‘Prey’ Star Amber Midthunder Says New ‘Predator’ Prequel Is Groundbreaking For Indigenous Representation
The new “Predator” prequel is set 300 years ago, but star Amber Midthunder thinks the film makes history today.
Midthunder says “Prey” is groundbreaking in its depiction of Native characters who confront a bloodthirsty alien predator who arrives in the Comanche nation.
“The way characters are constructed and portrayed, especially in a period piece, is something you so rarely see for Indigenous characters,” Midthunder told the Daily News.
“A lot of times you think Native characters are either too spiritual or they’re really wild and kind of sub-human and one-dimensional, and you never see a variety of Native people who have complete personalities and desires, and things to tell., and relationships. Besides being a really exciting movie, I’m extremely proud of it.
25-year-old Midthunder plays Naru, an underrated Comanche warrior out to prove that she belongs to the male hunters of her tribe. She faces her biggest challenge yet when the Predator lands on Earth and begins hunting humans for sport.
Released Friday on Hulu, “Prey” features a cast of predominantly Indigenous and First Nations actors.
“There are so many pieces in this movie, in terms of Indigenous representation…that have never been done before,” said Midthunder, who is Sahiya Nakoda. “Each actor has returned and fully doubled their roles in Comanche, and this version of the film is releasing alongside the English version on Hulu.”
“Prey” is the fifth standalone entry in the sci-fi franchise, which began with 1987’s “Predator” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The new film takes audiences back to the beginning, showing how the Predator arrived on Earth and describing its first hunt on the planet.
“Being a prequel, it certainly goes back far enough that it’s built on its own story,” Midthunder said.
“It’s definitely a standalone movie from the rest, plus it’s connected, and I think that’s what makes the ‘Predator’ franchise fun in general. There’s the straight line of having the Predator, but each film nods to the others and is at the same time its own story.
Midthunder appreciated the film’s careful detailing, with several scenes taking at least a week to shoot. Before production began, the actress and her co-stars went through a four-week program to learn their stunts and practice with weapons.
Building the Predator was a team effort. Actor Dane DiLiegro dressed up as an alien, while four members of the production team operated on the creature’s massive head.
“The Predator didn’t scare me, actually,” Midthunder said. “The first time I saw the Predator, I immediately said, ‘I can take it.’ I don’t know why. It was, I think, my brain Naru.
“I was mesmerized by the detail and the reality (it looked like), because it was all there. The feet. The hands. The hair. The face. The mouth. Never was a day on the set of this movie that wasn’t extremely exciting and challenging.
The film marks the latest high-profile project for Midthunder, which is also known for the superhero show “Legion” and the sci-fi series “Roswell, New Mexico.”
She loved adding a new action hero to the “Predator” franchise.
“That alone is so amazing for women, but especially Indigenous women, to be able to look at a character like that and hopefully feel inspired or connected, or have something that they feel that they can relate to, and feel represented and seen,” says Midthunder.