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Amber Midthunder Has a New Action Hero for You

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It was a day of epic showdowns “prey” About to be shot, Amber Midthunder felt terrible.

She was sick and had lost her voice. The sequence contained some of the most physically intensive action in the film and required finely tuned choreography and an evocative finish. You generally want to be at your best when facing an intergalactic nemesis who has traveled to.

“I really wanted to do it! So I didn’t talk to anyone all day,” said Midthunder. “And we were like, ‘Let’s try it and see what happens.'”

Nerves like steel paid off.”Prey,” directed by Dan Trachtenberg, premieres on Friday on Hulu A radical reimagining of the “Predator” action series, set in the early 18th century and serving as a coming-of-age adventure. Midthunder plays Naru, a young Comanche woman who must prove herself to a tribe that underestimates her.

But you can’t underestimate the 25-year-old actor who’s been playing lead roles that Hollywood doesn’t always achieve. Fort Peck Sue Tribe, she’s the rare Native American female action lead, headlining the franchise that originally rested on her pumped shoulders. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Executing death-defying leaps, flying axes with precision, and delivering well-timed one-liners, Midthunder meets most definitions of an “action hero.”

She doesn’t feel that way yet.

“I just feel like Amber,” she said lightheartedly in an interview last week at a Midtown Manhattan hotel. “Prey” has admitted to joining his action-friendly resume.

Midthunder broke through with her role in ‘Legion’ (2017-19), the hallucinatory ‘X-Men’ television spin-off starring Dan Stevens, Jean Smart, and Aubrey Plaza. The character of Midthunder shared a body with a scientist played by Bill Irwin, and her experience on the show, along with her small but evocative role in the 2016 Texas heist drama, made her “It’s solidified” as an actor, she said. “Hell or high tide?” These experiences inspired her after previous stints in Nickelodeon-style series didn’t suit her. (She didn’t mention the title, but it sounded a bit like “Psyche and my Misfortune”)

Her film and television work looks to prepare triathletes for the challenges of “prey.”she was a regular on the sci-fi series “Roswell, New Mexico” Played a fearless truck driver opposite Liam Neeson “Ice Road” A Netflix thriller that travels long distances on thin ice. She also starred in and co-produced the bruised indie Four Hands about two couples. “The Wheel”

Reviews from her colleagues suggest that she is already a seasoned performer. An obvious fan, Irwin wrote in an email to The Times that their dual roles were “the easiest collaboration I think I’ve ever been in.” Praised: ‘A brilliant young actress with outstanding energy’

Midthunder’s career began with a strong family base. her father, David Midthunder, are fixtures on the screen (“Westworld”, “Dark Winds”). She remembers visiting him on the set of works like Comanche Moon, a prequel to Lonesome Dove. He met her mother, a casting director and former actress from Thailand, Angelic Midthunder, while acting in the same film.

Born on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, Amber Midthunder grew up primarily in Santa Fe, spending time in California and Florida. She remembers hanging out in her mother’s office after school. From her comfortable stool, she watched the actors come and go.

“For my eighth birthday, I had a Disney Princess tent with an air mattress in the bottom. I did.”

Midthunder’s father sought to give some perspective on the barrage of Native American images presented by mainstream culture. rice field. His own father worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, helping tribe members with their paperwork.

“My father was very intentional in showing me how indigenous peoples were portrayed in the media all through the ages,” she said.

“Prey” features a predominantly Native American cast, including impressive newbie Dakota Beavers as Naru’s brother, and producer Jhane Myers. These efforts for representation and authenticity took a toll on Midthunder.

“A lot of times in period dramas it boils down to super-spiritual figures and this violent, savage caricature,” she said. It does something to your psyche, or is it really how people see us?

“Prey” is one of many recent productions to feature Native American actors, most notably the critically acclaimed show “Reservation Dogs.”

“It’s a richer and more diverse scene for Indigenous performers. It is that She considers Midthunder’s lead role in a studio film to be a rarity.

Still, performer Zaan McClarnon, who is of Lakota and Irish descent, said, “We have more opportunities as Indigenous actors and actresses now than we used to.” “Many major networks, production companies and film studios will not risk hiring a lead actor,” said McClarnon, star of the series “Dark Winds.”

(The casting of the original “Predator” confirms Hollywood’s long-running lead actor dynamic. Seminole and Cherokee actor Sonny Ranmb cast one of the ill-fated elite team members led by the indomitable Schwarzenegger. acted.)

In addition to Midthunder’s lead role, “prey” is notable for its use of the word. The film is available to stream in its original English version, which includes Comanche and French, as well as an all-Comanche version dubbed by her members of the cast. (French is spoken by a band of dirty trappers who appear prominently and brutally in the plot.)

But even before “Prey” premieres, Midthunder’s career shows no sign of slowing down. She reportedly starred in Netflix’s live-action series Avatar: The Last Airbender. When asked if he had anything to say about the series, Midthunder chuckled and replied, “There’s nothing I can say right now.”

She saw parallels between the aspiring warrior in “Prey” and her own rise as a star. (“The metaphors are endless!”) But even when she felt a little pressured, she kept her head cool.

“I tried not to think about all that,” she said. “When you get there and go to work, it all goes away.”

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