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Amber Midthunder feet on the ground and rising fast by Anne Maclachlan

Suzanne Prescott

Though she’s been in the film industry for most of her life—her first speaking role was opposite Alan Arkin in the film Sunshine Cleaning Company when she was 8 years old—this summer looks as if it will mark Amber Midthunder’s cinematic breakout year. Midthunder, an enrolled tribal member of the Ft. Peck Sioux Reservation, has been cast as the mysterious Kerry in the upcoming FX TVAbove: Actress and filmmaker Amber Midthunder Marvel series Legion, starring plays Kerry on the Marvel-FX TV series Legion. Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens. With a script by Fargo’s Noah Hawley (“He’s a genius. He’s so open to letting the art happen,” says Midthunder.) and including a number of Fargo’s former castmembers, Legion—and Kerry—are already attracting a great deal of critical interest. Also this summer, Midthunder plays Natalie Martinez in the Jeff Bridges / Ben Foster / Chris Pine / Gil Birmingham film Hell or High Water (formerly titled Comancheria), which earned acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and is out this summer in the States. “It’s truly an amazing gift to live in that space with them, even if it was just for a day [of filming],” she says of the principals and the director, David Mackenzie. Her parents, Angelique and David Midthunder, are both in the business, and she says watching them when she was small lit the initial spark. Her parents supported her but never pushed. “I remember when I was little, and my dad would get auditions, and I would sit and learn his lines,” she recalls. “I didn’t really understand what it was. I just wanted to do it.” As to honing the craft, Midthunder feels that each actor should use a unique approach. “It’s so individual, so personal, that you just have to figure it out for yourself,” she advises. In her own case, she prefers coaching to classes and workshops, but adds, “The times I have felt myself grow the most were in the presence of other actors, in a working environment.” Regarding specific influences, she speaks highly of her coach, Laura Cunningham, and of her own mother, Angelique, through whom she learned the casting process. “I feel that’s where I really learned the magic,” Midthunder explains, “in the casting office, where a person comes in, in front of a wall and two people, and they sort of have this whole other world happening.” Clearly at home in front of the camera, Midthunder was in her midteens when she codirected two films with Hannah Macpherson, which she thoroughly enjoyed doing. “I was very young,” she says, adding that she appreciated having a codirector who could oversee the process. The films, #nightslikethese and #hashtag, both caught national attention, and are terrifying reflections on the desensitization of teens who live

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Native Arts Presents Indian Market Magazine 2016 | Digital Edition  
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