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Robert Rodriguez on Predators

Published July 7, 2010 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Predators Predators
Robert Rodriguez has been with Predators since 1995. While waiting to shoot Desperado, he wrote a script for Arnold Schwarzenegger on spec. After Arnold moved on, the sequel resurfaced more than a decade later. Rodriguez decided to produce the film with Nimrod Antal directing, and let Antal pick what would stay in the film.

Robert Rodriguez on Predators

“When I first wrote it, it was just a writing assignment and you figure as the writer, since I’m not directing it and I’m not producing it, I should just give them as many ideas as possible and then they can figure out what they want to do and what they can’t,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of it was impossible because this was in ’95 and CG wasn’t that prevalent. A lot of it would have been impossible to do. I figured give them a lot of imagination and creativity to work with and then they can pick and choose whatever. One fifth of that would actually work because it was just humungous and ridiculously big. Again, I didn’t feel like I had to worry about it until they brought it back to me and said ‘We love this script. Can you go make it?’ I was like, ‘Well I don’t know how we can make it like that even with today’s technology.’ We had to cut out a tremendous amount of it. That’s what I loved about what Nimrod’s approach was. He knew how to come in and go ‘Okay, I like this part of it’ and he made that the movie. He made it about the chase and about the hunt and kept it very intense. We took out Arnold. We kept the idea of the planet, the crucified predator, the hierarchy of the different clans, some of the other alien creatures that are being hunted, but other than that, it was a new story and Nimrod worked really close with the writers to come up with this.”

Casting the humans to go up against the Predators, Rodriguez wanted to take the same approach he did for his own films. Adrien Brody wasn’t an action hero, but neither were some of Rodriguez’s classic heroes.

“We’re looking at a list of actors up for the role and it’s just guys who you’ve seen just do it too many times. They’re already doing that same role in three other movies that year. When you’re looking for something fresh and different, and it really felt like we needed that for this, very much like when I cast Antonio in Desperado and George Clooney in Dusk Til Dawn, they hadn’t done action either. You’re just going for really great actors and somebody that will feel surprising and new and fresh and like you just discovered them. Yet that’s only because he’s transformed himself so much. He’s actually got the experience and an Oscar and has been around so long that he’s got the acting chops to be completely impressive so you’ve got the best of both worlds, someone who’s really new and yet someone who’s not.”

Antal also kept the pace up behind the scenes. “Observing Nimrod how he directs, he seems like a very soft spoken person but he’s actually really commanding on the set and is able to get people to move and remember what they’re supposed to do. I’d walk on the set, and he’d say, ‘Shock and Awe, everybody. Shock and Awe.’ He’s got a booming voice. Everybody, no matter what the scene was, they would remember where they’re supposed to be and that’s just the hardest thing to capture really. Just that continuity of this movie’s going to be strung together to last 95 minutes, but you’re shooting it over three or four months. So you needed to have a director who’s really making sure that everyone at every moment is in character and is in the character of the picture which was supposed to be hard driving, really fast and intense and never wavering from that. Nimrod was really able to pull that together and keep everybody really focused on that.”

Predators is designed to be a direct sequel to Predator, even though there’s been Predator 2 and two Aliens Vs. Predator movies. “I didn’t reference any of the other later pictures only because when I originally wrote this, those didn’t exist. I was writing this always as a sequel. In fact, Predator 2 had come out, but they didn’t want to go that direction. They wanted to get Arnold back. So when I wrote Predators, it was to forget that even Predator 2 was made. This is going to be like Aliens was to Alien, that’s what Predators is to Predator. So I’ll just tie those two together so all you would ever have to do is watch Predator and Predators and you would have a little complete thing. What would the third one be if there was a third one? That’d be Predators 2 I guess. I don’t know, Predators with a subtitle.”

Predators opens to theaters on July 7th.

For the trailers and more movie info, go to the Predators Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of 20th Century Fox

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