The ‘Predator’ prequel fans have been waiting for is finally here! Opening to great reviews and even touted to be the best film in the sci-fi franchise since the 1987 original, ‘Prey’ gives a look at the origin story of the trophy-hunting creature.

Unlike the other films over the years, including the ‘Alien Vs Predator’ spinoff, this one sees the seven-foot-tall alien returning to his original hunting ground – the forest- where he goes up against an unlikely prey – the Comanche warriors.

Ahead of the film’s release on Disney+ Hotstar, lead actor, Dakota Beavers, sat down for a conversation where he got candid about his acting debut, watching Native American characters in lead roles, the future of the ‘Predator’ franchise and of course, drawing inspiration from Sonny Landham and Arnold Schwarzenegger for his role. Excerpts:

Dakota, you mark your film debut with ‘Prey’. Were you nervous at all?

I was a little nervous as it was my first acting role, but everybody was so kind. Dan, Jane, Amber and the boys were all so kind to me and helped me understand how movies worked. I just had the best experience.

You and Amber Midthunder had big shoes to fill while stepping into this franchise. Was there something from the original cast – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Landham – that you tried to incorporate in your portrayal?

It was just the strength of the characters for me. When you see Billie (Sonny Landham) and Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the first ‘Predator’ movie, they are these big men, with deep manly voices. I really liked Billie in the first movie because he is a little stoic, but he has got so many layers. I wanted to carry some of that strength from that original movie into Taabe.

Tell us a little something about your character, and what makes him so special.

Taabe, which is a Comanche word for ‘the sun’, was a very special character for me because deep down he had goodness and solidness to his character. He is not the jealous older brother, but more like papa bear. Since his father isn’t around, he feels kind of protective toward his mother and sister, even though he knows she is talented and a skilled hunter. He doesn’t want to see her hurt or in any kind of trouble and he wants to have her back. I love that about him, he’s got a good heart.

The subsequent films have tried to bring the sequels at par with the original, but that’s seldom happened. How do you think Prey will keep the predator franchise going?

I think Dan did a fantastic job with the whole feel of the movie. In the original movie, they were in the jungle and there was this creature that they didn’t know what it was… there were these spooky jungle vibes. I think going back to that primal uncertainty was what people really want. Who expects a 7-foot space alien to come down and hunt you? It is terrifying.

‘Alien vs Predator’ touched upon Mayan lore and now ‘Prey’ puts the Comanche people and their culture into perspective, even the Predator’s look was modified. How did it feel to bring this story to the big screen?

The first time I saw Predator (on set), it was a big wow factor for me because he comes walking through the fog. My character says this line in Comanche that translates to ‘That’s some crazy s***’. He is tall, thin, muscular and terrifying. I think he is the best-looking one yet. It was just amazing to be on set with him and not just have him be CGI, but a combination of it which really helped with the acting.

Now that you’ve taken on the Predator, what next action film do you hope to star in?

As far as my future goes, I have a couple of irons in the fire, but nothing that I can talk about just yet, but hopefully good things.

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