As she continues to garner acclaim, Prey director Dan Trachtenberg explains why Amber Midthunder was perfect for the Predator film. Midthunder first rose to prominence for her role in FX’s X-Men spinoff series Legion, in which she starred as powerful mutant Kerry Loudermilk, who shared a body with mutant scientist Bill Irwin. The 25-year-old actor has also appeared in the likes of Netflix’s action-thriller The Ice Road and The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico, the second adaptation of Melinda Metz’ sci-fi drama novels.
Midthunder leads the cast of Prey as Naru, a fierce Comanche woman eager to prove herself as a warrior and must put her skills to use when a terrifying and dangerous alien threat arrives and begins hunting down the people she loves. Alongside Midthunder, the cast for the Predator prequel movie includes Dane DiLiegro as the iconic antagonist, Dakota Beavers, Michelle Thrush, Stormee Kipp, Julian Black Antelope and Bennett Taylor. Upon premiering on Hulu earlier this month, Prey scored widespread praise for its Indigenous casting, Trachtenberg’s direction and Midthunder’s performance, and the man at the helm of the Predator film is reflecting on the one element he knew from the start would be a success.
While appearing on The Filmcast, Dan Trachtenberg offered some insight on the development of Prey. In looking at the casting process for the Predator film, the director opened up about why Amber Midthunder was the perfect actor to play protagonist Naru and recalls feeling confident in casting her from the moment he met her. See what Trachtenberg said below:
Frankly, I knew it the second that we met. We did an initial audition over Zoom or FaceTime, pre-pandemic… So she was just terrific, and I knew her mom is a casting director, but her mom also does stunts. Her Dad’s an actor and very physical and I just I had this good feeling like, ‘Oh, man, that must be a part of the equation for her.’ And then we did a chemistry test. So a little bit more of an extensive audition. She auditioned the scene between her and her mother but three different ways. She did it once in English, once in Comanche, and then also non-verbally. Which is a thing that I’ve done before. I’ve never even auditioned that way, but I’ve done it for scenes in things I’ve worked on.
So doing a dialogue scene but without the ability to use words, you just have to convey what it was view, it was incredible. And that’s such a big part of this movie is telling story, not verbally. And then there was a physical component, there was a stunt coordinator there, and we developed this little obstacle course to see how they moved… The way people move is so much of the fun of an action movie. So I wanted to analyze that, and she wasn’t just about the physical movement, she was continuing to tell story in all the running and crawling and jumping and all those things. So that sort of just confirmed what I felt initially.
Unlike the original Arnold Schwarzenegger Predator movie, Prey took a much quieter approach to its runtime, effectively building up the tension and letting the action speak for itself in a similar vein to Mad Max: Fury Road. While some audiences have expressed a disappointment in the lack of one-liners to reference for the prequel film, most have continued to shower it with praise for its deeper character development, namely in regard to Midthunder’s Naru, who is already topping many lists for the best female action heroes. Trachtenberg’s comments about the casting process for Prey largely lines up with Midthunder’s previous discussions of the lead-up to the film’s production, namely going through a rigorous training process to prepare for the film’s action sequences.
With the Predator film now broadening her spotlight, Prey looks to only be the start of Amber Midthunder’s recent rise to stardom. The actor is reportedly attached to star in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender show as Princess Yue, to which she has carefully remained silent on whether she has officially been cast in the upcoming adaptation. In the meantime, audiences can catch up with Midthunder’s acclaimed turn as Naru with Prey streaming on Hulu now.
Source: The Filmcast