The Making of a Flannery O’Connor Biopic
By Oz Online | Published on May 29, 2024

A packed audience of Flannery O’Connor enthusiasts gathered to listen to director Ethan Hawke and lead actress Maya Hawke discuss their new biographical film “Wildcat,” which honors one of Georgia’s most renowned authors.

Captivated by O’Connor’s “A Prayer Journal,” Maya Hawke utilized it during her audition for The Juilliard School. Inspired by this experience, she eventually proposed the idea of creating a film to her father.

While crafting the screenplay, Hawke and his collaborator, Shelby Gaines, allowed Flannery O’Connor’s own words from her journals, short stories, and novels to shape the narrative. 

“I’m telling you about her life as an artist. I’m going to let her speak about what she has to say about it, and I’m going to let her talk about her faith,” explained Ethan Hawke. “I’m going to let her talk about her mom, and I’m going to let her talk about writing. That was difficult to do, but it was really fun, and it was an invitation.”   

Maya Hawke, known for her roles in the popular Netflix series “Stranger Things,” portrays Flannery O’Connor and also embodies various characters from O’Connor’s celebrated short stories.

“Flannery, through her faith, was seeing things,” added Ethan Hawke. “Seeing things that a lot of white people in our community were not seeing about themselves and their hypocrisy about what it means to be a woman, what it means to be a man. She was seeing things, and she offered us the chance to see them, too. And I guess it did open a door for me.”  


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