THE HERO: MAISIE BRUMBLE
Zaris-Angel Hator embodies an open-minded, fearless heroism in Chris Williams’s Oscar-nominated The Sea Beast.
From the first shot of her holding court at her orphanage, recounting hunting tales of the past, it’s impossible not to fall in love with Maisie Brumble, the young star of Chris Williams’s animated, Oscar-nominated delight, The Sea Beast. The latest feature film from the Academy Award-winning filmmaker (Bolt, Moana) follows the eager protagonist as she stows away on Captain Crow’s storied sea beast hunting ship in search of the Red Bluster. Soon, she and fellow crewmate Jacob Holland (Karl Urban) are faced with unexpected challenges, with Maisie’s ethos of empathy and optimism ultimately saving the day.
Action movies first drew Williams to filmmaking, and aspects of The Sea Beast — the barrel-chested hero, the swashbuckling quest, the young orphan seeking adventure — pay homage to the adventure genre. However, the eager 11-year-old protagonist, voiced by Zaris-Angel Hator, delivers a much-needed refresh, upending tropes and setting an example of what true heroism looks like. As Williams puts it, “It takes a character like Maisie Brumble to help break away from this really entrenched way of thinking.”
Nineteen-year-old Hator has experience playing not-to-be-stopped young girls — her credits include the title role in Matilda the Musical at London’s West End. With Maisie, the voice actor hopes to inspire change on- and offscreen: “One thing I found really exciting is her appearance: She’s dark-skinned, she has natural hair, and I think that’s something that’s really important because it’s representation,” Hator says. “I feel like a lot of young dark-skinned girls can look up to Maisie, and seeing themselves as that character is something that’s really important.”