Fred Dekker on where The Predator went wrong and how Schwarzenegger fit in

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

The Predator, Shane Black, Fred Dekker, Arnold Schwarzenegger

The idea of Shane Black and Fred Dekker taking on the PREDATOR franchise should have been the best thing in the world, but as we know, the production didn't exactly go as planned as the studio demanded major reshoots and rewrites which changed the entire third act. THE PREDATOR was met with mixed reviews and a lackluster box-office, and co-writer Fred Dekker recently spoke with MovieFone about where it all went wrong.

During production on THE PREDATOR, you might have remembered seeing set-photos which featured Predators in armoured cars along with the human heroes. Fred Dekker shed a little light on the original intention of the film and how those "good guy" Predators fit into the story.

I think we were halfway through the shoot. Um, we had devised a sequence which, which I confessed was my idea, which was essentially, our heroes have to get from point A to point B and they commandeer military convoy. And at that point in the film, we had established a pair of Predator emissaries, basically good guy predators. What was interesting to Shane and I was to ask a question that nobody to give a shit about, which is, what do predators do, except for hunt? Because they've invented interstellar spacecraft. So they're not stupid. They're not just a bunch of Arkansas rednecks who come to Earth to play the most dangerous game. They actually have a civilization and a culture. And presumably that's worth exploring since none of the other movies do it.

So our idea was that their planet is dying. And so they've decided to take what previously was explored, which is to dope up creatures with the DNA of other types of predators from alien worlds and create new targets for their hunt. But now they realized, well, hey, we need maybe to upgrade ourselves just to survive. And then they go to themselves, well, hey, earth is warming up. We like a warm environment. Maybe we should move in. So the premise of the movie is that in the third act was these two predators come aboard the ship and everybody's freaking out and the predators actually want to communicate. They want to say, "Hey, we’ve got a problem, you have a problem. Maybe we should team up."

"So that whole convoy was trying to get the emissaries to the ship to get away and they were going to be chased by A, the upgrade who we meet in the finished version of the movie and B, and this was a huge change from our initial premise, is that at the beginning of the movie, you see the first Predator that shows up in the movie," Dekker explained. "He leaves the ship and we push in on this container in the, in the ship. And what they ended up with was the terrible ending that I have nothing to do with it. Shane didn't write either. That was sort of someone decided it was a good idea." The screenwriter continued, "There's something on the ship. Well, originally there was a whole bunch of those in the ship. And what those were was those were the gestating hybrids. Essentially what they were nurturing and growing in these pods were the hybrids of Predator DNA mixed with the DNA of creatures from all over the galaxy that would enable them to basically eradicate mankind so that they could populate it themselves. And so the convoy chase, the idea was that it would be all of our heroes on these badass, big military vehicles and the upgrade releases the hybrids and chases them and the hybrids jump onto the convoy. And it's a big, rootin’, tootin’ fantastic action sequence." The big convoy chase went through pre-viz and animatics, but Dekker said that some at the studio felt as though they were straying too far from what audiences were expecting THE PREDATOR to be, so they turned it into more of a hunt and set the sequence at night. "I’m actually quite pleased with the first half of the movie," Dekker said. "But it kind of goes off the rails by, and Hollywood does this all the time by, trying to appeal to everyone, you appeal to no one."

As we know, there had been talk of Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role of Dutch in THE PREDATOR, but the actor wound up passing on the role. Fred Dekker was always a supporter of Schwarzenegger returning for an impactful finale cameo, which he compared to Mark Hamill's appearance as Luke Skywalker at the end of THE FORCE AWAKENS. "One of the master strokes of "The Force Awakens" is that ending. Because even though Luke doesn't do anything except turn around and have a beard, it touches that little nostalgia button in you and you go, 'Oh cool,'" Dekker said. "We very much wanted [Schwarzenegger]  in the film but what we had written was a cameo that would have spring-boarded into a major role in any sequel. He decided it wasn’t enough of a role and nobody was willing to put money on the possibility of a sequel. He would be taking a pay cut. He would have said, “Come with me if you want to live.” Shane had a talk with Arnold but at the end of the day, the sequel wasn’t a done deal and this is really not a lot of screen time for Arnold to go and fly to Canada and do a half day."

Source: MovieFone

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.