magazine - June 19th, 2017
- Map reveals where billionaires are stockpiling land that could be used in the apocalypse - Business Insider Nordic - June 17th, 2017
- Map reveals where billionaires are stockpiling land that could be used in the apocalypse - SFGate - June 15th, 2017
- Billionaires are stockpiling land that could be used in the apocalypse here's where they're going - The Advocate - June 15th, 2017
- Next "Far Cry" video game is set in Montana - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana - KRTV Great Falls News - June 11th, 2017
- Veteran teaches disaster preparation skills at Heights library - The Killeen Daily Herald - June 10th, 2017
- It Comes At Night stars on survivalism, the apocalypse - WDEF News 12 - June 9th, 2017
- Recently unveiled documents reveal anarchist strand festered at Evergreen for nearly a decade - The College Fix - June 9th, 2017
- Margaret Atwood on the utopias hiding inside her dystopias and why there is no the future - Vox - June 9th, 2017
- Humanity 2.0: The Unstoppability of Singularity - HuffPost - June 8th, 2017
- Upcoming "Far Cry" video game is set in Montana - KTVQ Billings News - June 6th, 2017
- Survivalist shares experience in Harker Heights - The Killeen Daily Herald - June 5th, 2017
- Click Your Hiking Boots Together: Oz Farm Is NorCal's Eco ... - 7x7 - June 3rd, 2017
- You'll Find Far Cry 5 ProvocativeEven if It's a Mess - WIRED - June 1st, 2017