Actress Olivia Munn has not spoken to The Predator director Shane Black following her reporting a fellow cast member's status as a registered sex offender to Fox. Black's comedic re-imagining of the classic franchise is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the fall. Unfortunately, Black's decision to cast a close friend with a serious criminal record in the film without informing the rest of the cast and crew has now cast a shadow over the project.
The controversy broke just before the Toronto International Film Festival, where The Predator was scheduled to make its world debut. Munn had learned that actor Steven Wilder Striegel, with whom she shared a scene in The Predator, was a registered sex offender (following a 2010 incident in which he pleaded guilty to attempting to have a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl), and had served six months in prison. Striegel is reportedly good friends with Black, who cast him in minor roles in other films like Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. When Fox learned about Striegel's criminal history, they cut his scene from the movie and issued a statement that it's not their policy to employ convicted sex offenders, also noting that various legal statues limit the ability of film studios to run criminal background checks on actors.
THR interviewed Munn regarding the controversy, and the reactions of Fox and Black following her report. Black issued a public apology after the scene between Munn and Striegel was cut by the studio, claiming that he'd been misled as to the circumstances behind Striegel's conviction. Black also affirmed his belief in giving people second chances, but admits he should have informed the rest of the cast of Striegel's past.
Munn: I haven’t heard from Shane. I did see his apology that he put out. I appreciate the apology. I would have appreciated it more if it was directed toward me privately before it went public and I had to see it online with everyone else.
Munn went on to describe how she has been seemingly separated from the rest of the cast of The Predator on press junkets promoting the film. Munn claims that many have treated her as if she was the one who had committed a crime, due to her decision to report Striegel's criminal past to the studio, and Black's indiscretion in casting him in defiance of studio policy. Despite this, Munn does not regret her actions and sees them as the only thing she could have done under the circumstances.
I try to do the right thing and that’s all I can do, and when I see something, you do something. You don’t just sit back and hope it protects your movie. The movie is a great movie, the scene isn’t in there. It’s going to do well. At the end of the day, it's just a movie. We can’t tell stories about people and not care about people.
Munn should be commended for her decision to put principle over profits and risk her career for her beliefs. While Black's desire to believe the best of a friend and offer him a second chance is commendable, that does not excuse his failure to inform the cast and crew working under him of that decision. It remains to be seen how their respective actions will influence the public's reaction to The Predator, which hits theaters this Friday
- The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018