Shane Black's The Predator

It’s understandable that fans get leery when beloved movies from decades past get lined up for the reboot treatment. Even the legacyquel that keeps the original mythology intact and acts more like a sequel than a reboot can be worrisome. However, in the case of The Predator, we’re getting a follow-up to the original 1987 sci-fi action classic that hails from Shane Black, who not only is the accomplished director of Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, but also had a supporting role in the original movie. That should definitely put some fans at ease.

Now Shane Black has opened up a bit about The Predator in a couple recent interviews where he talks about what a Predator movie should be, the casting of Boyd Holbrook in the lead after Benicio del Toro exited the project, and why the movie absolutely had to be R-rated.

First of all, speaking with Collider, Black spelled out exactly what he thinks a Predator movie is and should be:

I think the Predator movies have slightly veered from typical sci-fi in that there is a sort of thriller aspect to them. I think it should be scary, I think it should be funny, and I think ultimately it should be wondrous and about perceiving things that human beings very seldom get a chance to see… I don’t mean movie audiences I mean characters in the movie. I’m not saying the movie will be nothing anyone’s seen before.

I’m thankful that Black held back from saying something that would have come off more hyperbolic than anything. Saying a movie will be unlike anything anyone has ever seen is such a cheap, exaggerated way to hype a movie, but the way he describes how the human characters should deal with something like the Predator (who is of an alien species called Yautja or Hish-Qu-Ten) is interesting.

With regards to The Predator, Black reiterates to JoBlo that this is more of a sequel than a reboot, and the film will reference the original while standing on its own:

I think it has to stand on its own two feet, but our goal is to make sure it acknowledges that, yeah, it is 30 years later in the continuity of the story. In other words, Dutch Schaefer’s patrol, which was attacked and largely slaughtered, happened 30 years ago in the context of the story. It’s referenced, it’s part of the mythology. In that way, it’s more of a sequel than a reboot.

As for the swap in casting from Benicio del Toro to Boyd Holbrook, it doesn’t sound like something Shane Black is worried about. Sometimes scheduling is used as an excuse when there are other reasons for a casting deal not coming through, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. Black explains:

With Benicio [del Toro] and the scheduling, we just couldn’t make it work. We have a release date and we had to start much later than we wanted to. This way, the silver lining is [Boyd Holbrook], who I’ve spent some time with now, he’s just marvelous, he’s amazing.

We still don’t know anything about the character Holbrook will be playing, but if Black is confident in his talents, then we should be too. Plus, Holbrook is also the villain in Logan, so he must have done some impressive work to line up another big franchise film at 20th Century Fox to follow so quickly. Speaking of Fox, they’ve been nothing but supportive with regards to Black’s vision:

Fox has been very cooperative. I mean part of it is the success they had with Deadpool, but I also made a case—and I think they agreed—that fans of the Predator generally, probably aren’t looking to go to see a PG-13-rated version of it. It would be more of a letdown if it was sort of tailored to a family friendly audience than if it were allowed to play out to the same scale and level that the first R-rated one did.

Indeed, Deadpool likely made the prospect of an R-rated blockbuster easier to swallow, but not every R-rated movie is going to have success on that scale. The good news is that Predator fans only want an R-rated movie in this franchise, and we’re just happy that’s what we’re going to get.

Shane Black’s The Predator is slated to arrive on February 9, 2018, and we’ll keep you posted.

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