Sunday, 19 January 2014

If It Bleeds We Can Kill It: Predator Part 2 Behind The Scenes

With the cast all introduced, lets get to the good stuff!

So I won’t lie, the first time I saw Predator I felt this overwhelming urge to drop down and start doing some press ups followed by climbing up the front of my bunk beds to hang and do pull ups-Arnies’ enormous guns were enough motivation to get even the laziest person out of their beds and into a gym.
But once my puny little young guns (literally as I believe I was 7 year old when I first watched it. You can debate the bad parenting later) began to burn, my motivation began to wane and as I slumped down onto the floor, the movie still playing away, my focus began to change.

Especially when HE walked on screen. 

A 7ft alien Rastafarian  creature with more gadgets that Macgyver could ever hope to make. The younger generation won’t remember Macgyver but for those that do-here is a nostalgic pic that has absolutely no relevance whatsoever to my blog other than the guy was awesome.

OK Focus, the Predator. Played by the late gentle giant, Kevin Peter Hall

Kevin was used to playing suited characters due to his enormous size. He stood just over 7ft and had been cast in previous movies to play the character ‘Harry’ in Harry and the Henderson's.

What Kevin brought to the role of Predator was something unique. The original model for the predator had been this long legged, almost bird liked head creature than moved awkwardly through the jungle. The majority of the movie had already been shot prior to the introduction of the actual Predator character, and once it arrived on set, the director John Mcteirnen voiced what everyone else on set were thinking “uh oh”

The original design was underwhelming, too small and its running gait could only be described as ‘gangly’ not really the look you want for a sophisticated hunting alien that travels the galaxy searching for worthy prey!

With the budget nearly spent and the movie missing its key character, the director sent the original suit back with the simple message “You surely don’t really want us to use that”
Luckily they agreed with him and thanks to a suggestion from Arnold, they called in Stan Winston, a special FX guy that had worked with creature models before in movies like the Terminator and Alien.

Stan quickly sketched up some drawings (much of what we see the Predator as today) and on a flight over he was sitting next to another famous director James Cameron, whom he had done work with on the Aliens movie. James saw the images of the Predator and made a simple comment that would change how we see the hunter forever. He said “I've always wanted to see a character with mandibles

Now remember that James Cameron was not working on the Predator, he was merely making a suggestion and one that would stick in Stan’s head, motivating him to do extra drawings and include the mandible face that we all know is hidden under the helmet.

So with the new suit made, it was back to the heated jungle of Mexico to finish filming.Climbing into the suit, Kevin very quickly began to get a feel for the movement and traits for the Predator, none of which were instructed to him but in fact his own interpretation of the alien. The director loved every bit of it and couldn't wait to get filming.
Credit needs to be given to Kevin, as in the intense heat of the Mexican jungle coupled with the inch thick rubber/latex suit he was wearing, he apparently never complained once. The head section of the costume could be removed and the cast tried, where possible, to get this off asap when not in shot. But credit has to be given to the gentle giant for not complaining and getting down to business even after 40 takes in the afternoon sun.

With all the hard work that he put into the movie and the intolerable conditions he endured without complaint, director John Mcteirnon thought it was only fair that he should get his face into the movie, casting him as the rescue helicopter pilot at the end. Kevin got one line in the entire movie.

I won't repeat what he tries to say.

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