Prey’s Amber Midthunder on Auditioning in English and Comanche
Hollywood newcomer Amber Midthunder stunned at Tuesday’s Los Angeles premiere of Hulu’s “Prey.”
“This is from the Sky-Eagle Collection,” she told me about her dress on the arrivals carpet at the Village Regency Theater in Westwood. “Throughout this whole press tour, it’s been very important to me to incorporate always having an Indigenous designer or jewelry or something like that. So every look that I’ve had, there’s been something Indigenous.”
“Prey,” the fifth film in the “Predator” franchise, takes place in the Comanche Nation in 1717. Midthunder, who is an enrolled tribal member at the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Indian Reservation, plays Naru, a young warrior saving her tribe from a Predator (Dane DiLiegro).
Here, Midthunder talks more about her fashion choices, working alongside an all-Native cast and what it was like dubbing the film in Comanche.
Why was it so important to incorporate Indigenous designs to your red carpet looks?
This was never a question for me. Indigenous artists and Indigenous creators have so much to offer and are truly an untapped resource — whether that’s fashion or filmmaking or business. When you look at our art and our clothing, we have things that you don’t often see, whether that’s patterns or materials like shells and beadwork or earth paints. Being able to incorporate that into urban fashion is really fun.
What was it like the first day on set, when you looked around and saw all the leads were Native?
It was very surreal. I get chills just thinking about it. The first day we got there, everybody was in their outfits and I looked around and saw teepees and people in their buckskin. It just became so transcendent and kind of very real. At some point in history, this was how things really looked. This is how it really was for some of my ancestors. To see this and think about what we were accomplishing, it was just amazing.
What was it like dubbing the film in Comanche?
The movie was originally pitched to shoot it entirely in Comanche. When we auditioned, we did all of our scenes in English and Comanche to make sure we could do it and how it might play. We ended up doing the movie in English, but going back to Comanche is very special as far as language preservation is concerned. We’re also making history. Never has a movie been released in a Native dub upon original release. I think it’s a huge victory and a huge thing that we can claim as a people. And just for me to get familiar with the Comanche language — it’s not at all like the language I grew up [with] — it felt to me like a personal gift to get so closely acquainted with the culture and the language as well.
“Prey” premieres Aug. 5 on Hulu.