Robert Rodriguez on Predators
By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Robert Rodriguez is the ultimate independent always touting original ideas over remakes and sequels. So now he’s producing Predators. It’s still a Robert Rodriguez production though, because they found an original way to make a Predator sequel.
Robert Rodriguez Gives Us Predators
“It’s so fun to work on something especially that you know fans love already,” Rodriguez said in his presentation at the South by Southwest film festival. “Once you get past the conversation, ‘oh, Hollywood doesn’t have any original ideas or any new ideas, it’s all about rebooting old series,’ the conversations actually get quite creative. It’s like well, how do you bring back Batman? How do you bring back an enduring character like this? From a creative filmmaker point of view, yeah, how do you re-present something that people really love in a way that elicits that same feeling they had the first time, yet it’s a new experience. It’s kind of a great challenge. It’s actually pretty exciting, especially if you’re such a fan of that.”
The project goes back to Rodriguez’s first days in Hollywood. While waiting for funding on Desperado, he took a writing assignment for a Predator sequel. “Since I was only the writer, I thought I don’t care how much this thing costs. I’ll just set it on this planet with all these creatures. Just any cool idea I could possibly come up with, I put it in the script. I had Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had Jean-Claude Van Damme in there as the bad guy, just whatever I wanted. So that’s what it was. Actually, we originally didn’t have Arnold. They got kind of excited about maybe bringing Arnold back. They thought that’s what they needed. This was around 1996. They said, ‘We haven’t asked him yet. Go ahead and write the script. We’ll see if he wants to do it.’ So I changed the main character to be Dutch, going to this Predator hunting planet. He was a prize, having killed a Predator before. It turns out he’s double crossed and his whole team ends up getting chased down by this other tribe. It was big and crazy.”
Schwarzenegger of course did not end up doing Predators, and then they went on to make two Alien Vs. Predators movies. When Fox came back to it, Rodriguez needed to update his original script.
“I found some writers because I needed to adapt it. I had to take Dutch out of the script and start all over, but keep the idea of the Predator planet. That was the weird thing about having all the movies to compare. You kind of look at everything like god, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Let’s start with the first movie and go from there. There is a part where we did incorporate, for the first time you’ll see in this movie, the original Predator from the original movie is one of the characters. You haven’t seen him since the first movie because they screwed with the design so much so when you actually see him on screen, it’s a total flashback and badass to see that. It’s almost like seeing that actor again show up, pristine, right out of a time machine. That was probably the most exciting part. Coming up with the new Predators was great but also to see our old friend show up.”
If all went according to plan, Predators will be the first true sequel to Predator. “We really did want to make sure that it felt like if you forget all the other Predators existed, if you only saw the first one and you saw this one, you’d have a complete throughline to the story that made total, complete sense and that it feels like really this would be the sequel to Predator. It feels dark, it feels scary. That’s the thing. It’s such a great character, you don’t have to just keep showing him. You can keep the mystery of it, as long as the characters believe it.”
There are going to be some new Predators joining the hunt too. “What a super Predator is is a script description when we didn’t have a name for something in an early draft. To differentiate it to the crew from the classic Predator, they don’t have names. No one goes around calling, ‘Hey, Super Predator’ in the movie. You can just tell when you see them that that one’s bigger, taller, stronger, faster, harder than the old one. It was a script differentiation. We called him Mr. Black, a black Predator because he’s in black armor. We tried to find some different names. It’s not ‘SUPER PREDATOR!’”
And, it’s going to be very R-rated. “There was one we saw that we were like, ‘Can we do that? Oh wait, is it R? It is R, right? I guess we can do that.’ Then Fox said, ‘We want more blood because those unrated cuts are really popular.’ Great, don’t have to twist our arm. So we did anything we wanted. As long as it fit the story, we could do anything we wanted. That was actually quite freeing.”
Predators opens to theaters on July 7th.
For the trailer and more movie info, go to the Predators Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of 20th Century Fox
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