MovieFone recently interviewed Fred Dekker to coincide with a Blu-Ray release of Night of the Creeps.
The subject of The Predator and its problems arose – the film will most likely be remembered for its controversial use of autism as a plot device but Dekker opened up about deleted sub-plots, and key sequences which were omitted from the final film.
Dekker also expanded on the two Predator Emissaries (remember the ones riding in military vehicles in behind the scenes pictures?) and a plot arc with a dying home planet; wanting to move to Earth due to its increase in heat (presumably a global warming plot point), cross breeding new prey and the Predators enhancing their own DNA for the hunt.
It’s clear, when Dekker talks about The Predator, that the whole movie was a mess and he even described what he and Director, Shane Black, wanted to do was not really like a Predator movie so the studios stepped in and tried to shift the project into something more the fans would expect.
“Can we talk about what happened with “The Predator?” We’ve seen set photos of good guy predators driving armored cars and you’ve alluded on your Facebook page to it not being the movie you and Shane wanted. Can you talk about that?”MovieFone
Fred Dekker responded by saying:
“Sure. 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.Fred Dekker
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. 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.
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.
Shane storyboarded it. And we had a pre-viz and animatics and it was I think a really cool idea. At some point or another, the studio, I think, and I’m not pointing fingers at anyone in particular, but there were these misgivings that we were straying too far from what people expected the movie to be. And so we sat down and went, “I guess we need to do a hunt and it needs to be at night, so it’s scarier.” So we ended up going in that direction, which I don’t think served us because it didn’t top anything we’d seen before. I’m actually quite pleased with the first half of the movie, 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.
I think that the convoy chase should have been done at night to be scarier. And I argued for it, but I was just the co-writer, if I’d been a producer on the movie, they would have listened to me more. But believe it or not, that’s the short version of how it became what it is.”
“How close did you come to getting Arnold Schwarzenegger to come back?”MovieFone
“I think personally, and I argued, again, I was not a producer on this movie, so I could just say things and people will all nod or shake their heads. I believe the convoy chase, had we done it and had we done it at night, would have been something that had never been seen before in a movie. Whether you think it’s a Predator movie or not is up to you. But I thought it would have been cool and the other thing I said is, “We have to have Arnold Schwarzenegger in this movie.” Because, like it or not, 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.” And then you go to the credits and there’s no way that movie’s not going to be a big hit. Even though there’s not a single original thing in it, all it is just “Star Wars” and “The Empire Strikes Back” combined and you switch it around a little bit and you change characters, but there’s not a single moment in that movie where I go, “Oh, that’s an interesting, cool thing.” Because I saw it all before. I love these movies so I know them pretty well. And I know when you’re showing me something from another “Star Wars” movie. Hollywood doesn’t like to do that these days. They want to just trot out. This is why there’s so many remakes that we don’t need. So they filmed that again with a worst Chucky doll? Why do we want that?”Fred Dekker
Fred Dekker spoke to MovieFone later that day to clarify the potential Arnold Schwarzenegger cameo at the end of the film. This is what he said:
“We very much wanted him 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.”Fred Dekker
Also the ending of the movie could have featured Ripley or Newt from the Alien franchise but Fred Dekker didn’t think anyone would know who Newt was…
“We shot it. I wrote that very last line. But I wasn’t happy about it. The whole thing seemed to not be in step with that particular franchise. It was one of many ideas that we floated and shot. We shot a version where Ripley was in the cocoon and we shot one where Newt from “Aliens” was in the cocoon. Sigourney didn’t want to clear any future for Ripley in the franchise and ultimately I don’t think anybody remembers Newt well enough for that to have meant anything.”Fred Dekker
What did you think of The Predator?
Would you have liked Arnold Schwarzenegger as ‘Dutch’ to deliver the classic Terminator one liner of “Come with me if you want to live?” or would this have been too much like cross contamination…?