The producer of the original Predator and its upcoming reboot is revealing why Shane Black’s character didn’t last so long in the 1987 film. While he’s predominantly been known for the past 30 years in Hollywood for his writing and directing skills, The Predator reboot writer-director Shane Black has also on occasion appeared in front of the camera.
Most of the time, Black’s appearances on film have been in nondescript roles (“Cafe 24 Manager,” in As Good as it Gets) or small supporting roles (“Donnelly” in RoboCop 3), yet in his short but memorable debut role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi smash Predator, he actually had lines as Hawkins – one of the commando team members sent out to jungles of Central America to encounter what turned out to be the lethal alien hunter.
As it turns out the reason Black was hired for the role not necessarily because of his acting, but for another particular set of skills he had. But as Black found out early in his career, if a production has special requests of you on set, you should best try to oblige them. In a retrospective interview for the 30th anniversary of Predator with THR, producer John Davis says Black didn’t seem to get the memo, and it cost him. Davis says:
I met Shane on that movie. Shane was a really great writer who had just written this great script called Lethal Weapon. We wanted him to do a rewrite on the [Predator] script. So we put him in the movie, because he’s an actor. And we got him down there, and we asked him to do a rewrite, and he said he was an actor in the movie and not a writer. So he was the first person we killed. He got killed seven minutes into the movie.
While Black’s character met an early demise in Predator, it hardly killed his career. Starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover and directed by Richard Donner, Lethal Weapon, of course, became a blockbuster hit that spawned three sequels; and Black also wrote such notable action movies as The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight. As both a writer and director, Black has made such critically acclaimed films as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and The Nice Guys, and of course, was the writer and helmer behind the worldwide smash Iron Man 3.
Obviously Black took Hawkins’ early death in Predator with good stride, otherwise he probably wouldn’t be working with Davis again on The Predator, which is pegged for an August 3, 2018, release. And while Black didn’t participate in THR’s retrospective piece on the 30th anniversary of Predator, he tweeted out a salute in recognition of the film’s landmark release date last week.
As for The Predator, let’s just hope before the film wrapped shooting that none of the actors on the film turned down Black’s request to help out with the script.
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