A version of this story originally appeared in the Rambling Reporter column of the July 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
Middle-aged Dwight Henry’s plucked-from-obscurity transformation from New Orleans baker to this year’s Sundance and Cannes darling — with no prior acting experience, he plays the father, Wink, in the well-received Beasts of the Southern Wild — has quickly become the stuff of heartwarming legend. But the success, which Henry has so far parlayed into his follow-up role in Steve McQueen’s Shame follow-up Twelve Years a Slave, has also yielded big dividends for what he still considers his day job.
He’s already announced a plan to expand his Buttermilk Drop Bakery and Cafe as part of a collaborative effort with Treme’s Wendell Pierce to build a mini chain of fresh-food markets across greater New Orleans. And, he reveals to THR, Manhattan hospitality macher Richie Notar, a partner in Nobu who’s quite aware of the Beasts phenomenon, recently tapped him to bring an outpost of his shop to Malcolm X Blvd. in gentrifying Harlem.
Having not one but now two exploding careers has left Henry telling his manager that he wants to hold off for a moment on his next movie project so that he can focus on getting his new baking-business prospects fully off the ground. “There are a lot of good, tough decisions that I have to make right now,” he says.