EXCLUSIVE: ‘Prey’ Director Dan Trachtenberg Talks About The “Challenge” of Making A Predator From The Past Formidable

The Predator franchise’s latest film, Prey, won’t be another typical Sci-Fi action film. It’s also groundbreaking and refreshes a property that honestly has gone stale over the years.

Prey Introduces A Primitive But Still Advanced Predator

With Prey, director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) had to accomplish two things: make us forget about  The Predator films after the first movie and breathe new life into the franchise. Trachtenberg was up to the task, delivering a story that seemingly pays homage to the first film and possibly giving us a new heroine to root for in future films with Naru (Amber Midthunder).

Prey’s premise takes the franchise back in time, 300 years ago, when the Comanche Nation navigated the great plains. This film sees the Predator meet an unexpected challenge in Naru, who tracks down the big game hunting extraterrestrial who threatens the safety of her tribe.

Prey Introduces A Less Advanced But Still Formidable Predator

Source: Hulu / Prey

The whole movie now is dubbed in Comanche, and what a teaching tool to show the world because when the world thinks of native people, they think we don’t exist anymore. They think of us as conquered or whatnot, and it just shows that we’re unconquered. We still thrive. We’re still here. So that means a lot.

Prey Isn’t Just A Popcorn Flick. It’s Very Important When It Comes To Representation

The film sets itself apart from the other Predator movies by introducing Midthunder, her co-star Dakota Beavers, and the other Native American actors to the world. It is also one of the few big-budget films dubbed in Comanche.

Ahead of the film’s release, Cassius Life’s Bernard “Beanz” Smalls spoke with Trachtenberg and Producer Jhane Myers, who also happens to be an enrolled member of the Comanche nation, about Prey. In our Zoom interview, we touched on the Prey going back in time and how it affects the Predator, the importance of the film’s Indigenous representation, and how the movie draws inspiration from a popular PlayStation video game franchise.

Step into the interview below.

Cassius Life: For this film, you went back in time and put an indigenous tribe against the Predator. What was the intention behind that? We also noticed that the Predator weapons and stuff seemed kind of primitive regarding what he usually has. Is that also a fair thing to point out?

Dan Trachtenberg: Yeah, that was the exciting thing. And also, the challenging thing of this movie was to tell the story about a Predator who was 300 years prior to the one from the original movie, but still making sure that it had all the advanced weaponry that would make him a formidable, if not an impossible-seeming opponent to anyone on earth, but it also allowed for us to have brand new gizmos and gadgets for him to use, so it was exciting for fans at the franchise as well as newcomers to it.

I really, I really wanted to tell a story about an underdog story, and focus the camera on people and culture that is throughout history in media and otherwise, relegated to playing the sidekick or the villain and never really the hero. And thought if they become the leads of this movie and then the audience is having a very similar experience in watching the film as is the character going through the story inside the movie.

Source: Hulu / Prey

Yeah, that was the exciting thing. And also, the challenging thing of this movie was to tell the story about a Predator who was 300 years prior to the one from the original movie, but still making sure that it had all the advanced weaponry that would make him a formidable, if not an impossible-seeming opponent to anyone on earth.

CL: Ms. Myers, Dan touched on it a little bit. This film focuses on the Indigenous tribe. So what did that mean to you, seeing Native American culture in this film?

Jhane Myers: For me, because I am an enrolled member of the Comanche nation, I identify as Comanche and Blackfeet. But for me, it meant the world. To me, it meant everything to me because never have I worked on a project. I’ve worked with projects with native content and even with my own Comanche content, but never to this extent. The whole movie now is dubbed in Comanche, and what a teaching tool to show the world because when the world thinks of native people, they think we don’t exist anymore. They think of us as conquered or whatnot, and it just shows that we’re unconquered. We still thrive. We’re still here. So that means a lot.

Source: Mike Marsland / Getty

Prey’s Video Game Influence

CL: Dan, you mentioned that there’s a call out to God of War in the movie. And you squeezed it in, and we saw what it was, which was a shield. So I just wanted to know how excited you are now that God of War Ragnarök has a date, and we just want to know your excitement for that.

DT: The answer is extremely, but it’s the Predator shield, but even her Tomahawk that she makes because she throws it and calls it back. It was very much inspired by playing that game. And yeah, I cannot wait for more for sure.

Prey premieres exclusively on Hulu on August 5.

Photo: Hulu/ Getty Images

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