Antigua and Barbuda is celebrating the cinema release of ‘Wendy’, the latest film by award-winning director Benh Zeitlin that was partially filmed in the twin-island destination.
Wendy is an American fantasy drama film, intended to be a re-imagining of JM Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’, that takes place in an exciting and breath-taking new setting. Premiered at Sundance, in this new version, Wendy and her brothers are whisked away from their humdrum life by a mysterious boy named Peter. There they discover a wild new world, one without grown-ups and suspended in time on an island.
Scenes for Wendy were filmed at Hell’s Gate and various locations in Antigua and Barbuda, and Peter Pan is played by Yashua Mack, an Antiguan child with no prior acting experience. Discovered by Benh Zeitlin, Yashua’s performance is hailed by critics and plays a key part of the transcendent experience of the film. Mack was chosen out of nearly 2,000 children. Zeitlin said that he chose Mack because of his innate ability to find the character. "Yashua lived in a Rastafari camp in Antigua. A lot of places you see in the film are their playground," he said. "Seeing this little boy drop into character was one of the most shocking things I've ever experienced in my life. He just inherently understood how to perform." He also said that he wanted to retell the story to address the original story's racist overtones.