actor Martin Sensmeier grew up in Southeast Alaska. He stars in
'The Magnificent Seven' along side Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt
and Ethan Hawke.
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - How does a young Tlingit-Athabascan from
Yakutat become one of the "Magnificent Seven" in a feature
film released today starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and
Martin Sensmeier says its by never being afraid to chase
a dream, no matter how crazy it may seem.
I guess dreams can come true if you work hard enough at
them, he said in an interview with Channel 2.
The remake of the 1960s western is directed by Antoine Fuqua
of "Training Day" fame.
Sensmeier, 31, grew up living a subsistence lifestyle in the
Southeast Alaskan village. He says he played basketball in high
school and studied welding at the University of Alaska, Anchorage,
before taking up a job on the North Slope.
But his dream took him in a different direction. While working
two-week rotations on the North Slope for Doyon Drilling, he began
flying to Los Angeles on his off-weeks to take acting lessons. Thats
when he caught the bug. He quit his steady, high-paying
job on the slope in 2011 and move to L.A.
during his days working on the North Slope for Doyon Drilling,
He started modelling a job that took him across the globe.
But Sensmeiers real passion lay in acting.
I just looked at [modelling] as a stepping stone,
he said. I actually had some great opportunities to move out
to New York and model out there but I decided that I wanted to be
in L.A. and pursue film and so thats what I did.
on the far right, poses with members of the cast of
'The Magnificent Seven.'
As an Alaska Native actor, Sensmeier says it was difficult to
break in to Hollywood.
"Theres not a lot of roles written for Native people,
Sensmeier with Denzel Washington on location, during the filming
of The Magnificent Seven.
That is something Sensmeier would like to change. He says it
took a long time for him to book a speaking role but it didnt
matter because he loved being on set and so he kept auditioning.
Eventually, he acted a movie called "False Memory Syndrome,"
and says hes been busy ever since. It feels good to
have found success in this industry and to be able to represent
my community, my family and my tribe and my home state.
"The Magnificent Seven" is undoubtedly Sensmeiers
biggest film yet. In the movie, he plays Red Harvest, a Native American
warrior and archer. Preparing for the role was grueling.
I really wanted to portray him accurately as an artist
and in the 1800s, Native Americans were very fit because of the
diet -- traditional diet -- and just having an active lifestyle,
he said. I think the hardest thing for me was getting in the
best shape of my life and then maintaining that for five months.
Sensmeier also had to learn how to ride bare-back on a horse
and practiced two hours a day besides also going to the gym and
following a rigorous diet.
I started cooking my own meals because I was eating super
clean and I basically just had to eat more or less the same thing
every day, he said.
In the near future, Sensmeier wants to keep building his Hollywood
career, but hes tied to his Alaskan roots.
I try to make it home for a couple of months -- as much
as I can -- to just be Tlingit and do things that are consistent
with the tribal reality, he said. Thats been the
biggest struggle is not being able to do that. Eventually,
he says he would like settle down in Yakutat and work with young
people in his community.
[The] inspiring thing is that finding success in the film
industry has created a platform to do good work in the community,
he said. I think thats a very important responsibility.