February 22, 2008

Bedard talks, sings

Native actress Irene Bedard hobnobs with Gallup audienceNative actress Irene Bedard gave a UNM-Gallup audience some insights on Wednesday into her acting career, as well as a sneak peak into her upcoming concert.

Bedard was accompanied by her husband, musician Deni Wilson, and by Laura Ortman, a classically trained violinist from the White Mountain Apache tribe who currently works as a musician in New York City.

Bedard, Wilson, and Ortman opened and closed Wednesday’s workshop with music. Bedard, with lead vocals, performed storyteller-like lyrics, accompanied by Wilson on guitar and Ortman on violin. However, for the bulk of the program, Bedard talked about her performing arts career and answered questions from the audience.
Bedard stuck to her principles:After college, Bedard moved to New York where she met up with other Native performers and formed a theater company. One of the scripts they wrote, she recalled with amusement, was about a group of Indian activists who plot to blow up Mount Rushmore with plastic explosives, but they can only raise enough money to blow the noses off the presidential sculptures.

At about this time, Bedard said, she signed with her agent. That led to an offer to appear in the soap opera “As the World Turns” and a conflicting offer for a movie screen test. Bedard chose the screen test and was offered a three-movie deal. Unfortunately, she explained, she had to turn down the first movie role because of its inaccurate portrayal of Alaska Natives.

“The movie was about my people, and it was wrong. We don’t have horses in Alaska,” she said. “I just couldn’t do it to my mother.”
Bedard's upcoming project:Although she has been cast in a number of historical roles, Bedard said she is interested in portraying more contemporary women. A number of recent film projects—“Tortilla Heaven,” “Cosmic Radio,” “Tree of Life,” and “Kissed by Lightening”—have given her that opportunity, she said.

She is particularly interested in telling the stories of contemporary Native American women. One such story, she said, is that of Molly Spotted Elk (1903-1977), a Penobscot dancer, nightclub entertainer, and actress who moved to Europe and married a French journalist. Bedard said she is currently planning a film project about Spotted Elk, who fled Europe with the outbreak of World War II and who lost her husband in the war. Such film projects help move Native women out of the pages of history and into contemporary society.

4 comments:

russell said...

Writerfella here --
Bedard's only problem is that, she can't go anywhere that Tantoo Cardinale can't find her...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

At least she turned down a role because it was stereotypical. Didn't you say something about how actors can't do that because it would be professional suicide? She did it and it apparently didn't hurt her career.

Anonymous said...

Russel said:
Bedard's only problem is that, she can't go anywhere that Tantoo Cardinale can't find her...
Hey, what do you really mean with that?

Rob said...

Russ has a problem saying what he means. He can't or won't write clearly.

I guess he means that Bedard is following in Cardinal's footsteps. That Cardinal is the original and Bedard is some sort of imitation. If so, I don't agree.

P.S. Tantoo's last name is Cardinal, not "Cardinale."