What Went Wrong?
That is the first, the only, question to ask when viewing last years The Predator. Shane Black, the writer of Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout and the Director of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was at the helm. There was a buzz. Was this going to be the return to form the Predator franchise so badly needed?
Well, no. The buzz died. Word came out that there were reshoots afoot. Reviews were weak, box office was weaker. Like Suicide Squad and Alien 3 the whole thing just stank of studio interference. You can always tell when the suits have been involved. You can spot the compromises, the nonsensical shifts in tone and see where the conflicting visions fail to gel.
Now co-writer Fred Dekker has opened up to Movifone about what changes were forced on them, and what their original intentions for the movie were.
The third act was supposed to be a direct chase from point to point in a military convoy they commandeered. There were to be a pair of Predator emissaries teaming up with the heroes to stop two threats.
The first threat is the upgraded Predator which is still in the final film, the second is the big difference:
“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.”
Suits Ruin Everything
Dekker says he and Black wanted to expand the understanding of the Predators outside of the hunting.
“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 so they are looking to evolve themselves to take over other planets to ensure their species survives.
Dekker said the studio wanted the action down and the scares up in the third act. So it became 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 briefly had the idea of making it Ripley or Newt from Aliens in the pod at the end, but could not make the idea work.
“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 for rental and on some pay movie channels such as Sky.