“The Predator” came and went like a wet fart last year, the film was highly anticipated with a strong cast and Shane Black’s hand at the helm.
However the buzz took a turn a few months out from release when word came of extensive reshoots being required, including much of the last act, following poor test screenings. In addition, the delay of trailers suggested something was not right.
When it finally arrived, the film’s reviews were weak and its $160.5 million gross off an $88 million budget is seen as a big disappointment. The film itself feels compromised with obvious conflicting visions in place.
This week, Moviefone spoke to co-writer Fred Dekker about he and director Shane Black’s original intentions for the film and the resulting explanation reveals what those behind the movie were initially going for.
It seems much of the back half of the film involved our heroes having to “get from point A to point B and they commandeer a military convoy”. At the same time, they had established “a pair of Predator emissaries, basically good guy predators”. Thus the third act has the two predators come aboard and want to communicate and team up, so the convoy is trying to get the emissaries to the ship to get away from two threats.
The first threat is the upgraded Predator which is still in the final film, and the other was the big change from their initial premise:
At the beginning of the movie, you see the first Predator that shows up in the movie. He leaves the ship and we push in on this container in the ship. And what they ended up with was the terrible ending that I have nothing to do with it. Shane didn’t write either. That was sort of someone decided it was a good idea. There’s something on the ship. Well, originally there was a whole bunch of those in the ship. And what those were was those were the gestating hybrids.
Essentially what they were nurturing and growing in these pods were the hybrids of Predator DNA mixed with the DNA of creatures from all over the galaxy that would enable them to basically eradicate mankind so that they could populate it themselves. And so the convoy chase, the idea was that it would be all of our heroes on these badass, big military vehicles and the upgrade releases the hybrids and chases them and the hybrids jump onto the convoy. And it’s a big, rootin’, tootin’ fantastic action sequence.”
Dekker says one of the big appeals to he and Black with the project was to explore what do predators do outside of hunting as “they’ve invented interstellar spacecraft. so they’re not stupid… they actually have a civilization and a culture.” So they came up with the idea that their home planet is dying and so along with upgrading themselves, they’re looking at other warm places to colonise.
Dekker went on to explain that the studio said the third act needed to be at night to be ‘scarier’ and so it was retooled back to just another hunt. He confirmed they did try and get Arnold Schwarzenegger back for a cameo but they couldn’t pay him enough to do a half-day’s shoot up in Canada. They also toyed with the idea of making it Ripley or Newt from “Aliens” in the pod at the end, and explained why they didn’t go that direction:
“The whole thing seemed to not be in step with that particular franchise. It was one of many ideas that we floated and shot. We shot a version where Ripley was in the cocoon and we shot one where Newt from “Aliens” was in the cocoon. Sigourney didn’t want to clear any future for Ripley in the franchise and ultimately I don’t think anybody remembers Newt well enough for that to have meant anything… Hollywood does this all the time by, trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one.”
“The Predator” is now out on home video everywhere.