Actor Noah Watts gets into the game
By Alex Sakariassen
For Watts, work has a way of bringing him back to his roots. His latest film is yet to be released, an independent film titled The Last Beyond shot entirely in Watts' hometown of Livingston. The movie is set during the Depression and Watts portrays the Native protagonist Joe Running Elk. The last project Watts worked on in Montana was his first, The Slaughter Rule, meaning The Last Beyond has brought him full circle. Watts considers himself a part of a cadre of Native American writers, directors and actors who, over the past 12 years or so, have exercised increasing control over how their people are represented in popular entertainment.
"It's a huge honor to be part of the group that's breaking these boundaries, stepping forward and saying, 'We have a right to tell our stories, and we have a right to direct our stories, and we want to act in our own [stories],'" Watts says. "We need to control our image in the media and not let some other third party control it for us, tell us who we are, tell everyone else who we are."
Watts spent much of the past summer at Ubisoft's headquarters in Montreal, voicing the role of Mohawk protagonist Connor Kenway and conducting facial- and motion-capture work for in-game cinematics. Watts says he relied on memories of his Crow upbringing to inform how he carried himself as Kenway.
"I just tried to think about certain people in my life who were on that side of my family, the Native side," Watts says. "How they carried themselves, how they talked, how they moved. I was so happy that a game of this caliber, this size, would even consider using a Native American as the main protagonist."