Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Heart Wes Studi

I'm not a fan of Wes Studi just because he is from Oklahoma (although that surely doesn't hurt!). No, I like Studi because he's an interesting character actor who has been criminally underemployed in quality films for far too long. What a shame. Studi is one of those distinct, unique actors that always makes an impression.

Studi, a full blood Cherokee born in Nofire Hollow, Oklahoma (is that a great town name or what?), has carved a career out of playing Native Americans. Ethnic actors often get pigeonholed for a particular kind of role and that is all they seem to get despite the fact they can do more but the prison of typecasting is a hard confinement to escape from. Actors have to make a living so they take what they can. For some, it's straight to DVD genre pictures, for someone like Studi, it's playing Indians from every tribe under the sun.

Some of Studi's more well known roles (some of these are TV) are in Last of the Mohicans, Geronimo, Into the West, The New World, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and Comanche Moon. He had a nice role in Heat that I wish would have led to more cop roles--he makes a great detective!--but that didn't happen. It looks like Studi has some sort of role in James Cameron's highly anticipated science fiction 3D epic Avatar later in 2009 so that's something to be excited about.

Check out Studi this Monday on PBS as he has a significant role in American Experience's Native American five part series We Shall Remain. It's the first time Studi has gotten to speak Cherokee in a project after his dozens of roles as other Indian tribes.


bb said...

Don't forget his portrayal of "Joe Leaphorn". I had no idea he was from OK. I have always liked him.

Replicant said...

He should be more utilized!