It Waits

Cerina Vincent and Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Cerina Vincent and Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

It Waits is a 2005 American horror film starring Cerina Vincent. The film is about a female forest ranger, Danielle St. Claire,who encounters a terrible creature who has been killing people in the remote national forest where she works. When the creature attacks her isolated ranger station and kills her forest ranger boyfriend, she goes after the creature.

In this horror film, Eric Schweig plays a small supporting role. He appears only 5 minutes, 1 hour after the start of the film, and speaks throughout these 5 minutes. His character, Joseph Riverwind, a university professor in archeology “wearing Ralph Lauren”, is also looking for the creature, which his Aboriginal students have unfortunately released at the beginning of the film by blowing up the entrance to a cave. Riverwind gives valuable information to Danielle about this demon and the shamans who have accidentally summoned it from another world hundreds of years ago and then locked in this cave.

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

A few hours later, we find the unfortunate professor Riverwind impaled by the creature on a wooden branch in the middle of the road. The creature in the film is modeled after the Wakinyan or thunderbird that appears in myths from the Dakota people of North America., It Waits was filmed in November 2004 on location in the Watershed area about 25 miles east of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

Eric Schweig -It Waits (2005)

 

it-waits[1]It Waits

2005

Directed by Steven R. Monroe

Written by Richard Christian Matheson, Thomas E. Szollosi, and Stephen J. Cannell

Stars: Cerina Vincent, Dominic Zamprogna, Greg Kean, Eric Schweig.

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Beauty

Es Mohican pressNBEric Schweig was listed as number 29 in People’s Magazine’s 1993 amongst the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.

Mona Thrasher

© Mona Thrasher

© Mona Thrasher

Born Ray Dean Thrasher, adopted at the age of six months by a German / French family, Eric Schweig has mentioned in some occasions what were his ties with his biological Inuit family. He mainly talked about his mother, Margaret Thrasher, and about his “Inuit, Portuguese and German” roots in an interview for Windspeaker in 2003. The “Portuguese” part of these statements has intrigued me, so, I did some research to clarify this point.

The archives of “Eric Schweig Rose and Joni’s Fan Site” mention that the Inuit painter Mona Thrasher is Schweig’s aunt. It is known that the paternal grandfather of painters Mona and Agnes Thrasher was indeed a Portuguese whaler. Margaret Thrasher and Eric Schweig could therefore have the same ancestor as Mona and Agnes Thrasher.

Also, an article in Inuvik Drum in 1993 mentions a meeting between Schweig and Agnes Thrasher: “Than one day in Vancouver, where he now lives, he met Willie Thrasher on the street. The two got talking and before long Schweig realized he must be related to Thrasher. He said Thrasher hooked him up with his Aunt Agnes in Williams Lake, B.C. in the hopes of finding his [biological] mother. But three days later, his birth mother died and he was too late“. It seems here that Agnes knew Margaret well enough to help Schweig find her. Were they sisters? Cousins​​? Mona, Agnes and Margaret Thrasher all lived in Inuvik and Yellowknife. Agnes Thrasher has also lived in British Columbia. The filiation between Eric Schweig the artist, and Mona Thrasher the artist, seems then perfectly plausible. So, here is a brief description of this famous member of Ray Dean Thrasher’s family.

Mona Thrasher, Inuvik, 1982

Mona Thrasher, Inuvik, 1982

Mona Thrasher is a Northern Canada Artist, well known throughout Canada’s Northwest Territories. She was born on February 24th, 1942, in a bush camp in the Mackenzie Delta between Aklavik and present day Inuvik. At 13, a hunting accident left her partially deaf and mute. A shotgun blast went off near her head and since then she has not been able to hear or speak. But she was always a bright spirit and very smart.

Her father’s name was Billy Thrasher, and he worked a trapline. He was the son of a Portuguese whaler, who came to the Arctic during the last century. He used to sketch on a piece of paper, just drawing here and there. He drew with pencil and he used to keep pencils until they turned to nothing, right to the end. Her mother, Alice, was an Alaskan Inuit and Billy’s second wife.

At the age of 10, Mona Thrasher left her family’s log cabin to attend the Aklavik Roman Catholic Mission School, where she remained until the age of 17, returning home only during the months of July and August. After the hunting accident, she continued at the Mission School, communicating through written English.

Mona Thrasher began taking art classes in her early teens and was encouraged to pursue her artistic interests by Sister Leduc and by such instructors as Father Adam, Bishop Dennis Croteau and Bern Will Brown. The same year her father died, when she was 18 in 1960, Father Adam invited her to paint the Stations of the Cross in the newly constructed Igloo Church in Inuvik. Since that time, she painted more than 800 oils and pastels.

Mona wrote “I enjoy painting different scenes of the Eskimo life of my forefathers. Igloos are a things of the past, dogteams are on the way out, seal hunting has almost become a sport with people, but the very fact that I paint those scenes reminds people that not so long ago, men lived that way and survived amidst hardship and found happiness in a climate whose harshness is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

© Mona Thrasher

© Mona Thrasher

You will notice that my basic colors are whites and blue because that is the way my country appears to me. It is made of blue sky and blue water. Even the snow which covers the ground for 9 months out of 12 has a bluish tint on account of the semi darkness.” Mona Thrasher moved to Yellowknife in 1990 and stayed there for the rest of her life. She died April 1st, 2013.

Sources:

Deaf Culture Centre, The Visual Arts, p. 338.

Joanne Carolyn McNeal, Western Arctic Women Artists’ Perspectives on Education and Art, University of British Columbia, June 1997, pp. 271-276

Language

Eric Schweig as chief_andy_3[1]“Cluster F-Bomb: Eric Schweig is known for his coarse language and dropping a few of these while on set when he can’t get his lines right. Or in every day conversation for that matter. Curse Cut Short: Eric Schweig does this to himself when he is being interviewed and knows he has to watch his language. Sir Swears-a-Lot: Again Eric Schweig is notorious for his foul language. ” TvTropes

Soup

Eric-Schweig-325x432“That’s when you really start to appreciate bowls of soup – getting a bowl of soup during the day, a hot bowl of soup, when I was homeless in Toronto, where it’s 40 below zero in the winter time. You get a bowl of soup, that’s like God.”

(Eric Schweig, A Year of Soup, 2013)

 

Follow the River

Eric Schweig - "Follow the River" 1995

Eric Schweig – “Follow the River” 1995

In this period film, made in 1995 by Martin Davidson, Eric Schweig plays the role of a young Shawnee Indian chief named Wildcat. He co-starred with actress Sheryl Lee, who plays the role of the heroine, Mary Ingles, a true character in the American History.

The story takes place in the 18th century in the United States and is based on the novel by James Alexander Thom. The film begins by showing Will Ingles farm in the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and his harmonious family life with his beloved wife, the beautiful Irish Mary, along with her step- mother, Mary’s younger brother and sister and his son Thomas. Mary is several months pregnant and one morning, she feels a strange premonition. A few hours later, the farm is attacked by Shawnee Indians, while Will and Mary’s brother went away to work on their land.

 
The Shawnees capture Mary, her son and her younger sister. During the long walk through the forest to the village of the Shawnees along the Ohio River, Mary feels that her husband is still alive and will starts looking for her. This thought gives her an unshakable courage to face the situation. Wildcat then noticed not only the beauty of Mary, but also her strength and determination to survive. When Mary stumbled on a rock, Wildcat rushes to help her. Their eyes meet and we see the obvious attraction of the young Indian chief for the beautiful Irish woman. Meanwhile, Will Ingles brings men to go in search for the captives.

Sheryl Lee and Eric Schweig - "Follow the River 1995

Sheryl Lee and Eric Schweig – “Follow the River 1995

While the group of Shawnees and prisoners continue their journey in the forest, Wildcat shows real concern for Mary, although he remains unforgiving for any sign of weakness on the part of his prisoners. So, when she has just given birth to her daughter at the foot of a grove of trees, he invites Mary to stand up and continue walking. Gathering her strength and still shaky, Mary obeyed, knowing that the only way to survive her captors is to show her strength. Conquered by Mary and her courage, Wildcat suddenly begins a humorous interlude, imitating a Shawnee mother during childbirth. This amazing scene, which clashes somewhat with the rest of the film, shows Eric Schweig perfectly comfortable with comedy and mime.

When the group arrives at the village of the Shawnees, Mary and her sister are well received by Wildcat’s mother. Some French settlers crossing the village, including a trader named Laplante, confirms to Mary that this gesture is a clear mark of the high esteem in which Wildcat carries her. Then Laplante hires Mary in his shop to make clothes, while his young Indian wife takes care of Mary’s baby. Although she adapts to the situation and welcomes with gratitude expressions of interest from the young Indian chief, Mary confirms to her younger sister, who now doubts the love of Mary for her husband, that she hates their captors and plays their game just to survive, with the aim of one day return home. Thus, when Wildcat offers her to marry him and raise her son as his own, she reminds her seductive captor that her son already has a father. In revenge for this refusal, Wildcat sells Mary and some other captives to the French settlers, keeping the son of Mary with him.

For the second part of the film, we do not see Eric Schweig again on the screen, except for the final scene. This second part shows the incredible journey of Mary, who fled into the forest with an old German woman, also sold to the French settlers by Wildcat. Equipped with only an ax and a blanket and following the river, the two women remake the perilous journey back to the farm of Mary. They are found in extremis by English settlers, half dead from hunger and cold. Mary and Will are finally reunited, their love still alive and intact.
In the final scene, a few months later, we see Wildcat arriving at the Ingles farm with Mary’s two children. He has brought them back safely to greet her incredible courage.

This film made for television by Hallmark Home Entertainment was shot almost entirely outdoors (Sapphire, North Carolina). Although it does not have the resources of a large production (the costumes are fairly rudimentary), the actors are well directed. Lee and Schweig show a strong bond on the screen, especially in the famous scene where Mary takes Wildcat’s measures to make him a coat, while he offers to become her companion.

 

The script, the shooting and the music of “Follow the River” sometimes refers to the movie “The Last of the Mohicans” in which Schweig played three years earlier. “Follow the River” is an epic of one woman’s grit, loyalty and determination and an “inspirational” saga of a pioneer woman.

 

Follow the River DVD[1]Follow the River

1995

Director: Martin Davidson

Writer: Jennifer Miller

Stars: Sheryl Lee, Ellen Burstyn, Eric Schweig, Tim Guinee, Renée O’Connor, Tyler Noyes,  Tony Amendola.

Goodbye RaY

Eric Schweig - RaY 2008

Eric Schweig – 2008 © RaY

According to the Facebook page of Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY), Eric Schweig ended his community involvement with them. «The entire RaY family would like to say, “Thanks and best of luck!” to our dear friend Eric. It was great having you around to provided leadership and mentorship to so many of our youth. We want to wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours.»

The Bear Spirit is Watching Over You

© Kiliii Fish - Nadia Duvan, last shaman of the Ulchi people of Siberia, communicating with a bear spirit.

© Kiliii Fish – Nadia Duvan, last shaman of the Ulchi people of Siberia, communicating with a bear spirit.

Tom and Huck

Eric Schweig - Tom and Huck (1995)

Eric Schweig – Tom and Huck (1995)

“Tom and Huck” is a Walt Disney film realized in 1995 by Peter Hewitt. Based on the book by Mark Twain, it tells the story of a particularly mischievous boy, Tom Sawyer (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). Tom witnesses a murder by the deadly Injun Joe (Eric Schweig). Tom becomes friends with Huckleberry Finn (Brad Renfro), a boy with no future and no family. Tom has to choose between honoring a friendship or honoring an oath because the town alcoholic is accused of the murder. Tom and Huck go through several adventures trying to retrieve evidence.

Eric Schweig - Tom and Huck (1995)

Eric Schweig – Tom and Huck (1995)

The film opens with Injun Joe accepting a job from Doctor Robinson (William Newman). It is to dig a corpse to retrieve a map leading to a treasure. We see immediately that we better not mess with Injun Joe, because he does not hesitate to threaten his client to require more money to do the dirty work.

Eric Schweig offers a high level of performance to interpret this ugly character, so much so that at times he even gets a little too scary for a Disney movie for children. I’m especially thinking of the murder scene of Dr. Robinson, where Injun Joe runs with such a fury that it seems kind of offset from the rest of the film. If Tom Sawyer had nightmares about Injun Joe, young viewers of the film may undoubtedly have nightmares about him too.

Eric Schweig - Tom and Huck (1995)

Eric Schweig – Tom and Huck (1995)

The makeup team has also done a great job to make one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world (People magazine) in a particularly dirty, ugly and nasty character, which foreshadows the future Pesh-Chidin in “The Missing” (2003). In 1995, Schweig is also overweight and this adds to his imposing stature. With a particularly disgusting denture, Schweig changes his voice to refine the transformation.

Eric Schweig - Tom and Huck (1995)

Eric Schweig – Tom and Huck (1995)

After the murder of Dr. Robinson, Injun Joe did not hesitate to accuse an innocent man in his place and goes in search of the witness to the crime, Tom Sawyer, while he recovers the famous treasure: a chest full of gold coins. The confrontation between Injun Joe and Tom Sawyer is one of the best scenes of Eric Schweig on the screen. The intensity of his performance and the fury in his eyes are simply amazing.

Eric Schweig - Tom and Huck (1995)

Eric Schweig – Tom and Huck (1995)

Even though this is a movie aimed at a young audience, “Tom and Huck” is in my opinion one of the best movies of Eric Schweig with “Big Eden.”

 

 

tom_and_huck[1]Tom and Huck

1995

Director: Peter Hewitt

Stars:  Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Brad Renfro, Eric Schweig.

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