Amber Midthunder Talks The Ice Road’s Native American Representation

Ice road trucking drama The Ice Road releases on Netflix this Friday, June 25. Liam Neeson leads the flick as Mike, an ice road driver trying to save trapped miners before time runs out. The cast also features Laurence Fishburne, Marcus Thomas, Amber Midthunder, and Benjamin Walker.

“After a remote diamond mine collapses in far northern Canada, a ‘big-rig’ ice road driver (Neeson) must lead an impossible rescue mission over a frozen ocean to save the trapped miners,” says the film’s official synopsis. “Contending with thawing waters and a massive storm, they discover the real threat is one they never saw coming.”

RELATED: Laurence Fishburne Discusses Filming in Extreme Cold for The Ice Road

Another trucker accompanying Neeson’s character is Tantoo, played by Amber Midthunder. ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Midthunder about her role, The Ice Road‘s Native American representation, and getting to learn from Liam Neeson. Check out the video interview or the full transcript below.

Tyler Treese: One thing I really liked about your character is not only is she a strong woman, but she’s also an activist. We see her getting jailed, and there’s such great Native American representation in the film. What did it mean for you to have this role and get to show out for the Native Americans?

Amber Midthunder: It means everything to me. I think one of the most cool and important things about this role to me is to be able to represent Native people and Native women. There’s so much, there’s always been so much happening, but right now, there’s a lot happening, and to take any sort of attention that we can get and to have an opportunity to speak or to represent feels really important. Especially like for her, like you said, she’s tough, and she’s strong, and she’s doing things on her own. I think for Native women and Native people to be seen that way and also to be seen just as people. It’s a part of her, but it’s not everything about her. She’s very much her own person with her own job, and she holds her own space there. I think that that’s super, super important.

Your character has a really interesting relationship with Goldenrod (played by Laurence Fishburne), and despite having some issues, he bails her out. Can you talk about the mentor/mentee sort of relationship that they have?

Yeah. It’s fun, right? To see like this story of a young woman. I think, first of all, a young woman being a truck driver at all is cool, but also like in a man’s world and with somebody like Laurence, who is just so amazing at what he does and has just been around so long. I felt really fortunate to be able to kind of have that with him. It’s a cool, like a close family. It almost feels like family, that relationship of people that you know really well whether they’re around or they’re not. You know, what they’re getting up to or the problems that you’re going to have with them. It feels very cool and very honest.

You got to work with so many incredible veteran actors on set. Were you able to get any lessons on set and learn a bit about your craft further?

Absolutely. Just by watching them, I feel like I was taking a masterclass, but also there were a couple of very cool moments where I think Liam had, I mean, this is just like his arena, you know? I definitely felt a beyond open invitation for like suggestions or help. He’s very kind that way. We had a couple of moments where he would say like, this is cool or like this makes you look tougher, like, do it like that. It would just every time be like, “Is Liam Neeson teaching me to do action movies? This is so cool!”

You get to do some really cool action sequences in the film. How great was it getting to really portray a badass in the film?

It’s fun. I feel lucky to have played some really strong characters, and this was definitely one. It was very different because it’s not necessarily a lot of fighting, but it is still a lot of action, and it was a different kind of tough that really felt like a privilege for me to be able to step into.