EXCLUSIVE | 'Troop Zero' writer Lucy Alibar says ensemble movies inspired her to make a film about a community
'Troop Zero' was on the list of top-watched hits of 2019. Set in 1977's rural Georgia, the movie follows Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace), a determined child who wants to contact aliens by recording a message on NASA's Golden Record. The thought process behind the film was explained by the film's screenwriter and Oscar nominee Lucy Alibar. In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), the 37-year old shed light on working on 'Troop Zero'.
"Big ensemble movies like 'Stalag 17', 'Sullivan's Travels', 'Fiddler on the Roof' and 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' — they made me fall in love with movies as a kid, and I wanted to make a movie about a community," Alibar said.
The 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' screenwriter said she thought of the film as a big ensemble comedy. "I don't worry so much about 'life lessons' when I'm writing. Audiences are smart and everyone takes something different from a movie. That's what I love about movies," she opined.
When 'Troop Zero' premiered, it was critically acclaimed and it received healthy audience reception. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a commendable 81% audience rating with the critical consensus that read: "Thanks to a charming cast and infectious energy, Troop Zero is more than the sum of its instantly familiar parts."
For Alibar, that was happy news. "I was really happy to hear that so many young people connected with it," she said. "Kids have a built-in lie detector, and they can tell when there's a false note in a movie. They're a great test audience because they don't hold back," she added.
There was a different theory when asked what the film aimed to convey to the audience. "I was thinking less about conveying something to the world, and more about asking questions of myself and my audience," she said. "Have I ever written off someone who later surprised me with their 'special skills'? What would I say if I got the opportunity to speak to aliens of the future? What would the people I know say? What would I want to tell whoever's out there about life on earth and about who we were?"
Alibar was also thankful to directors Bert and Bertie for letting her be on the sets every day while filming. "I feel that much more ready to direct because of their generosity. I, like probably every other writer out there, could not be happier about Viola, Allison and Jim's work."
Alibar will next be working on her play 'Burnpile' in London. "I'm not allowed to say anything else!" she says before signing off.
'Troop Zero' is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.