Prey tells the story of a young woman, Naru, a fierce and highly skilled warrior who 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.
We'll be sharing our thoughts on the movie with you a little later this week (trust us when we say you don't want to miss it), but last month, Prey star Amber Midthunder spoke to us about her role as the badass female warrior Naru. She steps up to battle the Predator in this movie, and the Legion alum delivers a standout performance.
In the video below, she opens up on her training regime, favourite weapons, and the first time she saw the Predator on set. The actor also breaks down a key action sequence, the secrecy surrounding the role, and whether she would be open to returning for a Prey sequel.
Check out the full interview with Amber below:
Naru makes use of a lot of badass weapons in this film, but which of those did you most enjoy getting hands-on with?
Yeah, I mean, all of them! I think that the incorporation of weapons was really well done and, also the Comanche people going back are incredible warriors and hunters. To be able to explore that, especially on screen, I think is a very unique and cool thing we got to do.
Was your training quite an extensive process or was there an element of learning on the job?
I think it was both. We had a four-week training camp we all went to before we started shooting that had all the weapons. We also made our own sign language based off real Comanche sign language and so we worked with the sign team and personal trainers. We shot for so long that, sometimes, there are things being constructed and stuff that you’re learning that you only have the option to do at work [Laughs].
Predator is an iconic franchise and Prey feels like a great next step after some not-so-great films in the past. Was it important to you that, as well as a great sci-fi thing, the portrayal of the Comanche Nation was very authentic and delivered the sort of representation we don’t always see?
I never knew originally that this was a Predator film. I only knew that it was a film about this young Comanche woman who wanted to be a hunter [Laughs]. To me, that was what the movie was. Later, I found out that there was a big alien space monster too. That was a side piece of the movie because the representation is definitely a hugely important part of this story. Around the world, First Nation people of North America aren’t everywhere and, even in North America, it’s a very small population. In media, getting to showcase period culture…when you make a period piece and show First Nation or indigenous people and having that be accurate and also very human and grounded and relatable has a huge impact on the community and people in my opinion. That was hugely important.
What was that day on set like when you came face to face with the Predator for the first time?
I saw the Predator first, I think, by accident. I heard whispers of some sort of show and tell happening and saw people slowly disappearing so I was like, ‘Hmm, what’s going on over there?’ I snuck over, looked, and in the woods, I saw this creature and he was moving, you know, the head and mouth. I went, ‘I could take him.’ That was what I said. That was my instinct. For some reason, I thought ‘Oh, I could fight that.’ It was far less intimidating than I imagined and then, immediately, after my Naru brain, I went back to my brain and was like, ‘No, that’s wild! It’s a giant monster!’ It was very cool to see, especially as so much of it is practical. It’s the suit and animatronic head that takes four people to run for just the face. Seeing that for the first time was wild.
Prey has a lot of badass action, but it's also a really empowering story about this young woman who, as the film says, is a warrior and not a cook. What about that side of this story did you most enjoy exploring?
The feeling of really believing in yourself or something and wanting to prove that to people or having naysayers who make you believe in it more. But also having moments where you also doubt yourself. I think that’s relatable no matter the challenges or who you are. That’s really what she goes through. That’s her journey. On top of that, I think it’s an incredible thing 20th Century and Dan did to get behind a movie like this where there is a strong, female indigenous character in an action movie where people can look at it, especially Native women and kids, and hopefully identify with it. ‘Wow, we have our own.’ We’re getting more, but that to me is what’s really amazing.
I think after seeing this film, everyone will want a sequel. How would you feel about returning as Naru for another Predator battle?
[Laughs] You know, that is a conversion that I’ve not heard anything about, but I would be, you know, not against having the conversation!
You get a very cute canine co-star in this movie, so what was that experience like for you?
Oh my God, that dog was chaos [Laughs]. That dog was a disaster, but in a very cute way! She was adopted two months before shooting the movie because they found that to be the most accurate dog for the time period and area. She didn’t have years of training or anything like that. She also happened to be the highest energy dog you will ever meet in the world [Laughs]. That made every day that she was around quite chaotic and exciting, but I loved her. I think she’s great.
One of my favourite scenes in the film is when Naru flees from that bear before the Predator shows up, but what was that crazy, violent sequence like to film?
We shot that over a week and some change, so those were some intense days [Laughs]. The bear was literally a guy in a bear suit. I don’t know that there was a real bear at any point, but I was acting with a guy in a bear suit. It was really kind of hilarious when you think about it, but also intense. We had two locations to shoot that sequence, and one of them was a real river out in the mountains of Alberta. We would drive an hour, hike down a mountain, get in a boat, ride across the river, and then arrive at the shooting location. The river was arctic, glacial runoff water from the mountains, so even though it was summer, that water was freezing! It was freezing cold and we were in there for so long. We’d then go and shoot it on another location where they had a pool and a stage, and explosions and a guy in a bear suit. There was so much happening throughout that whole sequence so to see that finished product is very rewarding and very different to my memories of making it [Laughs].
Prey premieres exclusively on Hulu on August 5!