I think what the movie will show is that for better or worse, the Indian experience is really one of near genocide, and it is not a proud moment in the history of the United States.
How did you get involved with this project?
Well, that's a long history. I had read the book about thirty-five years ago when it came out, and it is one of the landmarks of American history and certainly the definitive work on the American Indian experience. So, the opportunity to become involved was not only gratifying but sort of an honor in and of itself. It's been an enormously long process to bring it to the screen. Many other people have tried before, even thirty years before we got involved. So, we're sort of amazed that we're actually here shooting it.
Can you briefly set up the story Dan Giat has adapted?
It is a vast, historical epic of non-fiction. The biggest job that Dan did is synthesize a book that is about 500 pages long into a coherent movie that traces the history of the Sioux from Little Bighorn - which was Custer's last stand - through the Massacre of Wounded Knee, which is probably one of the low points of American history. But, I think what the movie will show is that for better or worse, the Indian experience is really one of near genocide, and it is not a proud moment in the history of the United States. But, it is a very revealing look, and there is an enormous mirror into the current world because it is really the story of the United States trying to impose their will on what was essentially a foreign country with a population living a life that was totally different than what this country was becoming.