Predator is one of the most fun action-horror films of all time. It is one of those ideas that is so cool, it's a wonder no one came up with it before. The film follows a group of special forces soldiers on a mission in the deep jungle who are stalked by an alien who hunts for sport.
The movie is a hugely entertaining adventure that has a continued impact on pop culture. It helped solidify Arnold Schwarzenegger as a massively successful action star. It kick-started director John McTiernan's career. Most importantly, it gave us one of cinema's best monsters. Revisit the classic by exploring some of the hidden details of Predator.
10 Sonny Landham's Bodyguard
Sonny Landham played Billy in the film, the silent and intense member of the team who seemed to sense the Predator's presence before anyone else. Despite not having a lot of lines in the film, Billy was a very memorable character and Landham was perfect in the role.
Behind the scenes, however, there was concern about hiring Landham. In order to appease the insurance companies for the film, Landham could only be cast if a bodyguard was hired for him. The bodyguard was not meant to protect Landham, but rather to protect others from Landham. John McTiernan maintains Landham was never a problem on set.
9 Jesse Ventura
Part of what makes the film work so well is that the team of soldiers makes you feel like they are the real deal. In order to achieve that realism of playing special forces soldiers, the actors underwent an intense boot camp with real army personnel.
While most of the cast admitted the training ultimately helped their performances, they also said it was a very unpleasant experience. However, Jesse Ventura, who plays Blain, is an ex-Navy Seal and reportedly excelled at the training. Regarding his co-stars, Ventura said he wouldn't want to go to war with them, but he'd make a movie with them.
8 Shane Black
By the time filming was ready to start on Predator, Shane Black had become a big name in the action genre but as a writer rather than an actor. Black had written Lethal Weapon which was being praised for its original voice in the genre.
Producer Joel Silver tried to get Black to do a rewrite of the script for Predator, but he wasn't interested. Instead, Silver hired Black as an actor, playing Hawkins, the jokester of the team. It was Silver's hope that having Black on set, he could more easily convince him to rewrite the film. Black insists he didn't change the script at all but he went on to make his own Predator film in 2018.
7 Friendly Competition
Predator is known for having one of the most muscle-bound casts in movie history. With that many tough guys on set, it's not surprising that there was a fair amount of competition going on.
One particularly funny rivalry was between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. When in the wardrobe department, Ventura noticed the measurements for his biceps were larger than Schwarzenegger's. Feeling confident, Ventura told Schwarzenegger they should measure each other's bicep and the loser buys a bottle of champagne for the winner. Unfortunately, the whole thing was a prank Schwarzenegger set up with the wardrobe department and Ventura lost the bet.
6 Jean-Claude Van Damme
With all the tough guys already in the movies, it's funny to think that Jean-Claude Van Damme was briefly involved in the film as well. However, the martial arts superstar was not cast as a member of the special forces team, but rather as the Predator itself.
The original plan was for Van Damme to play the monster in a special-effects suit. However, this provided a number of problems like Van Damme's short height compared to the other cast and his annoyance at not actually appearing onscreen. In the end, he only lasted a few days on set before quitting.
5 Creature Design
Like Jaws that came before it, Predator is one of those great movies that was very close to being a disaster. And like Jaws, it was the creature at the center of the movie that provided most of the issues.
While the original idea was for Stan Winston to design the monster, the studio opted to save some money by going with a less expensive company. The film was well into filming by the time John McTiernan was delivered the creature costume and he was devastated by the lackluster design. After trying to film with the creature for a few days, McTiernan showed the footage to the studio who quickly agreed a new design was needed.
4 Sgt. Rock
When asked about working with Arnold Schwarzenegger, John McTiernan said he was like a comic book come to life. As it so happens, at this time Schwarzenegger was in the process of bringing a comic book to life for a project he was working on.
Schwarzenegger had planned on making a film based on the Sgt. Rock comic series and had planned to star. During the credit sequence, Hawkins is seen reading a Sgt. Rock book as they were all over the set for Schwarzenegger's own research into the project.
3 Kevin Peter Hall
Though a lot of praise is given to the extremely macho actors of the cast, one underrated actor in Predator is Kevin Peter Hall. After the casting of Van Damme didn't work out, Hall was hired as the replacement and donned the iconic Predator costume.
Despite it being incredibly uncomfortable to work in such a cumbersome costume in the middle of a scorching hot jungle, Hall somehow managed to pull off his very physical performance. As payback for enduring that costume, John McTiernan gave Hall an onscreen role as the helicopter pilot at the end of the film.
2 The Predator's Voice
So much of the film's success rested on how well the Predator creature came off as a terrifying killer. The design of the character was certainly a big component to its success, but another aspect that turned it into such an unforgettable movie monster was its unique voice.
The voice acting was provided by legendary voice actor, Peter Cullen who is most famous for voicing Optimus Prime in the Transformers movies and cartoons. Cullen was reluctant to take the part because of his own voice problems but changed his mind after seeing the design. He ended up coming up with clicking noises himself.
1 Old Painless
Though the movie is largely a horror-thriller as the Predator hunts down the soldiers and picks them off one-by-one, it's a pretty solid action movie even before the monster shows up. One of the best sequences involved the team raiding an enemy compound with a whole lot of fire-power.
The most epic moment comes when Blain goes to work with his weapon, an M134 Minigun. Such a gun is usually mounted on the side of a helicopter and really makes no sense in this kind of combat scenario, but it's a lot of fun. Jesse Ventura became the first actor to use the gun handheld on screen.