An actress who starred in the Academy Awards-nominated flick Beasts of the Southern Wild is dead. Jonshel Alexander, a supporting child actress in the film, was fatally shot in the 7th ward in New Orleans on Saturday, Nov. 27 per Deadline. Alexander and an unidentified man were shot while sitting in a vehicle in the 1500 block of North Claiborne Avenue at about 9 PM per reports. Per several outlets, a man wearing a blue ski mask is suspected as the culprit. The man injured in the shooting drove himself to the hospital. Alexander grew up in New Orleans' 8th Ward on St. Claude Avenue.
Alexander played Joy Strong in the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild when she was jst 12-years-old. The drama film was shot in Louisiana. It explores a storm-threatened bayou community set outside the levee system (primarily based on the travesty of Hurricane Katrina) and the children who inhabit it. Director Benh Zeitlin cast Louisiana natives for the lead roles, including Alexander, as well as auditioning more than 4,000 actors for parts in the film.
Beasts of the Southern Wild won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It was also nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture. She was too old to play the lead role of Hushpuppy, which went to 6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. Despite such, she was cast her in the supporting role.
"We incorporated a part into the film that was very much inspired by her," the casting director in the film said. "A lot of the lines were written by her, and so much of the character grew out of who Jonshel was. Her character in the film is named Joy Strong, which always seemed like a perfect description of Jonshel. We incorporated a part into the film that was very much inspired by her," they said at the time. "A lot of the lines were written by her, and so much of the character grew out of who Jonshel was. Her character in the film is named Joy Strong, which always seemed like a perfect description of Jonshel.
Nola.com reports casting reps from the film are devastated to hear of her death. Police are asking anyone with information on her shooting to come forward.