June 13, 2010

TeenHollywood interviews Wolf Pack

The premiere of Eclipse is almost upon us, so it's time for more Twilight hype.

INTERVIEW:  The Sexy Wolves of "Eclipse"

By Lynn BarkerTeenHollywood:  Has the Twilight franchise created more work for Native American actors outside the Twilight films?

Chaske:  Yes it has. What I like about it, it's brought us to pop culture in a way that's never been done before in film. We've been around for a while. I've been around for ten years acting and it's brought us to a place where we're not always playing with 'leather and feather'. That's how we paid our dues. It's up to the media as well to accept us as being other than mystical figures and putting on the leather and feather and speaking in a res (reservation) accent. I've done that so many times. The kids are more accepting of us than anyone else. That's what's so cool.

Julia:  That's also what excites me is we are being put in front of teens and children and people who are in the process of defining their ideas of what Native Americans are and I think that's probably the most valuable aspect of the way Native Americans are portrayed in this film. I still feel that a lot of adults are trying to figure it out.
Reactions from Indian country:TeenHollywood:  In addition to the kids that you are hearing from, have you heard from the Quileute tribe depicted in the films?

Alex:  The fascinating thing about portraying a tribe that actually does exist, the things Stephenie had taken from the tribe she mixed it in the realm of fantasy. But, now a lot of people are going to Washington state, to La Push where the Quileute tribe does reside and they're learning more. They're forced to ask questions to learn more about the culture and I think that's great that they are getting a spotlight to tell the real creation story and that's important. Fans are so into it that they want to know the root of the wolf pack.

Chaske:  All over native country, we're getting great feedback and it's about time. We've gotten massive support from our people on reservations. It's opened up a whole different door to us and it's a little pressure too because now it's almost like we have to be role models now and that's something that kind of scares me as well. That's a big load to take on.
Their dream projects:TeenHollywood:  What Native American legend did you hear as a kid or read about that you would love to see made in to a movie some day?

Chaske:  For me personally, I've always had a fascination with Crazy Horse. He's from my tribe too (Lakotah Sioux) and I've read so many books about him. That's something I'd really like to bring to screen. I think I'd like to direct it. It's one of stories people don't know about. He's such a mythical figure and a leader and warrior that his character fascinates me.

Julia:  Has there been a movie made on Sacajawea? The character has been in a couple of movies but...

Alex:  "Night at the Museum." (laughter)

Julia:  That doesn't count! As a female there aren't that many notable Native American figures. Pocahontas and Sacajawea. I know stories of family members of mine but it's not the same for the girls.
Comment:  I'm glad they interviewed Julia Jones, who's a little bit Native, rather than Tinsel Korey, who apparently isn't Native at all.

I don't think there's been a great Sacagawea movie. But Native films about women don't have to feature historical characters. I think we've seen that in Naturally Native, Edge of America, Frozen River, Imprint, Pearl, Rez Bomb, and others.

These comments confirm what we've said many times. That Native actors can be popular with non-Native audiences. That casting these actors opens doors for them and other Native actors. That seeing Natives on screen can inspire Native youth.

All very obvious points, but Hollywood still doesn't get it. Especially the first point, which is the studios' responsibility. How many hits with nonwhite actors will it take before execs start casting them routinely?

Again, Hollywood needs to overcome its cultural conservatism. It needs to understand that whites will be a minority in a few decades. It's time for them to come out of their racist closet and start dealing with today's multicultural America.

For more on the subject, see Quileutes Welcome Twilight Fans and Wolf Pack on Quileute Tribe.

Below:  Since the actors can't be 6'7" like Jacob Black in the books, I guess having them shirtless is the next best thing. One way or another, they're a little more beastlike than the rest of us.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, Jacob being 6'7" is a little hard to swallow. If they were plains Indians, it'd be more justified, but not much. Hard to cast, though.

Chaske, by the way, means "first son".

As for the shirtlessness, Meyer tries to justify it. She fails, I know.

Anonymous said...

Wow Jacob is supposed to be 6'7? I never read the books so I didn't know that. Maybe if Stephanie actually had come up here and met some coastal people I wouldn't be laughing right now.

Unknown said...

It's curious that IMDB lists Taylor Lautner's heritage as French, Dutch, German and Ottawa and Potawatomi, but yet all the media and even the other Native actors call him a non-Native. Is IMDB incorrect, or is everyone maybe referring to a lack of Native upbringing and mindset?

Rob said...

Kat, I discussed Lautner's background at length in More on Lautner the "Native" and Non-Native Cast as Quileute Werewolf. The short version is he discovered he had a small amount of Native blood after he got the role. Since he didn't know anything about his Native heritage, I don't think most Indians would consider him Native.