Warning! Prey spoilers ahead.
Prey director Dan Trachtenberg explains how he was persuaded to include more dog scenes in the new Predator movie. The fifth Predator movie overall, Trachtenberg’s newest entry, takes viewers back to a setting and period the franchise has never been in before. Prey takes place in the early 18th century and follows Naru (Amber Midtander), a Comanche hunter who confronts the first alien Predator ever to land on Earth. Prey was a success with both audiences and critics, and May praised Midthunder’s performance and the film’s unique setting.
Although Naru from Midthunder is the main character of the film, Prey also has several minor characters who also feature prominently. Throughout the film, Naru is portrayed as something of a loner, often feuding with men from her group because of her desire to be a hunter. Although Naru is close with her brother Taabe (Dakota Beevers), her dog Sarii is her main companion. Sarii accompanies Nara during her hunting trips, and during one of the most intense scenes, Prey even gets into a close fight with an angry grizzly bear.
At a recent press conference for Prey, according to Discussing Film, Trachtenberg said that initially he wanted Saria (real name Coco) to get a smaller role. However, during the editing process, the director explains that friends and family members were shown trial screenings of the film, and they all called for adding more scenes with dogs. Although adding more Saria proved challenging due to the very limited number of usable scenes he had to extract from, Trachtenberg eventually pulled it off. Check out Trachtenberg’s full comment below:
“It was a huge difference, making a movie and watching a movie. How to remove Coco from this scene? How can we shoot her and take her away? When we were developing [Prey] or showing the cuts to friends and family, everyone said, “Another dog.” I’m like, “You don’t understand, we can’t. We use every usable frame of this dog!”
There’s an old saying in Hollywood never to work with children or animals because of the extra time, money and resources involved, but Trachtenberg clearly made her work for Prey. In the film, Saria is both loyal and independent, she takes Naru’s cues, but also makes her own decisions and often leaves on her own. The animal obviously resonated with those who saw the trial screenings, and fortunately, despite the many deaths of other animals, Sarii survives to the end of the film alive.
Naru spends most of the movie alone, and choosing to give her a companion animal helps make her instantly empathetic and likable. Not only that, Sari develops her personality in many ways by helping Naru is getting out of trouble and giving Midtander a kind of stage partner. Since Sari has become such a hit in the film, we hope that at some point in the future some excerpts from Prey or deleted scenes will be released showing what Coco was like behind the scenes.