×

Seven years after receiving his first Oscar nominations for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” director Benh Zeitlin is back, seven years later, with his follow-up film “Wendy.”

The reimagining of the classic Peter Pan story places the titular character at the helm (played by actor Devin France). The young girl witnesses one of her friends disappear on a passing freight train and decides to follow it, which leaves her lost in the mysterious “Neverland” and forced to fight to save her family, her freedom and the joyous spirit of youth.

“The film is actually radically different from Peter Pan.” Zeitlin told Variety at the Sundance Studio presented by AT&T. “The story borrows elements from the original text and sort of was contextualized by that original. But, it’s really a brand new story and particularly her character [France], Wendy is totally different from any Wendy that’s ever existed before as you can probably already guess.”

His inspiration for the film stemmed from a childhood desire to tell the story he describes as “the riskiest, most challenging thing.” But, the success of his previous film spurred him to pursue his dream of making the film he and his sister Eliza Zeitlin had always dreamed about.

“When we were kids, we dreamed of retelling this story in our own way. It was always our dream project. And we also knew that it was the most difficult that I could imagine I could make,” he shared. “So, on the tail of ‘Beasts’ it was like, ‘We’re finally going to get this opportunity to really make whatever we want, however we want to make it.’ So we sort of jumped to it. There are other films that I thought that I would make. Before this, I thought I would never make this film.”