- By Native News Online Staff
Famed filmmaker Taika Waititi (“What We Do In the Shadows,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Thor: Ragnarok”) has teamed up with Indigenous writer and director Sterlin Harjo (Seminole, Muscogee) for the creation of a comedy series titled “Reservation Dogs.”
The series will follow four Native American teens in rural Oklahoma as they commit and fight crime together, and will star D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai (“Creeped Out”) as Bear, Devery Jacobs (“American Gods”) as Elora Danan, Paulina Alexis (“Beans”) as Willie Jack, and Lane Factor as Cheese.
The pilot episode will feature guest appearances by Tamara Podemski (“Coroner”), Zahn McClarnon (“Fargo”), Kirk Fox (“Briarpatch”), Matty Cardarople (“A Series of Unfortunate Events”), Macon Blair, Dallas Goldtooth, Lil Mike and Funny Bone.
Like the rest of Harjo’s work, the show was shot in Oklahoma. The pilot was co-written by Harjo and Waititi. Harjo also directed the first episode. The pair will work as executive producers on “Reservation Dogs,” and they will be joined by Garrett Basch, who is a producer from another show made by Waititi, “What We Do in the Shadows,” which also airs on FX.
The series is informed by Harjo’s own experience as a Native person from Oklahoma.
Harjo is celebrated in Native film circles –– a number of his films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, including his first feature film, “Four Sheets to the Wind,” which was nominated for the grand jury prize in 2007. He was also named best director at the American Indian Film Festival that year. His second film, “Barking Water,” premiered at Sundance in 2009, and was named best drama film at the American Indian Film Festival. His third feature, “Mekko,” premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2015. He also made a documentary, titled “This May Be the Last Time,” which premiered at Sundance in 2014.
Waititi is from New Zealand and is of Māori and Jewish descent.
It is currently unknown when the show will air, but it is already being praised for bringing Indigenous stories and much-needed diversity to American television.
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