January 14, 2010

Raoul Trujillo as Queequeg

Raoul Trujillo (Apache/Ute) is playing Queequeg in a new TV movie version of Moby-Dick. Here's the lowdown on the character:Queequeg is a fictional character presented in the 1851 novel Moby-Dick by U.S. author Herman Melville. He is the first principal character encountered by the narrator, serves as the chief harpooner aboard the Pequod, and plays an important role in many of the events of the book, both in port and during the whaling voyage. Although a "savage" cannibal, he is described with great sympathy and much admiration by Ishmael, by whom he is befriended early in the book.


Queequeg is a native of a fictional island in the South Pacific Ocean named Kokovoko or Rokovoko. The island is the home to his primitive tribe, who practice cannibalism, in particular devouring the flesh of enemies slain in battle. Queequeg claims that the only case of indigestion he has suffered was after a feast in which fifty slain enemies were eaten. He displays no shame regarding the practice, describing his people in a matter-of-fact fashion. In port he prefers a diet of rare red meat, but will settle for whatever is on the menu, such as clam chowder.
Comment:  Needless to say, making Queequeq a cannibal is stereotypical. But that's not why I posted this.

This will be a high-profile role for a Native actor. It's good to see Natives benefiting, rather than losing out, from nontraditional casting for once.

But as with Barbarian Princess, the role really should go to a Pacific Islander. The Fijian below looks more like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, which isn't surprising since Johnson is Samoan.

Below:  Native Fijian in a 1930s postcard.

Raoul Trujillo as Queequeg:

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies and TV Shows Featuring Indians.


dmarks said...

I thought his name was familiar. Trujillo was the Native American vampire character (a villain) from a few episodes of "True Blood".

Anonymous said...

This is for a TV series being produced by a company out of Germany:


Rob said...


Rough seas for real in ‘Moby Dick’ shooting in Malta

There was no need for acting on the set of Moby Dick in Malta.

When the cast of the $25.5m TV movie set sail on the ship standing in for the Pequod, the whaling boat on which the hero Ishmael sails, they quickly learned how rough life at sea could be.

“That first day at sea, we ran into the most intense weather you could imagine,” James Gilbert, a 27-year-old Nova Scotia native who joined a cast including Academy Award-winner William Hurt, Ethan Hawke, Gillian Anderson, Donald Sutherland and Billy Boyd, told Andrea Nemetz, Entertainment Reporter on the Canadian The Chronicle Herald.

“We were pounded by squall after squall. We even saw a water spout. The nautical coordinator, someone who had been a mariner all his life, said it was only the second he had ever seen. Thirteen people went down with seasickness and had to be helped off the ship.

“You can’t appreciate the emotional and visual energy that acting in that provides. . . . (Cast member) Raoul Trujillo told us it was the best acting partner you’ll ever have. It gives you so much to work with. You’re at the mercy of it and act with it accordingly. It’s amazing.”

dmarks said...

How long before another commenter chimes in who is terminally confused about differences between Natives and south-seas islanders when it comes to classical literature?

Rob said...

Yes. Perhaps Russell Bates confused Friday (Caribbean Indian) with Queequeg (South Sea Islander).