Roar Star Fivel Stewart On Telling 'Empowering' And Progressive Western Stories Alongside Yellowstone

For the century+ that Westerns have existed in Hollywood, the genre still very much belongs to white male figures. Sure, there've been numerous badass women in the Old West over the years, including in the hit series Yellowstone, but there’s yet to be a story fully reliant on a female-led storyline. However, the upcoming Apple TV+ anthology series Roar does have one of those, and it’s a revenge tale starring Fivel Stewart and Alfred Molina. 

CinemaBlend spoke to Fivel Stewart during Roar’s virtual press day about leading the one-off episode “The Girl Who Loved Horses,” which had the young actress learning to ride a horse bareback for the seven weeks leading up to filming. Stewart he shared her thoughts on the experience with these words: 

It was very empowering. Westerns are dominated by males and for this episode to be short but powerful was overwhelmingly empowering. I remember going to set and just going ‘Whoa, OK. This is my episode, this is the thing that I’m doing, let’s do it. Let’s fully do it’.

Roar is an adaptation of a collection of short stories by P.S., I Love You author Cecilia Ahern, each of which follows another woman. The show coming to those with an Apple TV+ subscription this Friday was created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, the producers behind Netflix’s cancelled series GLOW, along with Nicole Kidman executive producing and starring in her own episode called “The Woman Who Ate Photographs.” 

During CinemaBlend's conversation with Fivel Stewart, who starred with Sandra Oh in the recent horror film Umma, she discussed with us how her Roar episode can forward representation in the Western genre. As she shared: 

I’m 25 and I know so much has changed, even in the last ten years of me being alive. I think with movies and TV, Roar can really put a staple in how [representation] continuously and progressively changes. Westerns are awesome, they are very colorfully vivid and alive and I think for us to put a new name onto westerns would be really exciting.

Fivel Stewart has Native American ancestry reportedly on her father’s side, along with her mother being of mixed Asian descent. Her older brother, Booboo Stewart, memorably played Seth Clearwater in the Twilight films. As the actress said, she’s been noticing a shift in representation just within the last decade of Hollywood, and she’s excited to be a part of the movement for more stories to be told from different perspectives. 

Westerns right now are particularly big at the moment thanks to Yellowstone, which finished off its fourth season early this year. The series has enlisted Native American and female representation within its series, but the perspective definitely remains the most focused on the Dutton family, composed of characters played by Kevin Costner, Wes Bentley and so forth. Most recently, the Yellowstone franchise expanded with the prequel 1883, starring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. 

“The Girl Who Loved Horses” is the final episode of Roar, which also features episodes led by Alison Brie, Cynthia Erivo, Betty Gilpin and Issa Rae, among other talents. You can binge Roar from start to finish this Friday, April 15. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.