MOVIE NEWS – Prey director Dan Trachtenberg has revealed a few things about the title’s significance and how impressed he was with Amber Midthunder’s take on the role of Naru.
It seems Amber Midthunder was born to play the lead character, Naru, in Prey. The Predator prequel has been very well received by fans of the franchise, and critics (including ours), with many saying it’s one of the best in the series. Many viewers loved Midthunder as Naru, who, even without access to modern firepower, proves a formidable opponent for the alien hunter.
It was essential to cast the right person in this role, which director Dan Trachtenberg confirmed.
Speaking about the casting in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trachtenberg said the search was “intense”, but the process became much easier once Midthunder was cast. The director explained how impressed he was with the audition process, which included appearing in Comanche with co-star Dakota Beavers with very little preparation.
“It certainly was intense. But as soon as I started talking to Amber, I hoped she was Naru because she’s delightful to be around. And when we auditioned her, she did the scene between her and her mother, which was very moving. And then we did a version of that scene, silent. Sometimes, even while making a movie, we’ll do a verbal scene, but performed without the words. And Amber’s take on that scene in that way was very, very powerful. Eventually, both her and Dakota [Beavers] performed a scene in Comanche, and after only one day of studying the language and Jhane helping them, they were already inherently great at it.”
Midthunder was good at Naru’s verbal scenes, but the role also required him to be physically fit.
Fortunately, as Trachtenberg explains, Midthunder sealed the casting with the way he passed the physical test of the audition.
“There was a physical test as a little bit of an obstacle course was set up. We had a stunt coordinator there to investigate their physicality because I’m big on swashbuckle. The way a character moves can be as exciting as anything else in the movie, and Amber was just so gifted at not merely crawling, leaping, and sliding, but also telling a story within those movements, which is so critical in a movie where story is told largely through action. So she was an incredible find, for sure.”
One of the key differences between this film and its predecessors is that it’s the only one without the word “Predator” in the title. After the previous four films (not counting the AvP movies), Prey was referred to by many as Predator 5 even before the official title was released. As for why they decided to go with Prey, Dan Trachtenberg says in his interview that he didn’t think the film could get the green light otherwise. The idea was to pitch the film as a loose spinoff, as at the time, Predators was in development and Prey needed to be differentiated.
“I knew the only way that they would agree to making this other kind of Predator movie is if I pitched it as what Rogue One or Solo are to the Star Wars franchise. So Prey would also be this other thing, and the title really suggests that it’s sort of a mirror to the main franchise.”
Prey has the same double meaning as Predator.
Trachtenberg knew he had to come up with a name that would suit the series, even though the title doesn’t include the word Predator. The director explains that there was something about Prey that everyone appreciated because it came with the same double meaning, which worked perfectly for the Predator. While “Predator” could refer to both monsters and humans, the same could be said for “Prey”, as seen in the new film.
“So that was in the initial pitch, and then I started pitching other titles. But everyone really fell in love with Prey, and I think it works so well because it has the exact same double meaning that Predator has. And there certainly is precedent. Other movies have used different titles that are still inside of another IP, and I think this one proves that you can still have success without calling something Part Two, Begins, or what have you.”
Prey is available on Hulu.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
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