‘Prey’ producer Jhane Myers wants to raise the bar for Native representation in Hollywood

When your Native American-led movie — complete with a female Native lead and a Comanche-language dub — becomes the biggest premiere in Hulu’s history, you know you’ve done something right.

After all, the Kardashians are on Hulu too.

Jhane Myers (Comanche), the producer of Predator prequel Prey, which premiered on Hulu in August, does not shy away from this accolade and is quick to admit that she’s aiming to raise the bar when it comes to Native representation in Hollywood, which has notoriously scored low marks.

“We set that standard high because we’ve shown that a lot of things can be done,” Myers told In The Know by Yahoo at the MAKERS Conference in Dana Point, Calif., where she was a moderator. “This is a big chance to really push women ahead in this industry.”

Prey tells the story of how a fierce Comanche woman, played by Amber Midthunder (Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux), discovers and eventually confronts the deadly alien hunter. Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, the film follows Naru (Midthunder) as she challenges not only her brother (Dakota Beavers) and other family members but also the feared enemy himself (Dane DiLiegro).

For Myers, who grew up hunting in Oklahoma, seeing a strong, capable Native woman onscreen was a must.

“I took a lot of the story from my personal story and how I grew up in Oklahoma being the only girl hunting with like four cousins,” Myers shared.

“It brought something that people aren’t used to seeing,” she added, “but it also establishes that, yes, we can be seen as just regular people.”

And by “regular people,” Myers means to combat the harmful stereotypes that have existed among Native characters in films throughout Hollywood history.

“When you look up Comanches, we’re always the villains or we’re the savages,” she said. “So [the film] puts us into a whole different light as a people.”

Shifting the Hollywood paradigm on Native representation

With shows like Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls — which boast Native showrunners and writers — offering nuanced representations of Native characters and settings, Prey has joined the conversation at a pivotal time. And Myers hopes that conversation keeps evolving.

Prey sets the tone for the industry going forward because it kind of shifts that Hollywood paradigm,” Myers said. “It was a paradigm of Native people that hasn’t been created by Native people.”

That goes for roles in front of and behind the camera too. In fact, “Native Americans are represented at a rate of less than 1% in film and television, and that’s not OK,” Jennifer Loren, director of the Cherokee Nation Film Office, told the Hollywood Reporter.

With films like Prey, that appears to be changing.

“I do think that people will learn a lot more about Native people and about Comanches,” Myers added. “People always play cowboys and Indians, but I’m hoping now they play like Comanches and Predator.”

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