You could say Wes Studi is getting typecast.
Not only has the hard-working, award-winning Cherokee actor had his share of roles in movies about Native people – “Geronimo: An American Legend,” “Last of the Mohicans,” or “Dances with Wolves,” and most recently “The Only Good Indian” – those roles have a certain similarity.
As the Tulsa (Okla.) Native Times points out here, the characters usually stand up to power.
Well, Studi’s at it again, this time in James Cameron’s 3-D blockbuster “Avatar,” which has been called “Dances With Wolves in Space.” That’s because the indigenous population on the film’s planet Pandora, the Na’vi, look strikingly Native American – only, you know, with cornrows and blue skins and pointy Spock ears. As the Native Times reports of Studi:
He recently spoke at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian about tapping into the warrior role. It’s “almost therapeutic how easy it is to get into that mindset of warrior-ism,” Studi said. “You kind of think of the injustice Indian people lived through. It’s pretty easy to draw from the kind of feeling. You have a completely different aggression than the white folks.”
In real life, Studi has been honored for his work to preserve Native languages. In “Avatar,” Studi and the other actors had to learn the Na’vi language, created especially for the movie.
No problem, says Studi.
“Because I do speak another tongue besides English,” Studi says, “my tongue is more willing to take chances.”
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