“Prey,” streaming Friday on Hulu, revives the Predator franchise by going back 300 years as Comanche natives have a first encounter with this murderous 6-foot-8 and often invisible alien.
As Naru, Amber Midthunder, 25, plays the unlikely heroine of “Prey.” Born in New Mexico with Native American, Spanish European and Asian roots, Midthunder grew up acting. She was a series regular on “Roswell, New Mexico” and “Legion.
“Prey” was, she said during a Zoom press conference, “Entirely physical. When I read the script the first time I remember 30 straight pages of action. Like just action. I didn’t realize what that would actually feel like, like in your body when you’re there, all of us together.
“Because we were up in Canada for six months and the country was closed with COVID our families couldn’t come. It was really just us with each other.”
Naru is continually tested in life or death situations: She’s chased into a river by a humongous bear, is nearly buried alive in quicksand and, of course, is continuously pursued by the slaughterhouse that coolly walks among them in the forest.
“Dakota (Beavers, her co-star, a tribal ally) and I and the other boys in the movie all did a four-week boot camp before we started shooting. I had weapons training, Comanche-style archery, spears and tomahawks.
“Also, the stunt team was there, putting together the fights. We would all go work for them. We also had a personal trainer. For me, probably the scariest thing was the river. Because the idea of live water — it’s both very exciting to me and also terrifying. It was summertime but it was glacial runoff water. So it was so cold. And we did that for five days.
“So for five days, I would wake up and be in an ice bath. Before I got in, I just sat watching the river, filled with anxiety. But,” she added, “it ended up being pretty cool.”
Without a doubt, Naru’s dog is the movie’s unrepentant scene stealer. “I love that dog with my whole heart and soul. Her name is Coco but it was rough,” Midthunder revealed.
“I don’t know where she came from but she had so much energy — running wild, doing laps and just so excited to see everybody all the time.
“For me personally, she was a dream. For the movie, her character is very different from the character of Coco and that shows what a good filmmaker our director is. He made a dog a really good actor.”