At some point in '85 or '86, producer Joel Silver was asked to come aboard a project developed from a mysterious script about an alien hunter that appeared under an executive's door one day. Arranged as a vehicle for Austrian body-builder-turned-action-star Arnold Schwarzenegger, Predator was an unexpected genre pastiche that's widely regarded as one of the best '80s action movies. Though the cast and crew seemed to have had fun in the jungle together, the making of Predator was tough from start to finish, as evidenced by these Predator movie facts.
Schwarzenegger stars as Dutch, a soldier in charge of leading his elite Special Forces team into a Central American jungle on a rescue mission. The mission is interrupted by an alien presence, and all hell breaks loose. Predator was primarily shot near Palenque, Mexico, and incorporates elements of action, sci fi, and horror. The cast and crew dealt with the extreme heat of the jungle and serious illnesses brought on by eating and drinking contaminated food and water.
But illness was only one of the movie’s obstacles. Director John McTiernan recalls trouble right out of the gate, saying, “The first day of shooting was the worst nightmare I’ve ever seen.” Things didn't get easier. One of the most interesting Predator behind-the-scenes stories centers on the original Predator suit, and the muscle-bound man from Brussels initially hired to play the part. They were both a complete disaster.
Read all about the hokey red suit from hell in the Predator making-of stories below. And don’t forget Arnold’s sage advice, "If it bleeds, we can kill it."
The Predator Was Originally Intended To Be "Ninja-Like"Video: YouTube
Predator is one of the great movie creatures of the 1980s, the vast majority of which were massive, silent beasts that seemed like unstoppable killing machines (Jason Vorhees, etc). This style of monster can be seen, at least in part, as a metaphor for the silent, massive, stoic enemy to Reagan's America - the Soviet Union.
Given this, you might be surprised to learn the original concept for the alien in Predator was for a "stealthy, ninja-like creature that could move rapidly among the trees."
The Film's Insurance Company Required A Security Guard For Actor Sonny LandhamPhoto: 20th Century Fox
Actor Sonny Landham had a reputation for being combative when he was cast as Billy in Predator. Because of this, the company insuring the film insisted Landham have a bodyguard, not to protect him, but to protect people from him. As McTiernan recalls, "We had this 6'8" tall giant who just had to follow Sonny around 24 hours a day the entire time he worked on the movie and make sure that Sonny never misbehaved."
Bonus fact: Landham got his start in films of a penetrating nature made specifically for audiences 18 years of age or older. A quick Google image search will lead you to various enlightening photos of his lance flopping about in a bed of downy pubes.
Director John McTiernan Sees 'Predator' As Fundamentally Akin To 'King Kong'Photo: 20th Century Fox
Despite the Rocky-vs-an-alien origins of the Predator script, director John McTiernan thought the project was more akin to King Kong. "Bunch of guys go to an island, and go deeper and deeper in, and, shazam, the thing they’re chasing turns out to be a lot bigger than they thought, and they have to turn around and run away!"
Schwarzenegger Pulled An Epic Fast One On VenturaPhoto: 20th Century Fox
The former governor of California tricked former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura big time. One day, the wardrobe department on Predator told Ventura his massive biceps were one inch larger than Arnold's. So Jesse the Body approached the former Mr. Universe and asked him if he wanted to compare biceps - whoever had bigger guns got a bottle of champagne from the puny loser. Ventura lost, and found out he had been duped.
Tricky Arnold told the wardrobe department to mislead Ventura, so he could win the champagne.