Thu Dec 24th, 2015
Robert L. Ortiz
The Southern Ute Drum
Tags: Adam Sandler, Bird J. Red, Carmen Ryder, ignacio high school, Ignacio Middle School, Indian Country Today Media Network, Native American, Rob Snyder, Taylor Lautner, Terry Cruz, The Associated Press, The Ridiculous Six, Wildcats
Ignacio teen Bird J. Red got a taste of the silver screen as he appeared as an extra in the Adam Sandler comedy, ‘The Ridiculous Six.’ The local premier was held at Ignacio High School and served as a fundraiser for Red’s basketball team, the Wildcats.
Fourteen-year-old Red, an eighth grade theater student at Ignacio Middle School, spent five days filming on location in Las Vegas and Santa Fe, NM in April.
When asked about his experience working on the film, Red said, “It was awesome! I got to hang out with some celebrities, Adam Sandler himself and Rob Snyder, Taylor Lautner (of Twilight fame) and Terry Cruz.”
Always provided meals throughout the day all youth were required to go to school for three hours a day.
“Teachers were provided for the kids who were in the movie, and we all worked on our homework from our schools – there were hundreds of kids in the school house,” Red said.
Hired as an extra, (Apache boy, No. 127) no speaking lines, Red appears momentarily in wedding and celebration scenes.
Red recalls his time on set hanging out with the other children
“We’re rez kids, we went down to the river to catch crawdads, there were hundreds of crawdads at this ranch.”
Red being a huge fan of Sandler was excited to finally meet him.
Carmen Ryder, who traveled with the rest of Bird’s family, commented about the experience.
“It was a great experience, seeing how it really is in the film industry. It takes a lot of patience, they would take hundreds of shots to make one scene.”
“Yes!” expressed Red about receiving his first check from Madison Productions, then added, “why is there such a thing called taxes?”
Where does he go from here?
“I intend to get leads in speaking roles and make my way to the top,” he said.
Controversy surrounding ‘The Ridiculous Six’ was unavoidable and made national headlines. Many Native actors walked off the set citing stereotypes, and demeaning references to Native Americans in the film for their reasoning.
In an interview from Indian Country Today Media Network about a dozen Native American actors walked of set as the actors took offense to racially charged jokes.
“They just treated us as if we should just be on the side,” Loren Anthony, one of the actors who walked off the set, told ICTMN. “When we did speak with the main director, he was trying to say the disrespect was not intentional and this was a comedy.”
When asked about the controversy, Red said he was not exposed to the controversial scenes while on set.
“It didn’t phase me,” Red said, but stated, “Be prepared for some backlash.”
Taylor Lautner of the Twilight series said of the film in an interview with Ryan Seacrest.
“I read the script and it absolutely terrified me and the role terrified me,” Lautner told Seacrest. “And I said, ‘Jesus, there’s no way I’m doing this.’ And then I thought about it … I said to myself, ‘If I go for this and don’t hold back, what can go wrong?’”
Adam Sandler has defended his forthcoming Netflix comedy “The Ridiculous Six” saying that the recent protests by Native American extras were a “misunderstanding”.
Speaking at the premiere of Pixels, Sandler told the Associated Press that the controversy was “just a misunderstanding and once the movie was out it will be cleared up”. The Associated Press also reported Sandler as saying the film is “100 percent pro-American Indian”.