December 01, 2009

Runningwater interviews Studi

This interview offers some highlights from actor Wes Studi's life. Below are some quotes:

Movies:  Native film star tells of his hero’s journey, on and offscreen

Where Studi grew up:Nofire Hollow was a real hollow, not a post office, not a town. You people from the South know what a hollow is. Nofire Hollow is what it’s been known after allotments were issued to Cherokee citizens. 160 acres.Relearning Cherokee after attending boarding school:When I went home I discovered, oh wow, I couldn’t speak Cherokee anymore. A little English-speaking boy in a Cherokee home, where everyone was adamant that we speak Cherokee. I managed to learn the Cherokee language again.Feeling the pull of the Plains mystique at school:I wanted in time to identify with my Cheyenne brothers, my plains brothers.His first acting job:One weekend after calling bingo, a bunch of us after partying ended up in jail. I made the deal to do “The Trial of Standing Bear” (a 1988 TV movie shot at Chilocco in which Studi played Long Runner) from a jail cell.His breakthrough role in Dances with Wolves:I played a Pawnee. It was almost therapeutic how easy it is to get into that mindset of warrior-ism. (He lets out a high-pitched screech.) You kind of think of the injustice Indian people lived through. It’s pretty easy to draw from the kind of feeling.Speaking another language in The Last of the Mohicans:Because I do speak another tongue besides English, my tongue is more willing to take chances. I know I am not going to speak perfectly. For languages to continue to be learned, people are going to have to take a chance, and the people listening are going to have to be tolerant.Playing Major Ridge in Trail of Tears:Unfortunately, I got to play a fellow who in my mind and other people’s minds was a villain. I had always known one side of the story. This opened my eyes to the actual decisions that had to be made.Comment:  For more on the subject, see Studi Challenges Stereotypical Roles and The Best Indian Movies.


jean said...

Wes Studi's a talented and charismatic actor.Impossible to ignore him in a film.I still haven't gotten over his stunning performance in The Last of the Mohicans.He overshadowed DD Lewis's performance.I liked Wes in Heat too.FAN!

jean said...

Uhh maybe I should rephrase that...
I Liked his performance in Heat.
Oops maybe its better put He was great in Heat.
Oh about Heat was a good film and Wes was great in it.There.Phew!