Jonshel Alexander, a supporting child actor in the Academy Award-nominated film “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” was fatally shot Saturday night in New Orleans’ 7th Ward, according to multiple reports. She was 22.
Alexander and an unidentifed man were shot while sitting in a vehicle in the 1500 block of North Claiborne Avenue at about 9 PM, police said. Paramedics declared Alexander dead at the scene, but the man drove himself to the hospital.
Alexander grew up in New Orleans’ 8th Ward on St. Claude Avenue.
At age 12, Alexander played Joy Strong in the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild, a drama that was shot in Louisiana. The film explores a storm-threatened bayou community set outside the levee system, and the children who inhabit it. Director Benh Zeitlin cast Louisiana natives for the lead roles, auditioning more than 4,000 actors.
The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Alexander was too old to play the lead role of Hushpuppy, which went to 6-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. However, Zeitlin cast her in the supporting role.