July 23, 2007

A face you won't forget

Who is Nathaniel Arcand?  You May Be SurprisedBut really, who is Nathaniel Arcand beyond the face-you-won’t-forget?

“I consider myself a human being and a Cree man. It dictates my life in a lot of ways. Every since I was a kid, there was something there that always reminded me that, yes, I’m an Indian,” he says. “That’s what makes me who I am today as a Native actor. To portray the Native man in a different way they’ve ever been seen. With compassion, heart, and thought in his words. There’s more to this acting thing than the money or the notoriety or the fame. It’s about being a good human being. And pass it on…”

His acting resume includes more than 40 appearances in no-frills indie films to large Hollywood movies, a few leather-and feather productions, episodic television dramas, and even a Lifetime movie. Nathaniel has earned his acting chops and he’s neither intimidated nor cocky. In other words, he’s hardly naïve about the entertainment business he so loves.

4 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Nathaniel Arcand was a young Tonto in the 2003 WB TV series pilot of an 'updated and modernized' version of THE LONE RANGER, which featured Chad Michael Murphy as the soon-to-be Lone Ranger (now last-named 'Hartman'). Reports that attribute the pilot to TNT are mistaken. The pilot scathingly was received and abhorred by viewers and critics alike because it dared to tamper with the original time-honored western formula. Both Murphy as Hartman and Arcand as Tonto barely were twenty-somethings, Hartman was college-educated, and both he and Tonto spoke normal conversational English. They even played a scene together where they shared a hot tub in the Old West. Tonto does rescue young Hartman from the ambush and, with the help of his sister, nurses him back to health. There is friction between the two young men when Hartman takes a shine to Tonto's sister. Then Hartman decides to avenge his brother's death and asks for Tonto's help. They do not become bosom partners or the like, with Tonto agreeing to help the now-Lone Ranger whenever he can.
The pilot failed because it was such a sweeping and sudden stereotype-busting attempt to bring The Lone Ranger story into the 21st Century. There was no series forthcoming, therefore. Even Matt Roush at TV GUIDE berated the film for challenging his own much-beloved memories of other versions of the tale.
Which means that entrenched stereotypes can be decried but do remain resistant to changes that put millions of dollars of studio and network investment in peril, something which never is allowed for very long at all...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I reviewed this pilot in The Lone Ranger, WB-Style.

russell said...

Writerfella here --
In writerfella's "I Have Looked Into The Whirlwind," written for ABC's 'ESP' series THE SIXTH SENSE in 1972, he has his Native character, Curtis BigSoldier, hesitate at showing the parapsychologist the ceremonies for 'seeking the vision.' Bigsoldier frets, "It means I would have to violate a trust, reveal things never meant for white men's eyes."
In the WB's THE LONE RANGER, it is unnecessary to have explained why Tonto broke tribal laws by teaching Apache knowledge to a white man. It simply wasn't done, even if there were parallels between the cultures arising from separate but equal human concepts...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

As I wrote in my review:

Hartman begged Tonto to teach him how to fight. Tonto agreed but said he'd have to "break our laws" to do it. The "illicit" training included a generic vision quest (done "before any battle"), a kind of Indian kung fu (satirist Joe Bob Briggs would call it "Indian fu"), and archery. They got in shape by sparring and jogging, like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky, and rock climbing. (The movie didn't explain why physical activities such as archery or jogging would be against Apache law.)