He prefers a different strategy.
“What I do is rewrite the script and fax it back to them,” Farmer says.
“Usually they’re the ones who get up in arms and say, ‘No one’s ever done that’ or ‘We can’t work with that.’ I try to work with them and bring them around. Mostly they don’t have the time or interest because that’s not their intent to portray Native people (accurately).”
Farmer, a veteran performer with nearly 80 feature film and television credits, says certain directors and producers have “been very cooperative” with this response, allowing the actor to have a voice in the project.
Others, not so much.
“That show with Michael J. Fox (‘Spin City’), they sent me off a thing and I rewrote it. I actually thought it was funnier. They said, ‘We’re not able to do that,’” he recalls. “For ‘Will and Grace’ I said I’m not going to wear a wig. They wouldn’t let me be myself as an Indian, so someone else got the part. That’s all that happens: They just turn to whoever else.”