INTERVIEW: From the Reservation to the Big Screen – ILID Talks with Wonder Woman’s Eugene Brave Rock at Dallas Fan Days

1

Eugene Brave Rock was thrust into the public eye when this year’s blockbuster hit, Wonder Woman, was released in movie theatres. If you were lucky enough to make it to the 2017 Dallas Fan Days in Irving, you could find him seated next to stars like David Tennant and Kristian Nairn. However, Gene’s background is quite different from the other stars in attendance.

While many in attendance grew up with theatrical backgrounds, Gene grew up on a Blackfoot reservation. His native tribe clings to a traditional culture that is deep seeded history in American/Canadian roots.

“The meaning of the name of the Blood Tribe goes back to when the settlers first started coming through. They saw our members covered with a red pigment, red ocher, that we use in a ceremony. Growing up on The Rez was amazing. Growing up with the culture, people around me, family… it was great! It continues to impact me today because it gives me a sense of worth, knowing my language and culture.”

After spending his childhood there, Gene traveled Europe as stuntman for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  He gained attention with his skills and started to do stunt work for television/movies. Although far from home, he always carried his identity close to his heart.

“An aspect of my culture that I feel others would benefit from is love and gratitude of life. I feel we as humans are losing this, gratitude. If I had a message to communicate it would be that dreams do come true. Don’t forget where you come from and who you are. Keep your values close; that’s what’s taking me around the world. It has brought me to where I’m at [using the cultural values of my language, having long hair, riding horses, singing, and dancing traditional].”

The connection with his native heritage does not stop there. While on the set of Wonder Woman, he was actually able to influence his character’s apparel. It was rumored that he only agreed to play the part if he was able to design his own costume and speak his native language on screen. This apparently was not true but he was particular when it came to the authenticity of his outfit.

“The report you heard was false. Although I did have some input and control into the Blackfoot embellishments and designs in my outfit, including my choker, my hat band, feather in my hat, and the designs on the leather work.”

Rumors about Gene and his character are not uncommon. In fact, just recently it was confirmed that his character on Wonder Woman, Chief Napi, held a secret from most of the public. Napi is the name of a demigod in Blackfoot stories and the similarities do not stop there. It was later discovered by fans that Chief Napi was a demigod as well! So what does this mean for the future of his character in the DC universe? I asked if there was a possibility Chief Napi would appear in upcoming DC movies or if he had any superpowers that we did not see. Unfortunately, he did not give much insight into the possibilities.

“I will leave that up to the fans, the business gods at Warner Bros., and DC comics. 

While he has traveled the world, Dallas Fan Days would mark Gene’s first time to come to the DFW metroplex. I asked him what his plans entailed if he found any free time to be a tourist.

“I heard the Botanical Gardens was nice and I was told that I couldn’t leave Dallas without trying some barbeque.”

Eugene Brave Rock has become a public icon for his culture and the Blackfoot tribe. I enjoyed getting to briefly visit with him at Dallas Fan Days and hope that he will make the trek to DFW again soon. We look forward to seeing what his cinema career has in store. Until then, kitatama'sino (see you later).

2

Leave a Reply