With the impending theatrical release of The Predator franchise installment from writer/director Shane Black, the latest word has confirmation as to why Jean-Claude Van Damme didn’t appear in the John McTiernan-directed 1987 original as the titular movie monster. For those in the know, the McTiernan-led action blockbuster series has seen two direct sequels thus far – namely Predator 2 from 1990 and Predators from 2010 – and has since solidified itself as an iconic 1980s franchise bolstered by lead performances from the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura, and a young Shane Black.
And with filming officially completed on The Predator – a franchise film that is rumored to be set between the events depicted in Predator 2 and Predators – all eyes are on Black and company as the summer 2018 release date looms ever closer. However, the original 1987 film that started it all will continue to be a high water mark that the series has yet to rival, and the latest word from McTiernan has official confirmation as to why one 1980s action movie star didn’t make the cut into the aforementioned 20th century classic.
In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, McTiernan opened up about why the seminal action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme didn’t get a seat at the table in the making of the original Predator movie as the eponymous alien monster. According to the acclaimed American filmmaker, Van Damme has his agent to blame for never stepping foot on the set of the 1987 action movie, stating:
“We never shot anything with him. It was a complete screw up with his agent, trying to hustle him into a job and didn’t know what the movie was. It’s silly. It was really silly.“
Regardless of how exciting it might have been to see Schwarzenegger and Van Damme duke it out on the big screen in a Predator that might have been, it’s also important to note that Van Damme was attached at at a time when the iconic look of the titular monster was vastly different from what viewers are familiar with today (per Yahoo! Movies). Van Damme may have been a match made in heaven in retrospect, but it’s probably for the best that things turned out the way they did and the creature design was further developed without the Belgian actor’s involvement.
The Predator is sure to draw a crowd when it finally sees theatrical release later next year, and knowing a little more about the history of the McTiernan-directed 1987 original and Van Damme’s potential role as the iconic monster only adds further perspective to the big picture. On that note, here’s to hoping for the very best from the fourth entry in the celebrated feature franchise.