Taika Waititi is at it again, folks, and this time he’s bringing Native American writer and director Sterlin Harjo along for the ride. With their Wonder Twin powers combined, the duo is headed to FX for a half-hour comedy series titled Reservation Dogs, which follows four Native teenagers in rural Oklahoma who spend their days committing crimes while also fighting against injustice.
The pilot was written by Waititi and Harjo, who also directs the episode that has What We Do in the Shadows producer Garrett Basch in-tow. The upcoming series stars D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor (pictured above) as the aforementioned teens. The pilot episode also features guest actors Tamara Podemski, Zahn McClarnon, Macon Blair, Kirk Fox, Matty Cardarople, Dallas Goldtooth, Lil Mike, and Funny Bone.
“Sterlin Harjo draws deeply on his experiences as a Native Oklahoman to make ‘Reservation Dogs’ a true-to-life and incredibly funny story of youth, courage, and misadventures,” said FX Entertainment president of original programming Nick Grad. “Taika Waititi lends his considerable talents to the series, helping Sterlin and their creative partner Garrett Basch produce a unique and original series we can’t wait for audiences to see.”
“As longtime friends, it was only natural that Taika and I found a project together, and what better than a show that celebrates the complementary storytelling styles of our indigenous communities––mine in Oklahoma and Taika’s in Aotearoa,” added Harjo. “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to tell the Reservation Dogs’ story with our amazing cast and crew, Garrett Basch, and the whole team at FX.”
Harjo’s latest feature, Mekko, was released in 2015 and starred Jamie Loy, Scott Mason, and Zahn McClarnon, among others. He’s also at the helm of Love and Fury, a documentary for which Harjo follows Native artists for a year as they navigate their careers in the US and abroad. The film explores the immense complexities each artist faces in regards to their own identity as Native artists, as well as pushing further Native art into a post-colonial world.
Between Waititi’s signature quirks and Harjo’s deep-rooted ties to Oklahoma’s Native American community, Reservation Dogs sound like a winning combination in the making. I’ll be curious to see what comes from these two talents teaming for rural comedy that isn’t afraid to break a few rules.