Eric Schweig (born Ray Dean Thrasher on 19 June 1967) is an Aboriginal Canadian actor best known for his role as Chingachgook's son Uncas in The Last of the Mohicans
Eric Schweig was born in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. He has Inuvialuit lineage on his mother's side and Chippewa/Dene with German descent on his father's side. Schweig was adopted at the age of six months by an English-speaking German-French family. He spent his childhood in Inuvik until he was six, when his family moved to Bermuda. They later moved back to Canada, to Combermere, Ontario. Schweig's adoptive parents were severely abusive. He fled his home at the age of sixteen.
He arrived to Toronto, where he supported himself by framing houses. In 1985, he was part of the cast of The Cradle Will Fall
, an experimental adaptation of Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening
, produced by Theatre of Change at the Actor's Lab; this was his first experience as an actor. In 1987, at 20 years old, he was approached by a producer who suggested he audition for a role in the movie The Shaman's Source
(1990). With little formal education or experience, he won the role. The film launched his career in the film industry.
Schweig's numerous screen credits include his portrayal of Uncas in the epic motion picture The Last of the Mohicans
(1992) and Pike Dexter in the movie Big Eden
(2000), for which he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Outfest film festival.
More recently, Eric Schweig has played roles in films and television shows addressing more contemporary issues facing aboriginal and Native American people.
During the 1990s, Schweig began an artistic quest to regain his aboriginal roots. Since his childhood, like many Inuit, Eric has carved small objects in wood or stone. Under the coaching of artist Vern Etzerza, he studied traditional Pacific Coast carving before directing his talent specifically toward traditional Inuit Spirit Masks, in collaboration with master carver Art Thompson.
His collection of masks are not only successful attempts to reconnect with his heritage and with Inuit art, but his carvings are also necessary labours of psychological resilience facing a traumatized childhood. As a disastrous consequence of this uprooting and abuse, Schweig struggled for many years against alcohol abuse and drug abuse. He has stated that Skins
was the first movie in which he was entirely sober.
Filmography associated with this actor:
Tropes associated with this actor:
- Abusive Parents: Was the victim of this when he was adopted into a white family as part of an assimilation program to "get the savage out of the Indian"
- Ax-Crazy: As 'El Brujo" in The Missing
- Cluster F-Bomb: 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.
- Crap Sack World: He grew up during a time when being of aboriginal descent was seen as shameful, was taken from his mother when he was only six months old and was raised by people who not only didn't love him but where physically abusive with him. Anyone under those those circumstance (which was sadly the case for many First Nations Children)would view the world like this.
- Curse Cut Short: He does this to himself when he is being interviewed and knows he has to watch his language.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Holy shit did this guy have it tough growing up...
- He also resorted to drugs and alchol for a while to deal with the pent up anger he felt.
- He mentioned once in an interview that the motivation to his drinking was to find death.
- Deadpan Snarker: His humor stems from this.
- Determinator: Has battled his addictions and reported that Skins was the first movie he worked on in which he was completely sober. He also uses his fame as an actor to take the opportunity to share his life's experience in numerous speeches he presented in Canada and the United States of America. This enabled him to make a large audience aware of aboriginal issues, especially the care of First Nations children.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Again he's notorious for his foul language.
- Snark Knight: Comes off as this.
- Sound Effect Bleep:
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Particularly in his youth. Definitely tall (6'2") and definitely handsome enough to make it 5th on People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People list in 1993.
- Some will argue he is still very much this despite his age.
- The Swear Jar: Jokes that if there was ever one in front of him he would simply put in a one hundred dollar bill just to save himself the trouble later on.