SF native stars in the next chapter of the 'Predator' series - Albuquerque Journal

SF native stars in the next chapter of the ‘Predator’ series

Naru, played by Amber Midthunder, in a scene from “Prey.” (20th Century Studios/David Bukach)

Being in the film industry, Amber Midthunder knows there’s a lot of hurry up and wait.

When she auditioned for the film, “Prey,” it was in early 2020. She and director Dan Trachtenberg had met prepandemic.

Then the project disappeared from her life as the pandemic shut down the world.

As the film industry began to come back, the Santa Fe native got the call again from Trachtenberg for the film.

She didn’t realize that “Prey” was the fifth installment of the cult favorite “Predator” series.

“I was auditioning and I didn’t know what it was,” Midthunder says. “And somebody told me it was ‘Predator’ and I cried. I hadn’t had the job jet. It wasn’t even like good tears. It was like scary. Just the concept of like, how big everything (is) … When I read the script for the first time, I remember reading like 30 straight pages of action.”

“Prey” begins to stream on Hulu on Friday, Aug. 5.

The film is set in the Comanche Nation 300 years ago.

It is the story of a young woman, Naru, played by Midthunder, who is a fierce and highly-skilled warrior. She has been raised in the shadow of some of the most legendary hunters who roam the Great Plains, so when danger threatens her camp, she sets out to protect her people.

The prey she stalks, and ultimately confronts, turns out to be a highly evolved alien predator with a technically advanced arsenal, resulting in a vicious and terrifying showdown between the two adversaries.

The production would take six months to film in Canada, so the cast members became like family.

From left, Taabe, played by Dakota Beavers and Naru, played by Amber Midthunder in a scene from “Prey.” (Courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

“The country was closed. It was COVID,” she says. “Our families couldn’t come (to set). It was really just like us and each other. I think the COVID element and the system that it creates with everybody who was like giving so much to make this movie is something that I could never have expected.”

Midthunder says the role is her most physical to date.

“We did a four-week boot camp,” she says. “Dakota (Beavers), and I, and the other boys in the movie all did a four-week camp before we started shooting. And it had, I mean, like, weapons training. So you know, Comanche-style archery, spears, tomahawks.”

Midthunder says the stunt team was also on point – putting together the fights.

“We also had a personal trainer, stuff like that. So we did all those things,” she says. “For me, probably the scariest thing was the river. Because the idea of like a live water, it’s both very exciting to me and also terrifying. And it was summertime, but it was glacial runoff water. So it was so cold. And we did that. We were there for like five days. So like for five days, I would wake up and be like, ice bath. Like before I got in, I was just watching it. I was just like filled with anxiety. But it ended up, you know, being pretty cool.”

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