Back in the '90s, Rodriguez' idea for a Predator sequel included Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role. Because the film was put off for so many years, bringing Schwarzenegger back wasn't really possible.
"Early on since I’d worked with Arnold on this original script back in the day and spoke with him about it, that was one of the questions I had myself," said Rodriguez when asked if he considered a Schwarzenegger cameo. "The world had changed since the last time I worked on this which was ’95. In my script he was the entire film and now he was governor, so I was like, 'Okay, I know we can’t get him for the lead. I don’t even think we can get him for a cameo.' We did entertain the idea of where could we place him, but as we started putting the script together, it just really felt like we were making our own film. We thought, 'Let’s not even bother with this.' Him showing up and doing something, we had such an erratic schedule we never would have been able to pinpoint like you would need to for somebody in his position. So it was going to be sort of a nonstarter so we thought, 'Let’s just make a really great movie and if it’s received well, people want to see the sequel, maybe the sequel we can maybe ask him for a cameo.'"
Together for a press conference in support of the 20th Century Fox film, Rodriguez and Antal talked about their shared vision for this Predator film, and why we're still so fascinated with the film series.
Director Nimrod Antal and Producer Robert Rodriguez Predators Press ConferenceWhy does Predator the character and the world endure?
Nimrod Antal: "I don't know if we could answer that and if I’d be able to, I wouldn’t tell you because that’s the magic I think. I think the original film did something very special where you had [John] McTiernan and you had [Alan] Silvestri and you had all these talented actors and all these people coming together to the great concept that the brothers put down. So I think there was something there. We were in the presence of greatness and we didn’t know it. He’s now forever a member of the monster-al galleries. We talk about vampires or werewolves and predators."
Robert Rodriguez: "I think there was something just very unique about that movie, for one. If you just looked at the movie itself, it was something that inspired me to do mixed genre pictures later. I remember going to see it with my older brother who was a bodybuilder who saw every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that came out. We went to see that one thinking it was a Commando type film and then it starts turning. I remember the audience reaction in the theater. They were kind of confused when it turned sci-fi and horror and Arnold didn’t really win at the end. The Predator blows himself up and he flies off looking like he’s going to a looney bin in the helicopter. Everyone went, 'Wow, what the hell was that movie?' It just caught on and caught on and kept growing in popularity."
"I think the movie itself was very unique, but one thing I noticed when they first brought me back this project for Predators is I went to go ask my artist in my studio last year if we should do this movie. I walked into their offices and they all had busts and dolls and statues of Predator in their office. So I knew the character itself was just a very enduring character and they still loved that character. I tried to pinpoint what it was. I think it might be the fact that it’s somewhat humanoid and you can identify with it. The fact that it was a guy in a suit made it feel almost more human. People like bad guys and they like to consider themselves the anti-hero, so I think that’s what that represented. I think one of the reasons why we didn’t go CG with [the] Predators at all was to keep that identification with the audience. I think that’s what made him one of the great movie monsters, movie creatures and enduring creatures in movie history."
How did you convey the primal nature of the predators and humans?
Nimrod Antal: "He’s the hunter, something that we’ve lost touch with. Our society now hunts for sport, which is almost disgusting compared to eating, feeding yourself, clothing yourself and what hunting was originally supposed to be. I think in our earlier conversations with Robert, there [were] a lot of things we wanted to incorporate. One was bringing back old-school hunting techniques: driving, flushing. We also wanted to bring back the jungle and make sure that was a character in itself and something that would be threatening. Everything from lighting, working with Gyula Pados - our director of photography - we sat down early on. Robert had a big concern about the jungles looking lush. That was the last thing we wanted. We didn’t want this place where you were going to want to get a margarita and hang back. We wanted a threatening location where just a simple image would feel threatening. So we tried to do that as well, and we would always start from the original film."
"Always our intention was to make something that the fans would appreciate again, but something that would be able to stand on its own, taking the original film into consideration and what they achieved, that was something that we tried to mirror. As much as we could without aping it, without monkeying off of it and just redoing it."
Robert Rodriguez: "Also, 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 sit, and you’ll have to imitate yourself and say, 'Shock and Awe,' the way I would hear it when I would walk on. '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."
Nimrod Antal: "It’s all the drugs I was doing while I we were making it."
Robert Rodriguez: "He just really kept that in mind and I was really impressed by that."