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Lane Factor Says ‘Reservation Dogs,’ ‘The Fabelmans’ Roles Eased His Self-Doubt

Lane Factor spent most of his teen years on camera, growing up on FX’s “Reservation Dogs.” The hit series premiered in 2021 and comes to an end in September after three seasons. Factor plays Cheese Williams, one of the show’s four Indigenous teenagers living on the “rez” in rural Oklahoma. The Oklahoma native, who is of Creek-Seminole and Caddo descent, talked to Variety before the SAG-AFTRA strike about learning the craft, how the cast and crew helped him overcome his anxiety and working with Steven Spielberg in “The Fabelmans.”

What has the journey been like for you, getting to grow up on TV as Cheese and taking him through this final season?

It’s been so amazing. I’ve learned so much. This was my first role. I’ve learned about starting fresh with this character. But I felt so connected to Cheese because as he was growing, so was I.

I’ve learned about being an actor from my co-stars and directors. I really hope that after this, I can continue working and improving myself and the craft of acting.

When we filmed the pilot, it was before my voice started lowering and before I hit a big growth spurt. In between the pilot and Season 1 there was a six-month gap, and my voice changed, and I got really tall. So they had to try to pitch my voice a bit so it wouldn’t sound so different. I’ve literally grown with the show.

In the middle of all of this, you got to work with Steven Spielberg on “The Fabelmans.” What was that experience like?

Working with Mr. Spielberg was one of the biggest honors. I would try my best not to geek out about his amazing films. I wanted to ask him 1,000 questions.

Did he give you any advice?

I had a scene with him where I got to work on a one-to-one basis. I’m dressed in a sheriff costume and standing on a rock shooting people with a plastic pistol. The scene was filmed on an 8mm camera, and it was shot by him. It was just the two of us, and we were on that rock. He didn’t want any noise and anything interfering. He was telling me what to do, and it’s something I’ll remember for the
rest of my life.

What was the greatest lesson you learned about yourself while working on “Reservation Dogs”?

I doubt myself way too much. I over-criticize myself way too much. I’ve always had the problem of overly doubting myself to the point where it can affect my mental health. But having my cast there, they’re like family, so being able to talk to them and express my concerns was great and helped to alleviate my fears. And working with Spielberg or with people like [“Reservation Dogs” creator] Sterlin Harjo, [director-writer] Blackhorse Lowe and [director-writer-producer] Tazbah Chavez was something that helped a lot. So now, I try not to think about that too much. 

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