Predator, the prey: a fierce heroine, a historical vindication and an interesting twist for the saga that began in 1987

From the jungle to the big city. From the green fields to the white desert of Antarctica. They don’t care about the place, they don’t care about the weather conditions. They belong to a powerful intelligent and ruthless humanoid alien race whose existence is dedicated to hunting down other life forms. They are owners of the most advanced technology, and dominate the handling of any weapon, no matter how rudimentary it may seem. Born strategists, they do not give truce or ask for mercy. They kill and die without giving up their exterminating nature. And they have been with us since at least the 18th century. At least that’s what it shows the seventh installment of the long-running and successful saga, Predator: The Preywhich Star+ premieres this Friday 5.

Directed by Dan Trachtenberg and starring Amber Mid Thunder, the film takes us to the heart of the Comanche nation, in the early 1700s, where the young warrior Naru must face the most perfect killing machine, while fighting to occupy the place she deserves among her own. Exclusively, in the middle of the film’s promotional tour, the actress who gained fame for her role in the series Legion talked with THE NATION via Zoom about the difficulties and responsibilities of filming this prequel, flavored general relaunch of the franchise.

-What can you tell us about Naru, your character in Predator: the prey?

-She is a very determined woman, very focused on achieving what she wants. And she wants her people to see her as she sees herself, to value her for who she is. She is driven by her Comanche pride in her; and that leads her to live a series of very particular experiences. Among others, her encounter with an alien.

-What is the most important battle you face in the film: as a warrior, against the Predator; or as a woman, facing the prejudices shown by her own people?

-The two have the same importance, and that is why he faces them simultaneously. I believe that one of the great achievements of the film is to merge a very human story about female empowerment in the eighteenth century, with the action that one expects from this alien monster from outer space. They are two very different films; and Dan managed to make them one. She did a great job.

Amber Midthunder as Naru
Amber Midthunder as Naru David Buckach

Predator: the prey will go down in American film history as the first film to be shown in spoken language and subtitled in Comanche. It is not a minor fact for the North American indigenous communities, who have been demanding greater visibility, presence and respectful treatment in the Hollywood industry. In fact, the film has more than 80 percent of professionals (in front of and behind the camera) from indigenous communities, including the main character, Amber Midthunder.

-As far as I know, Naru is the first Native American woman to star in such an action movie. Being a Native American actress, what does this mean to you, both personally and professionally?

-It means everything. I am very excited about this film, because it shows our people in a real way, in the full dimension of their roots and strength. For us, members of the original indigenous peoples, it is very important. Because very different people, in different places, are going to be able to learn our culture and our history while they are entertained with an action and adventure movie. It is a work that we are going to be able to show our children and tell them: “Look, they can be and do whatever they want. Being actors, being scientists, whatever they want.” That means a lot. Much. i’m really proud.

-The film shows an extremely rich and complex Comanche universe, both culturally and socially. How much is true and how much has been modified for the needs of the plot?

-Everything is exact. And even the fantastic part is told as it could happen in reality. That was the priority that Jhane Myers, producer of the film, imposed on the story. Jhane is part of the Comanche Nation and has collaborated on countless productions. She was present at every moment of the shoot, supervising dialogues, behaviors, outfits, accessories, so that everything looked as precise as it was spectacular.

Naru, the heroine of the Predator reboot
Naru, the heroine of the Predator reboot David Buckach

-In the context of the film, do you think that the figure of the Predator can be understood as a metaphor for the European conquerors or for the white men who tried to exterminate the Comanche people throughout history?

-Of course. I support that theory because it seems to me one of the most interesting and complex that can be thought of. But I understand that this film, like any film, is still a conversation between parties and is open to people’s free interpretation. And in that sense, conceptually, the Predator can function as a metaphor for many things.. During the filming, for example, I felt that I could also represent that invisible killer who has taken so much from us in recent years.

Born on April 26, 1997 in New Mexico, Amber Midthunder is the daughter of a Native American actor and a renowned casting director. She is a member of the Sioux reservation based in Fort Peck, in the state of Montana, she debuted at the age of nine with a very small appearance in brilliant business, starring Alan Arkin and Emily Blunt. She participated in different series, until she managed to star in Legion (2017-2019), set in the Marvel universe of the X-Men; Y Roswell, New Mexico (since 2019), fantasy drama about aliens and undocumented immigrants.

In cinema, Midthunder shared the screen with Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine in Nothing to lose (2016); and with Liam Neeson in risk below zero (2021). As a filmmaker, he shot the short films no Y #nightsliketheseboth from 2013, winners of the prize awarded by the National Museum of the American Indian, belonging to the Smithsonian Institution. Predator: The Prey It is his first absolute leading role in front of a Hollywood tank.

"A month before we started filming, we were living in a training camp in Canada, where we had intense and intensive practices with gymnastics routines and personalized acrobatics, weapons handling, archery, spears and tomahawks."says Midthunder.
“A month before we started filming, we were living in a training camp in Canada, where we had intense and intensive practices with gymnastics routines and personalized acrobatics, weapons handling, archery, spears and tomahawks,” says Midthunder. David Buckach

-The film required a very demanding physical work. Did you have to learn any specific skills for the role of Naru?

-Yes. I had to learn to operate the Tomahawk that I held in my hand every day for the six months of filming. But a month before we started filming, we were living in a training camp in Canada, where we had intense, intensive practices with custom gymnastics and acrobatic routines, weapons handling, archery, spears, and tomahawks.

-What was the hardest thing you had to do?

-All. There wasn’t a single day that he didn’t ask me how we were going to do the shots that Dan had scheduled. And there wasn’t a single night that I didn’t say, “Wow, we did it!”

In Hollywood, they say it all started as a joke. In 1985, during one of the many celebrations for the international success of Rocky IV, director John McTiernan heard one of the producers tell Stallone: ​​“You already fought everyone. If we continue like this, in the next movie you are going to have to face an alien.” McTiernan loved the idea; and when she got to his house she went to work. He started from a simple premise, with a hostile figure, focused on killing humans to display them as trophies. Only at the end of the film would it be known that the predator belonged to an ancient extraterrestrial race that had made Earth one of its main hunting grounds. Two years later, Predatorwith Arnold Schwarzenegger fighting for his life in the Central American jungle, burst box offices around the world and promised to start a new and lucrative franchise.

In 1990 came the first sequel, predator 2, with Danny Glover and Ruben Blades investigating the carnage that rocked futuristic 1997 Los Angeles. It didn’t go well. Criticism destroyed her and, due to her explicit level of violence, she was declared inappropriate for children under 17 years of age. Against the current, the figure that sank in the cinema became an icon in video games and comics, where he set the industry on fire with his unexpected fights against Alien, Batman, Superman, the Justice League and Tarzan. She would only return to theaters in 2004, with one of these famous crossovers: A Alien versus Predator he followed Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (2007) and two new solo entries: predators (2010) and The predator (2018).

-You were not born when the first films of the saga were released. What did you know about the Predator before The prey?

-Not much really. She knew he was famous and knew him as a fundamental part of modern popular culture. I must have seen the original movie, but I don’t remember the rest. I was aware of the Predator’s existence, of course, but not as much as I am now.

Since before Disney bought Fox, Predator had scheduled the stages of its global relaunch. Along with the movie that would end up being The predatorFox had been developing four other feature films with a common axis. They would all take place in the past, but each one would be set in a different place and time. The idea was to deepen the presence of predators on Earth, as well as their influence on the myths and legends of different latitudes. Under the key title “Skulls”, Dan Trachtenberg had to deal with the Comanche Nation, in the eighteenth century. The result? East Predator: The Prey that reaches the Star+ platform (Latin America), Hulu (USA) and Disney+ (Europe), without going through the movie theaters.

-In this time marked by sequels, would you like to continue telling Naru’s life in other movies, with or without the Predator?

-Of course. As long as we have something interesting to tell, right? It would have to be a story as beautiful and intense as this one, delving into the responsibilities and feelings that dwell within a warrior chief. If so, yes. I’d love to.

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