‘Prey’ director explains the importance of an indigenous lead

Prey
Image via 20th Century Fox

In the upcoming Predator prequel, Prey, indigenous characters face off against the iconic alien hunter. This decision to feature 18th-century Comanche warriors was ingrained in the initial pitch that director Dan Trachtenberg sold to Fox.

In an interview with Screen Rant, Trachtenberg explained his thought process that led up to this story breakthrough.

“I thought that if I’m going to make a movie that is this visual – a story told through action – there had to be an emotional experience to have as well. I thought if I could make this an underdog story, that could give it this sports movie engine driving it. Then, I realized, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great if the experience of watching the movie were similar to the experience the character goes through?’ Who is a protagonist that we’ve never seen in movies before? That’s when we realized we’ve never had a Native American or really an indigenous culture that has been at the lead of a big movie like this. The Comanche were the fiercest warriors of the time, and I think all indigenous cultures – but the Comanche even more so – have always been portrayed as the sidekick or the villain of a movie.”

Trachtenberg then took that idea to Fox, which “they absolutely loved.”

“When the time came to actually get it going, we started hunting for a producer – pun not intended! And then, lo and behold, I found Jhane [Meyers]. As soon as we started speaking, I thought ‘Oh, she is Naru! She is the main character of this movie!’ She had done some projects with Disney in the past, and that’s how there was some connection.”

Producer Jhane Meyers is a member of the Comanche nation and has consulted on TV shows such as The Wilds and Taylor Sheridan’s 1883. She was also a Sundance/Time Warner Storyteller Fellow in 2018 and a Producer Fellow in 2017.

Amber Midthunder, best known for her work on FX’s Legion and the CW’s Roswell, New Mexico, stars as Naru, “a fierce and highly skilled warrior, who sets out to protect her people from the terrifying, relentless and often invisible killing machine.”

The film also stars Dane DiLiegro, Dakota Beavers, Stefany Mathias, and Stormee Kipp. This is the second feature film from Trachtenberg after 2016’s 10 Cloverfield Lane. Prey is expected to debut on Aug. 5, 2022, exclusively only on Hulu. You can check out the full trailer below.