Jason Momoa Wants The Last Manhunt to ‘Set the Spirits of Willie Boy and Carlota Free’

Jason Momoa gave a touching speech about the century-old, legendary love story between Chemehuevi couple Willie Boy and Carlota that inspired his new film The Last Manhunt on Friday at the opening night of the first annual Pioneertown International Film Festival.

Though he couldn’t be there in person, the Aquaman star, who executive produced, co-wrote, and acted in the film directed by Christian Camargo, recorded a special video message from London that played before the film’s world premiere screening.

“I just want to dedicate this to all the tribes that came together to help us retell this beautiful tale and honor the voices who this story belongs to,” Jason Momoa, who himself is of Native Hawaiian descent, said in the video. “I want to thank the communities of the desert that housed us and supported us. To our amazing cast — my dream cast — our native or nonnative actors, and to the wonderful cultural advisors, thank you for trusting us to bring light to this story. Our goal is to set the spirits of Willie Boy and Carlota free, to run in the desert again without misrepresentation.”

The Last Manhunt is a retelling of the true story of star-crossed lovers Willie Boy and Carlota, a couple who both belonged to the Chemehuevi tribe of Joshua Tree, California, but whose families forbade their marriage. One fateful night in 1909, Willie Boy went to Carlota’s father to ask for her hand in marriage, but an argument ensued that left Carlota’s father dead of a gunshot wound. Frightened, the young couple escaped together into the desert, spurring what has been called the last great manhunt of the wild west.

When the story first hit the news at the time, Willie Boy was branded as a murderer and an outlaw — but Momoa, co-writer Thomas Pa’a Sibbett, and director and actor Christian Camargo wanted to tell Willie Boy’s story from the perspective of his own indigenous people.

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The Last Manhunt follows the story the way it was told in the oral history of the Chemehuevi tribe. Carlota’s father (Zahn McClarnon) dies by accident, but his death is misinterpreted by the local sheriff as well as a journalist from a local newspaper looking for a sensational headline. With President Taft on his way to visit the area, the sheriff (Camargo) and his men, along with two Native American trackers who seek justice for the death of their tribal leader, take off on horseback through the desert in search of Willie Boy (Martin Sensmeier) and Carlota (Mainei Kinimaka).

During the Q&A following the premiere, Camargo shed some light on his theory as to why the film’s inaugural screening had to be restarted after it started glitching during the opening scene.

“I just have to point out that there’s no mystery why we had a sound problem, we had a video problem, we had the door problem, we had light problems,” he said, referring to a squeaky door that could be heard opening and closing in the theater, a brief sound issue that was quickly resolved, and some very minor lighting issues.

“This is a sound stage where a lot of white Westerns happened. This native story’s very powerful. I’m not sure it wanted to be seen here, to be honest,” he added, acknowledging Pioneertown’s history of serving as a film set for mid-1900s Western films that centered the white male “Cowboys vs. Indians” perspective.

“I’m glad it did, because it’s time to break all of this — all of these molds, all of these cliches.”

Main Image: Martin Sensmeier and Mainei Kinimaka as Willie Boy and Carlota in The Last Manhunt executive produced by Jason Momoa and directed by Christian Camargo.

Source : https://www.moviemaker.com/jason-momoa-the-last-manhunt-willie-boy-carlota-pioneertown-film-fest/

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