There is a new Native woman superhero on the FX Network. Her name is Kerry Loudermilk and she will be the newest Native woman to kick butt in the superhero series known as Legion. Loudermilk, whose powers have yet to be revealed, is portrayed by Native actress Amber Midthunder of the Fort Peck Assiniboine Sioux tribe.
Legion is a new FX Network television series based on the X-Men mutant comic book character David Haller, the mutant son of Charles Xavier with multiple personality disorders, whose superpowers change with each of his personalities.
The Legion superhero played by Amber Midthunder was not written to be Native, but Midthunder, whose TV credits include Longmire, The Originals and Banshee, says, “she is now.”
Midthunder, took a few minutes from her busy schedule to share her excitement about a Native actress playing a superhero in this series.
Tell me a little bit about your character Kerry Loudermilk on “Legion.”
Kerry’s very, action-centered and has an instinct to lead and take action. She’s a little bit aggressive, very strong and doesn’t really consider fear before she does something.
And is she Native?
She is now. (laughing) She is now that I’m playing her.
Does she have a tribe?
The series creator Noah Hawley created these characters himself, so I think that will be up to him. The time period is called into question a lot because this is like a retro, futuristic looking sort of show. She doesn’t have a specific tribal affiliation.
How do you prepare for a role like this?
On the physical side, I’ve always been a very active person. I did Jiu-Jitsu as a kid. When I got the job, I buckled down and started training. I worked one-on-one with a guy who taught me Tae Kwon Do.
And what about on the acting side, do you have a method or a way you approach these types of roles?
This show is so different, there are kind of two components. Me, being the person who plays Kerry, I want to do her justice, and I want to portray her as honestly and as fully as I can. And then on the side of actually being an actor, the environment that we have on set is very free and very open to collaboration. It’s almost like I’m expected to play and to create and to come in with ideas, to bring something new.
What would you say is one of your favorite things about playing this role?
There’s no part of this show that I don’t like. I think it’s just the open and creative environment that we have. We were all very vested in doing the best art that we could and that was really cool. We had the same team as (the TV show) Fargo.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect in upcoming episodes?
It is unlike any other superhero show, period. Visually, it’s stunning. A lot of other superhero shows I think are traditionally very like dark, they have a certain color tone, so in that sense, this show is very different. Also our show is technically a superheroes story, but you see them in a really different way. You see superheroes struggle and face issues. That’s not something you usually see with superhero stories.
In the past have you paused before you considered a role, because you were concerned about stereotypes?
Yeah, of course. As someone who has a job that is in the public eye I want to represent my people as a whole, as best I can and I feel that a large part of it to me is being more than your ethnicity, that’s a large part of who you are.
What do you have coming up next?
I’m in talks with a couple projects but nothing is tied down yet.
Do you have any advice for Natives who want to get into acting?
Just do it. You just start. I was just having a conversation with a young actor who has been in the business for a really long time—he was saying, ‘the only way you can fail is to actually quit, to actually not do it at all.’ He was like, ‘if you just do it, if you just show up, it’s gonna work eventually.’ And I wholeheartedly believe that.
I know you also have, in the past, made your own films. Do you have any plans to make anything in the future? Or are you working on any ideas?
Ideas come all the time. I feel like I’ve only minorly dabbled on that side of things, it’s something that holds my interest for long in the future when I feel well equipped to do it. Because I feel like now, I’ve seen, like, a small fraction, through the show, what directing really puts on your plate and I have such a wild respect for those people. But I also now realize how large that job actually is.
Catch Legion on Wednesdays at 10 pm Eastern, on FX.