Prey Director Had To Be Convinced About A Key Character
Prey has been one of the biggest success stories on Hulu, but one of the best characters nearly was cut out before the director was convinced to keep them.
Prey has been the hit that the Predator franchise needed. The movie has quickly revitalized interest in the long-time horror film series thanks to fresh ideas, a dynamite cast, and finally, a lovable dog named Sarii. Amber Midthunder’s Naru is the main character of the film, and her animal companion Sarii was instantly beloved by audiences at test screenings. So much so that director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) was convinced to expand the pooch’s role. At a press conference, Trachtenberg discussed the struggles of getting more usable scenes of Sarii, played by real-life good girl Coco, saying “As we were developing [Prey] or showing cuts to friends and family, everyone was like, ‘more dog.’ I’m like, ‘you don’t understand, we can’t. We are using every usable frame of this dog!’” This is understandable, as filming with animals is said to be notoriously difficult. Even the best-behaved animals can be hard to work with on film.
With that being said, the unimpeachable success of Prey makes it seems like including more Sarii scenes was the right call. While a great pup performance is always a boost to a film, it certainly wasn’t the only factor that contributed to Prey‘s current 92% on Rotten Tomatoes from critics and 81% from audiences. The high-concept story alone made it a worthy entry to the franchise, with many reviewers calling it the best Predator movie since the original. Prey made the bold decision to throw us hundreds of years into the past, showing the Predator going up against the Comanche Nation on their home turf. The early 1700s setting along with the incredible Indigenous cast helped to quickly make Prey a fan-favorite entry to the franchise.
Another big factor that contributed to Prey‘s commercial and critical success is the star-making turn from lead Amber Midthunder, who is frequently flanked by her new fan-favorite companion Sarii. The rest of the cast only adds to the film’s quality, with Dakota Beavers, Dane DiLiegro, Stormee Kipp, Michell Thrush, Julian Black Antelope, Stefany Mathias, and Bennett Taylor all bringing their A-game. The film also made history as the first film to release a Native dub at the same time as its initial English release. Originally, the film was pitched as being shot entirely in Comanche before the decision was made to shoot the film in English. This meant the actors has to audition in both English and Comanche for their roles. Presumably, Coco’s audition was a little more straightforward.
It’ll be interesting to see how the success of Prey informs future installments of the Predator franchise. While it’s difficult to film with animals, the audience’s reaction to Sarii makes a strong case for more animal companions in Predator films. Regardless, it seems like the formula for Prey will help the team behind future entries continue to pursue new ideas. Director Dan Trachtenberg said as much, mentioning to TimeOut that he would continue to do things that haven’t been done before in the franchise. If you want to check out Prey for yourself, you can go stream it on Hulu today. The movie first hit the platform on August 5.