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Russell Means Is The Pathfinder
As Ghost, Moonfire and the entire Wampanoag tribe move towards their inevitable destinies they are guided by a mysterious and powerful force: the Pathfinder himself, the wise and skilled shaman whose role is to help his people survive through all kinds of trials and tribulations. To play this richly mythological and even mystical character, Marcus Nispel felt there would be no one better than Russell Means, the renowned American Indian activist who has also become an acclaimed actor with roles in dozens of films. The Los Angeles Times once described Means as the most famous American Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, and he exudes all the larger-than-life qualities of a natural leader.

"Russell Means doesn't play this character, he is the character,” says Nispel. "He is a Native American, he is an activist and he truly gives off that authentic feeling of leadership and clout in the world.”

Adds producer Arnold Messer: "Russell always brings such great dignity to the screen, and he has all the characteristics you think about when you think of someone who could be responsible for his people's lives. He has also a rare ability to be imposing and at the same time very gentle and caring, which I think serves the movie very well.”

Means enjoyed the role, especially because he believes that, long before Europeans arrived, America was always led by human beings like the Pathfinder. "I'm 66 winters old and those are the kind of people I grew up with,” he says. "They were people born in the 19th century, and they had been born to people who had been raised free. Even though they had been raised on reservations, they still maintained a traditional lifestyle and these are the role models I had growing up.”

Although Means points out that there is much more to know about the complex Native American and Viking cultures than could be revealed in an imaginary action-adventure such as PATHFINDER, he was impressed with the film's storytelling style. "As an artist, what I loved about this movie is the entire scope of the way it was shot. I understand that there's an artistic expression in the fictional depiction of the Wampanoags and the Vikings,” he says. "To me, PATHFINDER is about the lack of understanding of one culture to another. It's about ignorance and it's about triumph over ignorance.”

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