The film, which centers on a Spokane Indian Reservation teen who transfers to an all-white high school where the only other “Indian” is the school mascot, will mark the first known instance of a studio movie featuring a Native American protagonist. Jackman is eyeing a supporting role.
For an industry that long has relegated Native Americans to the nefarious periphery (John Ford’s The Searchers), whitewashed them (Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in Pan) or lampooned them (Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous 6), Part-Time Indian is a welcome change. Throughout its nearly decade-long run, the book continues to build momentum on The New York Times‘ best-seller list, hitting No. 1 for the first time in May. It remains a favorite among middle-school teachers for its realistic depictions of harsh issues including poverty and bulimia.
Alexie, who grew up on the reservation depicted in the book, is adapting the screenplay and will executive produce. He promises, “This is going to be culturally authentic.”
All this comes at a time when Native American actor and activist Myrton Running Wolf (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is petitioning SAG-AFTRA to reverse its policy of not recognizing tribal enrollment (SAG-AFTRA has maintained it is illegal to request tribal verification from potential Native American employees or show preference based on it). Read the full article | Hollywood Reporter