This year Toronto Comic Con had a fantastic, mind-blowing set of stars! Among them was Eugene Brave Rock, who played The Chief in last years hit DC film Wonder Woman.
The humble actor/stuntman grew up on the Kainai Nation reserve in Alberta, Canada. He has a world of stunt experience and has even been part of the Oscar-winning film, The Revenant. As a surprise, he was asked to audition for Wonder Woman, without knowing it was Wonder Woman. The role had him in joy. Brave Rock has also opened up a stunt camp for Indigenous stunt performers.
The humbled actor praised Patty Jenkins for her giving him cultural freedom in the film. He had a great deal of power and design over his character and costume. Jenkins placed caring consideration, even little details such as his character name, Napi, was influenced by his home. We’ll delve more into this with this wholesome actor.
DC COMICS NEWS: So how did you initially get into stunt work?
BRAVE ROCK: You know, I’ve taken every opportunity I could when I got into the business. When I was 17, as a theatrical actor, I was being approached while we were doing the program North of 60. There was an actor who committed suicide […] so they wanted to promote awareness of the signs of suicide. And then, after that, I just had the opportunity to ride a horse. So I was told “Are you okay if the horses fall?” And I said, “yeah, sure.”
So I just sort of fell into it.
Every opportunity has been a stepping stone and it’s a long journey. A long staircase.
DCN: How was it being cast in Wonder Woman?
BR: It was the biggest honor I could receive. To share the power of your dreams and to have that full revelation of me being that little kid seeing an American on television and thinking:
“Hey someday, that’s gonna be me” and you know what, now…that’s me.
To give something else, a product, it’s amazing.
DCN: During Wonder Woman you had a lot of chance to input your ideas into your character. What did it mean to you to have the choice?
BR: Oh, it’s been amazing. Being in the business, that opportunity is never really been there for me. I see that actors and writers have this story before it’s on camera; their perceptive and experience is [different], and so being an Indigenous man, it’s nice to be able to share my own thoughts, my own issues, my ways, my language.
DCN: Do you have any dream projects that you would like to work on?
BR: Like I said, everything is a stepping stone and I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing actors and directors, and again I’m just very thankful. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot my heroes who inspired me like Brian Green, West Steve, and everybody that was on North of 60. Everything’s been a dream come true.
[The actor mentions he would like to produce a children’s cartoon series of Napi the Demi-God]
DCN: In Wonder Woman, there were a lot of different languages she spoke that they had subtitled, but for your language they did not have any. What did you think of that?
BR: I was trying to introduce myself in my language. I said, “Hi, my name is Napi.”
Napi is a being, a Blackfoot demi-God, a Blackfoot story-teller. It’s nice to share my culture and my language with the rest of the world. The story of Napi is of a demi-god, you hear stories as a kid and the lesson was based on watching him do what you’re not supposed to do.
I’m glad there weren’t subtitles because honestly, it’s an Easter egg! For people to hear our language, it’s amazing.
DCN: The Chief had a lot of subtle moments, like when the soldiers were in the trench, they didn’t see him. What does the Chief’s Journey with Wonder Woman feel like? What sides does he choose (with her)?
BR: You know what; I think it’s all about humanity. There’s this essence of humanity.
DCN: What was it like to work with Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins?
BR: Such an honor. [Gadot] is wonderful! And [Jenkins] is a very good director. Incredible. It was an honor to work with her.
DCN: In Wonder Woman, your character said something along the lines of ‘Who took that from your people?’ – ‘His people.’ Diana looked into the flames, what did that look, that silence mean to you?
BR: That line is so important. They didn’t have to put that line in there. But to show that recognition is amazing. I want to thank Warner Brothers and DC Comics for telling it how it is. The reality is not white-washed there.
A huge thank you to Brave Rock for the interview, and the greatness he put into the film. Wonder Woman would not have been as ground-breaking without the support of the heroine’s team.