Finding the perfect “Dan” for the film of Neither Wolf nor Dog

There are many balancing acts involved in the filming of Neither Wolf nor Dog, but none more crucial and precarious than finding the right actor to play Dan.  Of course, his namesake, Chief Dan George, would have been great.  Floyd Westerman, too, had the combination of a distant, withdrawn wisdom and an irrepressible twinkle.  He and I had even talked about the role.  But, sadly, he passed.  The same is true of Gordon Tootoosis who would have brought a different feel to the role.  Augie Schellenberg desperately wanted to play the role, calling it “the role of a lifetime,” but he, too, passed, and may have been too steeped in his Shakespearean roots to have done it justice.  But a good actor can play almost any role, and he was a superb actor.  He and I had spoken at length about it, but time caught up with him, as well.

But perhaps these deaths, both timely and untimely, opened the door for the ideal actor, who director Steven Simpson and I found while scouring the depths and margins of the Native acting community.  Dave Bald Eagle, with whom Steven has become good friends, almost seems to be Dan to me.  He has the twinkle, he has the wisdom, he has the legacy of a long life well lived written in every line in his face.  And he exudes a kindness that comes from his very spirit.

We must now hope that time and circumstance will allow us to take advantage of his 95 years of life to bring the character of Dan to life on the screen.  Please go to Steven’s kickstarter for the film to get a glimpse of Dave, or look him up on youtube.  If, indeed, this film was meant to be made, I believe it was meant to be made with Dave as the presence of Dan.

Please help the kickstarter if you can.  We have a moment in time with an actor who is more than an actor, he is a Lakota presence who carries the incredible complexity and richness of his people’s cultural experience in every expression and gesture.

This is our chance.  This is the book’s chance.  This is the journey we have all wanted to take.


10 thoughts on “Finding the perfect “Dan” for the film of Neither Wolf nor Dog”

  1. This book. This director. This actor. This is wonderful, wonderful news. I do hope this happens Kent – this is magical!!

  2. I don’t know this actor but having spent the last 43 summers in Lakota country (the sacred Black Hills of SD), I am eager for this wonderful book to be filmed. Blessings!

  3. Wopila!for bringing this amazing book to the world of film.

    Whenever I get homesick for the rez and the unique flavor that is only found in Indian Country I reach for all the books of the series.

    Kent, you have captured the true essence of life on the rez, not only the hardships but the subtle humor that only those who have spent many years among the People could understand and appreciate.

    Mitakuye Oyasin!

  4. I began reading this book a couple days ago and can’t put it down!!! I’m soooo excited to hear it will be a movie…I look forward to see how it turns out! With love and support from Washo Country (Nevada/California).

  5. Hi Kent,
    I just ordered “Neither Wolf nor Dog.” I am slowly reading through your books. I loved the last one you recommended, “calm surrender.” I am still meditating on the chapter “Not as much as I had dreamt but more than I had hoped for.” A very powerful meditation at this stage of my life!
    I just got back from Temagami/Canada where I spent time with my friends from the I.Nation and as every year, I come back with a filled heart, ready to live the gifts I have received.

    Thank you once again for your beautiful and vulnerable writing,

  6. OOOMG,Han,Wopila!! am already looking forward to the movie!!
    Was delighted to read you have found a “Dan”; find him a good Grover too 😉

  7. Ready for this movie!!!

    I know this post is a bit later than the others but I would like to add two people to the list for the part of Groover. One is an amazing actor and the other an activist who I admire deeply.

    Rodney A Grant or John Trudell
    (Not too sure if Trudell would do this?)

    Just thought I would put in my two cents.


  8. Both men were considered, and John was actually on board as Grover. However, due to conflicts in scheduling he couldn’t do it, so Steven, the director, went for Richard Ray Whitman. Having seen what he did with the part and the incredible personal chemistry he had with both Dave Bald Eagle, who plays Dan, and Chris Sweeney, who plays my role, it seems like a fortuitous, even inspired, choice.

  9. Funny… Looking at R R Whitman, this is exactly how I pictured Grover while reading. All great choices! Can’t wait!

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