From left: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elpidia Carrillo, Carl Weathers and Bill Duke in 'Predator.' Courtesy of Photofest
In June 1987, 20th Century Fox released Predator. The story, by first-time screenwriters Jim and John Thomas, centered on Maj. Dutch Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger, then still not quite having joined the first-name-only club), the leader of a team of mercenaries sent into the Central American jungle on a rescue mission who come face to face (well, Dutch does at least) with an alien hunter who makes trophies of men's skulls.
The film combined pioneering visual effects, pithy dialogue, abundant gore, big-ass guns (of all kinds) and "one ugly motherf—er" of a now-iconic movie monster. It was a hit with audiences upon its release, but in the years since its legacy has only grown.
Whether it was the heat of the jungle or the haze of time that accrues over three decades, the stories from people involved took on almost a Rashomon-like quality. Why did the studio shut the film down? How much of the film was completed at that point (estimates range from "90 percent" to "less than half")? What happened with the original Predator design? (Did it look like a "cockroach," a "f—ing chicken," a "bloody big rat"?) Why did Jean-Claude Van Damme — who was originally cast to play the alien — get fired?
One thing that everyone whom THR spoke with did agree on, however: Filming in the jungle in the dead of summer is, uh, not ideal.
Read the rest at Hollywood Reporter.
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