Steve Reevis

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Steve Reevis and wife Macile Reevis at
FAITA 2000
Photo: Kathy Williams

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This is an old bio:
Steve Reevis took one look at acting and thought "Why not?" Reevis, a Blackfeet, was hired during the late 1980s as a stuntman for the movie War Party. It was then, serving as a stunt double for the lead actor, he realized his acting potential. "I wanted to try acting. I thought to myself that I could do the work," he says, reflecting on his decision to switch roles. "I’ve really been fortunate to be able to get jobs, especially for not being in the business that long," he says. "I’m really thankful that I’ve been hired for all the work that I’ve had over the past few years."
"It’s a fictional story based on a small group of northern Cheyenne people who were hidden in the mountains for over 100 years...We’ve been up there for a couple of generations with no contact with the world. It’s a whole different twist to a story about native people. Instead of being a period piece, the story has a modern setting with a group of people that is still living in the last century." "He (Yellow Wolf) knows that there are white people in the world and that it is changing so much, but he doesn’t know how much change has taken place...I was fascinated with the script. There are some nice touches--like tribal members are wearing watches on their belts and on their knives. I enjoyed this part--like all the period pieces that I’ve done--because it allows me to be in a time which I think was a better time period for Indian people. It helps me to appreciate the deep commitment our people had back then to tradition, culture and spirituality. I hope it turns out to be a good movie--one that helps people to see us not as savages but as happy people.
Last of the Dogmen is currently at the end of Reevis’ resume, which dates back to the mid-1980s. He accepted the challenge to pursue work as an actor, accepting minor parts in Twins and Unsolved Mysteries. Even though he accepted horseback stuntwork in Dances With Wolves, his screen potential in that blockbuster became even more promising. "This film was a breakthrough for me. Even though I didn’t have any lines, I had a lot of on camera time. People started recognizing me--either through the movie or word of mouth. That’s when I started to audition for other roles. The roles were small at first, but they started to eventually get bigger...then came Geronimo."
* Like many, Reevis struggled during the early times. After he decided to pursue acting, he moved to California only to sleep in his 1971 Ford Torino. He says he often parked outside fitness gyms so he could work out daily and take showers. After Dances, he bought a van. The survival test continued. The new vehicle became his living quarters. "It was pretty hard at first but I was determined to act. After Dances with Wolves, my commitment didn’t change. After I started doing some commercials, I was able to get a place to stay. Acting was a goal that I wanted to fulfill. I knew there would be a lot of sacrifices...I look back on those times and it helps me to appreciate what I have now." After Last of the Dogmen, Reevis didn’t work as much as the other alumni of the native cast of Dances With Wolves. He says he doesn’t mind, adding that the free time off helps him concentrate on his priorities--namely his sons, ages 11, 3 and 8 months old. He also takes advantage of the non-work breaks to go to his home reservation in Browning, Montana. "I go home for enlightenment. I sweat and take part in ceremonies. It really helps me to balance my life. I can’t find that spiritual balance in California. I know my true foundation is my own Blackfeet people, my relatives and friends. To go home is a joy, it takes away all the stress and anxiety. It’s a good feeling to feel the strength in prayer. I go home to mainly to get that balance so that when I come out, I can do native roles really well. I always ask the Creator to be a part of me. He knows how to work things better than I do...I never forget where I came from."
* Reevis accepts the roles that he is cast for and says he doesn’t actively campaign for certain parts. He cites his own insecurities, believing that he lacks experience. "I know that I have potential and I need to take acting classes to bring that potential out, then I think I can start looking at roles that I would really like to play--ones that would be a challenge to me. But at this point in my career, I feel very inexperienced as an actor. When I play a character, I rely heavily on my own internal instincts. I also incorporate a lot of the teachings that I’ve been given--the stories about the old ways. It’s these instincts and teachings that I use as tools when I portray a character." Reevis prefers film to television. He’s turned away television scripts, saying that the medium doesn’t give actors a chance to develop the character. "They don’t really spend time to allow an actor the time to bring that character to life. That’s why I don’t really spend a lot of time auditioning for television. There are also those rules that are demeaning and degrading. I don’t fault the writers. I think it’s a lack of education. Every role that I take, I tackle it with the best of my ability. I intend to take roles that I think my sons and other native children would be proud to see me in. That’s the most important thing tome."
Columbia’s Geronimo opened more doors for Reevis. Reevis has seen and heard most of the historical slants on Chato. He ignored them all and opted to personalize the role. "I think this role just fit me and I would say that this was my favorite role. For whatever reason he switched to be a calvary scout, I don’t know why. I can only feel that he wanted to try and bring Geronimo and his people in so that they wouldn’t be getting killed anymore. He just didn’t want any more killing or any more trouble. I saw Chato as a man who really cared about his people. He didn’t want to see them die or suffer hardship. I portrayed him from my heart--what I felt he would have felt back in those days. It seems to have worked. I got a lot of feedback. People were able to see the heartfelt person I truly believe Chato was...I tried to show that through the facial and verbal expressions. I was happy that those impressions came across in a positive way."
Reevis has the same dream of many natives who are in the television and film industries: someday, there will be a full scale movie written, directed, and produced and portrayed by Indian people. He thinks it’s inevitable. He gives this vision three to four years to become reality. "I feel that we are pretty close. There are natives out there who are pushing their own scripts, searching for funding in order to do those projects. We have the intelligence--it’s just a matter of being at the right place at the right time. I know that there are a lot of people out there trying to make this dream come true. It will happen."
* Steve Reevis (Yellow Wolf) has appeared in such films as Walter Hill’s "Geronimo," "Posse" and "Dances With Wolves." He also has been featured in two TNT productions: "Lakota Moon" and "Miracle in the Wilderness." Reevis began his career when he accompanied his brother to an audition for the feature "War Party" and ended up being selected as a stunt rider, doubling actor Billy Wirth. The experience interested him in film-making and he began getting small roles in films such as "Twins" and "The Doors" as well as television commercials.

I was given this by Stephanie Ann Gritts, who publish the AHG newsletter.


Photo1, Photo2, Photo3, Photo5, Photo6, Macile's (his wife) page - photos!


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