You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Yara Shahidi: Child star whips ‘Butter’

Youth Impact Report 2011: Up Next

In “Butter,” Yara Shahidi plays an adoptive couple’s lone hope for the future — a thinly veiled stand-in for Obama in a sly political satire. It’s a key role in the well-reviewed comedy, which premiered at the Telluride film fest, and one in which Shahidi shines.

The 11-year-old, Minnesota-born thesp began her entertainment career at a mere 6 weeks old in commercial and print ads. At age 4, she moved to California and has since racked up acting credits in “Imagine That,” “Unthinkable” and “Salt” (she dubbed Angelina Jolie “uber nice”).

Butter” star Jennifer Garner was impressed by Shahidi’s “natural affability” while on set. “There’s a very natural intelligence in any performance that she gives,” says Garner. “She’s an old soul and a little kid all at the same time.”

Garner recalls one particularly demanding day on set when many of the film’s butter-carving characters had to deliver big speeches to explain their dairy sculptures. “She had put hand motions to it very much like a little kid would do,” Garner says. Shahidi remembers prepping for that scene as well, turning to none other than videos of Barack Obama’s inauguration speech for inspiration.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Incitement

    'Incitement' Wins Ophir Award for Best Picture, Becomes Israel's Oscar Submission

    “Incitement” was the best-picture winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Sunday night, automatically becoming the country’s choice to vie for the international feature film Oscar. The winning film, a drama about the period leading up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995, had its global premiere at [...]

  • LargoAI

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]


    FiGa Snags 'Contactado,' By The Team Behind San Sebastian Winner 'Pelo Malo' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s FiGa Films has picked up worldwide sales rights to “Contactado,” the upcoming feature by Sudaca Films’ Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón, the duo behind San Sebastian 2013 Golden Shell winner, “Pelo Malo.” The Sudaca partners are attending San Sebastian to pitch Rondón-helmed project “Zafari” at the 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum. Directed by [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content