During a recent press conference, “Prey” Director Dan Trachtenberg talked about the inspiration for the film’s story and title. He said was too young and not allowed to see the original “Predator” film in 1987.
By Mark Daniel
However, he was inspired by an exaggerated description of the film (told by friends who saw the film) including a fight scene between the Native American tracker Billy (Sonny Landham) and the Predator over a waterfall. Although the exaggerated details of the scene Trachtenberg imagined were never in the film, the imagery stuck with him. Those imagined details became the inspiration for “Prey.” He also wanted the story to focus on the characters that are not normally the heroes of the movie they’re in.
For the title, Trachtenberg took a note from the Star Wars franchise. There’s “Star Wars: A New Hope” and then the stand-alone films like “Solo.” The intent is for “Prey” to stand alone as part of the Predator franchise.
Actors Amber Midthunder (Naru) and Dakota Beavers (Taabe) talked about the physical requirements of filming out in the elements. Its remote location required a four week bootcamp for strength training, cardio building, choreographed stunt work, and weaponry. Midthunder recalled after her training, seeing the Predator on set for the first time. “I actually just walked up to him, and something happened to me,” she said. “I was captured by the sight, but at the same time, I was trying to determine if I could kill him for real.”
For Beavers, coming from a musical background, “Prey” was his first film and he was excited to be a part of the Predator franchise. Beavers worked extensively with the stunt team to be able to do all of his own stunts, which required learning Comanche combat techniques and horseback riding.
Producer Jhane Myers, a member of the Comanche Nation, said “authenticity was very important for ‘Prey.’” Myers worked closely with costume designers and the makeup department to accurately portray the Comanche ways. She mentioned the Comanche color palette in the film is historically correct for the 1700s. She said producing this film was “like going back into time and being like how my ancestors lived, what their day-to-day life was. So for me, that was amazing.”
Myers also touched on the fact that “Prey” shot for five and a half months, outdoors. “I grew up as a tomboy, I was the only girl playing with all of my cousins and shooting bows, hunting, spending our afternoons at the creek, building fires, and trying to eat what we killed, which is kind of crazy”.
“Prey” is now streaming on Hulu in the United States. There’s an option to choose a Comanche language dub, making “Prey” the first film to be dubbed in Comanche with the voices of the original cast. Click to read our review.