Producer Robert Rodriguez and Director Nimród Antal Discuss Predators
07.09.10 by BrentJS
The nationwide opening of Predators is today and, though the alien hunter has appeared in one sequel; two team-up movies with the Aliens franchise; and countless comic books and video games, for many fans this movie is the long-awaited sequel to the one true vision of the character, director John McTiernan's 1987 Predator.
Predators ignores Predator 2, which moved the action from the jungles of South America to near-future Los Angeles, a decision that producer Robert Rodriguez said that 20th Century Fox had already made way back in 1995 when they originally contracted him to write the movie. In a recent interview with Collider, Rodriguez and director Nimród Antal discuss the importance of the jungle environment to the movie and the casting of Adrien Brody and Alice Braga as butt-kicking killers stranded on a planet designed by the Predators for hunting humans.
We wanted to bring back the jungle and make sure that that was a character in itself and something that would be threatening...Robert had a big concern about the jungles looking lush and that was like the last thing we wanted. We didn’t want this place where you wanted to get a margarita and hang back... [We wanted] to make something that the fans would appreciate again but something that would be able to stand on its own.
Much of the early criticism about Predators centered around the casting of Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody as a tough-as-nails mercenary named Royce. For many, replacing Arnold Schwarzenegger with the actor known most widely for his dramatic performance in The Pianist was almost blasphemous. But, Rodriguez said that Brody was an excellent choice because he was not a conventional action hero-type of actor.
We went to him originally for another part that is actually not even in the movie... he wrote back and said I don’t really wanna play these kinds of parts anymore I wanna play something like the lead. And I thought, 'Really?! That’s a pretty out there choice!'... anytime you have an Oscar-winning actor wanting to be in a Predator movie you probably go that route, and it’s fairly easy for us as filmmakers to make that choice because we’re looking at a list of actors up for the role and... They’re already doing that stuff, that same role in three other movies that year.
Antal added that Brody's "passion" for the role was "refreshing."
To see someone of his caliber really want something as bad as he did. What I can’t stand is when you have these comfortable actors who have some success and they’re just, 'I don’t know, I don’t know,' and this guy came in saying, 'I want this. Please give this to me. I’ll fight for it. I’ll prove you guys wrong if you have any doubt.' That was bitching.
One of the few disagreements between Rodriguez and Antal centered around the character of Isabelle. Antal wanted to cut her from the movie, because he initially felt that she would be nothing more than distracting eye candy, but Rodriguez convinced him to keep in the character. Antal is glad that he did, saying that Alice Braga was "just awesome" in the role.
I wanted to cut her out... I didn’t want to have a prop running around going 'Ahhh!' I knew that if we were really gonna put a girl in there she would have to really sell it... and we were talking about hardened people who had seen a lot of nasty things... I was worried and Robert was actually like, 'Dude, how many great girls have there been?!' And then he started naming them off, he’s like, 'Well, Ripley, Sarah Connor, Nikita,' and I was like, 'Oh, I guess you’re right, there’ve been a few good ones,' and it took me a bit to get my head around that and accept that. And then we cast Alice Braga and she’s probably one of the toughest of the bunch and as a character and as a person.
Predators also stars Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Oleg Taktarov, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali and Louis Ozawa Changchien.