jean claude van damme predator

You may know that Jean-Claude Van Damme originally had a faceless but significant part in John McTiernan‘s Predator. Specifically, he was going to be the guy in the Predator suit, back before the alien design we all know and love was totally finalized. In fact, Van Damme spent a couple days running around doing tests in a lobster-like costume and feeling pretty pissed-off about the fact that his martial arts skills were going to waste. The costume didn’t work, and eventually it was scrapped for a different design, worn by the much larger actor Kevin Peter Hall.

Stan Winston’s son recently had effects guy Steve Johnson (Ghostbusters, Species, Blade 2) as a guest on the inaugural episode of The Monster Show. Therein, Johnson told the story of the original Predator design and Van Damme’s involvement. It isn’t the most kind retelling of the story, but elapsed decades erase the need to maintain decorum. The story is so weird you’ll probably think it is a joke. You must watch the video below. 

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SXSW week catch-up continues in today’s Superhero Bits. Want to see the trailer for Superman vs. The Elite? How about the Amazing Spider-Man video game? Is there a Batman and Robin musical starring Mr. Freeze? What happens when The Joker goes through airport security? Why did the Man of Steel Facebook page disappear? And what is Joss Whedon saying about his work on The Avengers? Read about this and more in the today’s edition of Superhero Bits. Read More »

He’s blown the “What If” doors off Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, Ang Lee’s Hulk and next up in Francis Lawrence’s I Am Legend. Special Effects guru Steve Johnson has just released a video that shows an unused makeup test for the zombies in the 2007 Will Smith hit. Apparently Lawrence wasn’t entirely happy with how the actors looked in this makeup and eventually just went to full CG creations. After watching the videos below, though, it’s hard to imagine something grosser than the practical effects. It would have been a whole different movie. Check out the creepy video after the jump. Read More »

What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 21 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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Ang Lee’s Unused ‘Hulk’ Robot

Before eventual Oscar-winning director Ang Lee decided on going full CGI for his 2003 superhero film Hulk, the production  experimented with a fully animatronic version of the character. How do we know? Steve Johnson, of course.

The special effects master who has been blowing the doors off superhero pre-production is back again. This time, though, he has more than photos. While Johnson has been using Facebook of late to show some of the hundreds of thousands of still photographs he possesses from his 30 plus years of Hollywood effects work, he also has a fairly active YouTube channel. That’s where he chose to debut this footage of tests done for Ang Lee’s Hulk.

Johnson also promises to continue to reveal tens of thousands of hours of footage from his 30 year career both on YouTube and in special behind-the-scenes DVDs he’s beginning to sell. Check out the video and more after the break. Read More »

Each and every one of us probably has a bunch of websites we go to in the morning and, if you’re reading this, /Film is probably one of them. Thank you very much. It’s getting to a point now, though, where we might all have to add one more site to our daily surf schedule:  Steve Johnson’s Facebook page. In the past few months, the visual effects legend has single-handedly blown the lid off of several Superman projects that never made it to the big screen. Just this week, we posted concept art from the J.J. Abrams Superman film that never happened and, a few months ago, we posted your first look at the costume that was being considered for Tim Burton’s late 1990s film Superman Lives. To call it a radical departure from the traditional Superman costume would be an understatement. And all of those images came from Johnson.

Today, we’ve got even more photos from the failed Tim Burton Superman Lives. Check them out after the break. Read More »

One of the first pieces of online film journalism to truly legitimize the profession was Drew McWeeny’s September 2002 evisceration of a J.J. Abrams script for a film eventually referred to as Superman: Flyby. McWeeny, then working for Ain’t It Cool News under the name “Moriarty,” ripped apart Abrams’ script so completely, and in such a public forum, that he is widely credited for killing the film. To this day, the piece is a fantastic read.

This was before Superman returned and before Batman began. At the time, Warner Brothers was hoping to reinvent their superhero franchises with filmmakers like McG and Brett Ratner. They couldn’t know that the man who would eventually revitalize Batman was already working for them or that their Superman screenwriter would do the same for Paramount and Star Trek years later. This wasn’t the J.J. Abrams of Mission: Impossible or Lost. This was the Alias and Felicity J.J. Abrams.

Years later, we’ve got a tiny glimpse at what might have been if Abrams’ script got made, as well as another huge “almost” in Superman movie lore. Special effects guru Steve Johnson, who was responsible for revealing the Tim Burton costume tests for a failed late Nineties Superman reboot, posted a gallery on his Facebook with concept art for different Superman costumes as well as some sketches of Doomsday, who apparently was being considered as a villain if director Bryan Singer got a second crack at the Man of Steel after Superman Returns. Check them out and more after the break. Read More »

Hey Zack Snyder! Here’s how not to make your new Superman movie. It seems like every few years, we get another glimpse of the incredible amount of money Warner Brothers threw into pre-production on a Tim Burton directed Superman film called Superman Lives. As far back as 2006, concept art from the film began surfacing online and last year not only did more concept images rear their ugly little heads, a now infamous shot of star Nicolas Cage wearing a radical (and not in the fun, ’80s way) take on the Man of Steel was revealed. Well, visual and makeup effects guru Steve Johnson just posted a whole gallery of never before seen costume images from this failed project. If this wasn’t a Superman movie, I’d say these costumes look great. But being as it is Superman, well, let’s just say I’m glad Bryan Singer and Zack Snyder got there first. Check out more after the jump. Read More »