September 6, 2018 - Story Breaks, The Predator TIFF Premiere
The news that Fox cut The Predator scene featuring Striegel was initially reported by the LA Times' Amy Kaufman on Thursday, Sept. 6. For her report, Kaufman received statements from Fox, Munn and Black, but many of the film's other cast members did not offer comments. A spokesperson for Fox said of the scene:
Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired. We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.
Meanwhile, Munn told the Times:
[I found it] both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production. However, I am relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film.
Black released an initial comment to the Times, in which he defended his friend Striegel and said he thought the actor was "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous." Black said: "I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly." Later that day, Black issued another statement as reported by THR, apologizing for his decision to cast Striegel in The Predator:
Having read this morning’s news reports, it has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction. I believe strongly in giving people second chances - but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped. After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.
On the evening of Sept. 6, The Predator held its world premiere screening at TIFF as part of the Midnight Madness lineup. As reported by the LA Times, many members of the cast were in attendance at the red carpet prior to the screening, but Black opted to skip it. He also skipped the post-screening Q&A with the cast and co-writer Fred Dekker. However, according to the Times, Black was in Toronto, and introduced the movie to the assembled audience at the screening. As Munn later told Vanity Fair, a number of her castmates - including Boyd Holbrook, Keegan-Michael Key and Trevante Rhodes - stood to give Black an ovation at the start of the screening. According to Munn, the rest of the audience stayed seated. She said:
I was just confused because I hadn’t heard from them during the day. Everybody else was sitting down—it wasn’t like this massive standing ovation for him. I felt it was still appropriate to clap and cheer, but to actually make that gesture to stand up, especially in this moment . . . and privately I knew that no one reached out to me to say, ‘Are you O.K.?’ It did feel bad.
Munn walked the red carpet at the premiere, doing press for The Predator. Earlier that day, Munn responded to a tweet asking why she was still doing press for the film, saying, "I’m contractually obligated. And from what I’m experiencing, I think they’d prefer I not show up." See her full tweet below.
On the red carpet, Variety asked co-star Jake Busey about the cut Predator scene. The actor reiterated what Munn said, that none of the cast knew about Striegel's past while filming The Predator. When asked if Fox made the right choice to cut the scene, Busey said, "I think politically they had to. There's really no other choice. Morally? I don't know. I don't run a studio. I don't make films. I don't really know much about it all. So unfortunately, it's a sad thing."
- The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018