Man of many talents hitting the big screen
By Jan-Mikael Patterson
"Those are things that I've done," he said in a Dec. 18 interview backstage at a 49 Laughs Comedy Show. "I don't ride bulls anymore or box. I've been doing comedy, which I love doing now with Pax Harvey, James Junes and Ernie Tsosie III, and Adrienne Chalapah now."
Means took on stand-up comedy in full stride along with Harvey, Junes, Tsosie and Chalapah as part of the "49 Laughs Comedy: Laugh Now, Cry Later Tour."
"49 Laughs has been pumping shows left and right and with us producing shows, it's going strong," he said. "We're getting calls to do shows and it seems like the casinos are really picking up on it and I'm glad to be a part of it."
Comedy and public engagements have not slowed him down from acting at all. He landed the lead role in a movie called "Tiger Eyes." The movie is based on a book written by author Judy Blume with the same title.
The book is about a teenager named Davey, who is dealing with the death of her father.
"I've been doing this for five years, since 2005," he said. "I started off doing stuntwork in my hometown Chinle, doubling up for Black Cloud. It's funny because it took place in my own gym, my own boxing gym in Chinle. I was thinking, 'Man, I could've played this character.'
"The role went to a non-Navajo. It was like, 'Dang, bummer,'" he chuckled. "My dad (Russell Means) was in there playing a coach. It's been going good with acting. It's a hard business. There's so much competition and it's hard to get your foot into the door and actually get some good roles."
Although his father is well known for his political activism with the American Indian Movement and notable acting roles, Means does not use his father's fame to land acting jobs.
Below: "Stand-up comic Tatanka Means, pictured backstage at the Orpheum Theater on Dec. 18, 2010, is ready to grace the movie screen with the film-adaptation of Judy Blume's teen novel Tiger Eyes, where he plays Wolf-Martin Ortiz." (Jan-Mikael Patterson)