By Jodi Rave
“At this juncture, we're making an entree in Indian Country,” said Harper. “When I read the script, I thought it would be exciting for tribes to support this story. All too often, stories aren't told effectively. They aren't told in an authentic manner by the communities that it implicates.”
While Kingsley is producing the film, he is also slated to play Charles Curtis, the first and only Native American to serve as a U.S. vice president (to President Herbert Hoover). Curtis was a U.S. senator when the Conley sisters were fighting to protect the graves.
“It is my hope in producing this film to illuminate the noble struggle the Conley sisters had to endure to preserve their ancestors' sacred burial ground and legacy,” Kingsley said in a statement.
Producer Luis Moro of Los Angeles is working with Kingsley to tell the story of the Wyandot, an epic journey of tribal relocation in the 1850s that led the Conley sisters to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It is with great pride that we have championed this film,” said Moro. “We expect it to be Hollywood's first major A-list feature film bringing a great uplifting, empowering story about Native Americans to the big screen.”
As I wrote to Jodi Rave, one thing isn't clear in the articles I've read about Whispers Like Thunder. Which roles are Harper and Huey seeking "A-list" talent for? Unless authentic Native actresses play the three Conley sisters, I'd say tribes shouldn't think about funding this movie. (By "authentic" I mean someone other than the usual Hollywood starlets with a drop of Indian blood.)
For more on the subject, see Friday, Tonto, Jacob Black, et al. and The Best Indian Movies.