TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa got a little taste of Hollywood Monday night when it rolled out the green carpet for the premiere of “Reservation Dogs.”
The FX on Hulu comedy follows four indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma who steal, rob and save to get to California.
Star D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, a mixed-Indigenous actor, said the show normalizes the Indigenous community.
“It’s good that shows like this and other ones are attacking Indigenous issues and Indigenous stuff in general with a comedy touch," Woon-a-tai said. "Because that’s what we are, we are very comedic people.”
"Reservation Dogs" is being called a “breakthrough” for its Indigenous representation. Not only on screen, but behind the scenes as well. Every writer, director and series regular on the show is Indigenous, which is something Mowhawk actress Devery Jacobs said she's never experienced before.
“And then when I looked around and nearly every position there was at least an Indigenous person filling a position," Jacobs said. "I’ve never worked with an Indigenous stunt coordinator before. Or key makeup person. And so everywhere I looked around me it felt like family and it felt like community.”
Filmed around Green Country, one of the showrunners has ties to the Sooner State. Co-creator and executive producer Sterlin Harjo is a Seminole and Muscogee filmmaker from Holdenville.
“I think it’s important for everybody to tell their own story, and same with my community," Harjo said.
The premiere at Circle Cinema was a sort of homecoming for Harjo. He filmed a previous movie in this neighborhood and his name is on the sidewalk outside the theater.
“To be able to come here and premiere this show that I’ve worked really hard on, it’s wonderful," Harjo said. "And it feels like my whole career has really led to this. And so, it’s beautiful to be able to share it with people from home.”
While Harjo is from the area, filming the show was the first time some in the cast experienced Oklahoma. They were impressed with what the state has to offer.
“I had an idea of the south based on media and perceptions. And I think a lot of them were wrong," Jacobs said. "There's so much beauty that's had here. There's a dark history, but it shapes the complicated nature of this place. I think that 'Reservation Dogs' explores the good, the bad and everything in between. It’s very much a love letter to this part of the world.”
"Reservation Dogs" is co-created by Harjo and Taika Waititi.
It premieres on Hulu Monday, Aug. 9.
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