“#Yellowstone’s Q’orianka Kilcher Sheds Light On Angela Blue Thunder”
There have been quite a few new characters on Yellowstone Season 3, and many of them are strong, independent women.
Angela Blue Thunder, a Native American who made Thomas Rainwater and Mo quake in their boots and sage the room before she entered, is still an enigma.
We had a chance to chat with Q’orianka Kilcher, who portrays Angela, and she shed some light on her character. Take a look.
Since we’ve only just begun to know Angela Blue Thunder, I was hoping that maybe you can share what you know about her background?
Well, her background, she was adopted, and from my understanding, she was adopted and experienced some sexual abuse when she was younger, from her adopted family.
Angela Blue Thunder had a very complex past, but what really resonated with me and I connected with was that her drive and vision, which she got out of her bad experiences really allowed her to come overcome those things.
I mean, always love the saying that you’re not always in charge of the cards that have been dealt to you in life, but what you are in charge of is learning to become a card player with those cards that you’ve been dealt.
And to me, that represents Angela Blue Thunder, because she didn’t grow up in the greatest circumstances, but she took charge of her life, and she turned it around, and she made it her life mission to combat different injustices and to really fight for her people and change things for her community.
That’s really relevant today, isn’t it?
It’s so relevant to today. I mean, I’m so honored to be a part of the show, just because I feel like this season and what Taylor Sheridan has done with the show, it’s just really touching on a lot of subject matters that we as a society are facing right now.
And to be able to come on the show and be in company with so many other really strong kick-ass women this season, it’s really great to have writing that empowers women’s voices.
I was so drawn to the role of Angela Blue Thunder, too, because I was just like, “Wow. It’s not often that you see a role written for a strong, educated indigenous woman like this in Hollywood.”
And so, aside from being a very big fan of the show myself, I was just ecstatic, because I was like, “Yay, finally there’s a role where I can sink my teeth into it and really take on this challenging role and represent indigenous women on a show like this.” So it was really exciting to me.
What is Angela’s position in the Native American community, and how does she interact within it?
I feel like she’s somebody that lives by her heart and her beliefs, and that is what drives her.
Obviously, the Dutton family and Rainwater are facing the same enemy, so it was great to be able to spar with Kelly, who plays Beth, and to really have this moment between us where we recognize the warriors within each other and we would trust each other, and we realized that we need to come together to take on this opposing force that we’re both facing at the moment.
However, she is fighting for her family’s land, and then Angela, this is her people’s land. So what that actually entails down the road and what ends up happening down the road is uncertain.
But right now, at this point in the show, we’re coming together, and I think Angela ultimately wants to have her people have their land back. And this is why she got into politics, this is why she does what she does because she wanted to arm himself with the tools to then be able to have a voice and knowledge to be able to help her people.
Given everything you’ve said about Angela and Beth, do you think they’ll be able to work together effectively, and should we expect that Angela will be able to help use what she learned against the Dutton family for her own ends?
[laughs] Well, we will find out as things unfold. But ultimately, at this point in the show, I think that, yes, they will be able to work together very effectively, because it’s like one warrior recognizing another warrior, and there’s mutual respect between them.
They’ve both been through a lot in their lives, so just even looking at one another from across the room, they can recognize, “Okay, this person has been through many battles.” And so, there’s that mutual respect.
So I think, yes, they definitely will be able to work together, and it’s a reflection on also what we are going through right now as a society, which I find is kind of interesting.
Because one voice alone is strong, but when you come together, and you unite, you become stronger, so that’s what Beth and Angela recognize and realize that all differences aside, we need to come together right now, and we need to first get rid of this problem that affected both of us and both of what we ultimately want because it’s the land. Right?
In your first scene with Rainwater and Mo, we kind of got the impression that Angela is someone to be not just respected but feared. What can you tell us about her relationship with them?
I think there definitely there is some history in the past with them, whether or not it was romantic, or whether or not it was that he just knows what the story and what happened to her is to be determined.
But yeah, no, there’s definitely … Angela moved to San Francisco. She moved away from the reservation, she moved away from there, because she needed to get away from that and almost in a sense reinvent herself.
So for her to go back where she grew up and came from, it is very difficult for her, because she’s having to reopen old wounds and look at those skeletons in the closet again.
She’s not thrilled that she is having to go back there, but at the same time, it’s giving her an opportunity to face those demons from her past. Yeah, so there’s a lot there.
On Yellowstone Season 3 Episode 6, Monica finds a way to get involved again with her people after a girl goes missing and is found dead. And it seems like there’s going to be a council formed to help combat domestic abuse and just abuse in general against women of the reservation.
Given her history, will Angela be involved in this mission in any way, and are we going to see some scenes between her and Monica?
At this point in the story, not yet, because Angela is dealing with more of the business side of things when it comes to the land and everything like that.
So, no, unfortunately not, but I am so happy that this particular episode is highlighting an issue that I think is really important and starting to finally come to the forefront when it comes to the missing and murdered indigenous women.
I’m so thrilled that Taylor is really taking the opportunity and wonderful platform of having such a successful TV show to really talk about very timely, relevant issues that are happening in our world today and highlighting them on the show.
From what I’ve read, you do a lot of work on behalf of indigenous peoples around the world, and how do you view the writing on Yellowstone in that respect?
I was so thrilled and so happy. There’s a scene between Gil and I, and I’m kind of ripping him a new one when I’m talking about our land what has happened to our people.
And it was one of the first times where I’ve read such an important scene like that and not had one thing that I wanted to change about it, or there wasn’t one thing that made me cringe, because it wasn’t going in this stereotypical way of talking about Native issues or different things like that, but it was really taking it on head-on.
And it’s really great writing. I was blown away by it actually when I first read it. It kind of brought me to tears, because it was so impactful and so powerful and so truthful.
And I was just like, “Wow. This is going to be on such a great show.” So many young people are going to watch this, and hopefully, it inspires them and lets them know that they’re not alone and that they are being recognized and seen.
Given your personal background there, were you able to offer any input to Taylor Sheridan about your character? And did he implement anything based on any of your thoughts?
I actually did not get the opportunity to meet with Taylor, so no, that didn’t happen. But Gil Birmingham has been on the show for a while, and he’s a great advocate for our indigenous people and communities. I know that he’s friends with Taylor, and they talk a lot about the stories and different things.
So we have a good person representing us already on the show, and I know if there was something that was not right or something that Gil would fearlessly say something about it or bring it up to the attention of Taylor and whatnot.
So I mean, the writing was spot-on, and it’s been great, and I haven’t encountered anything where I cringe, as I said. So yeah.
And for my last question for you, have you been asked back for another season? And if so, how would you like to see your character evolve?
So that is to be determined, with all the craziness happening in the world right now. So yeah, I mean, that’s to be determined.
I would absolutely love, love, love to go back. I think — I’m hoping — fingers crossed, the character will return in a very powerful way. Yeah, that’s all I can say right now.
Yellowstone airs Sunday nights on Paramount Network at 9/8c or you can watch Yellowstone online right here via TV Fanatic.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.
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