Bill Duke, who plays the Predator, explains why action icon Jean-Claude Van Damme was not the film’s first monster.
Predator, a 1987 famous sci-fi film shot in the forests of Puerto Vallarta and Palenque, follows the story of a trained military rescue squad being pursued by an extraterrestrial with the ability to conceal itself. In the film, Duke played Mac alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura, among other well-known actors. Kevin Peter Hall also portrayed the extraterrestrial hunter, with Peter Cullen providing the creature’s voice.
Co-star Bill Duke verified Jean-Claude Van Damme’s claims that he was sacked from the 1987 sci-fi thriller because he was constantly dehydrated in a recent interview.
On a recent edition of the Murder Master Music Show, Duke recounted, “We were in the jungles of Puerto Vallarta and Palenque for a long time. I don’t know if you know this story or not, but the Predator that you saw was not the original Predator.”
Duke started by revealing a secret revealed by leaked behind-the-scenes photos. “I don’t know if you know this story or not, but the Predator that you saw was not the original Predator did you know that? The original Predator was a much smaller creature and they were gonna put the special effects on his body in post-production.”
“So he had a stealth suit on and they put him on wires and he flew up in the trees with the wires on his back like he was flying,” the actor who played Mac in the film stated. “He had passed out twice from dehydration, and the producer came over to him and said, ‘If you pass out again, I’m gonna fire you.’ And the guy said, ‘I’m not passing out on purpose! I’m dehydrated!’” Duke added, “Two weeks go by, and the guy passes out. The producer goes over and fires him. That person was Jean-Claude Van Damme.”
On the film’s 30th anniversary, John McTiernan told a completely different story, claiming that they never shot anything with Van Damme, that the young actor didn’t understand the visual effects elements of the costume, and that he had fantastical opinions on how he compared to the film’s star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Aside from Van Damme’s botched exit, the Predator franchise is presently embroiled in yet more controversy over the film’s rights. Jim and John Thomas, the franchise’s screenwriters, filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company earlier this year, claiming they were “seeking confirmation of successfully recapturing rights to the franchise.” This lawsuit is in response to Disney’s purchase of the property’s rights as part of their acquisition of 20th Century Fox in 2019. While the trial isn’t scheduled to begin until April 2022, Disney is presently filming a Predator sequel called Skull, which will also be released in 2022.
“This action is necessary because defendants are improperly attempting to prematurely terminate 20th Century’s rights to the Hunters Screenplay, at the very time that 20th Century is investing substantial time, money, and effort in developing another installment in its successful Predator franchise,” Disney claimed at the time.