Robert Rodriguez talks Predators

Sergeant of splatter Robert Rodriguez tells Time Out why he’s reawakened the Predator series

Nimrod Antal
Nimrod Antal
Producer Robert Rodriguez
Producer Robert Rodriguez
Alien Prequel
Alien Prequel

Predators is going to be huge in Dubai this summer. Producer Robert Rodriguez (director of Sin City and Planet Terror) says the title is a nod to how James Cameron’s Aliens bettered its predecessor, and Time Out can confirm that this sequel to Arnie’s 1987 original is long-deserved. But more than that, Predators is further proof that in 2010, action is back. Lame ducks such as GI Joe and X-Men Origins pushed the genre into third place for overall market share in the US last year; this year, the likes of The A-Team and Kick-Ass have action hot on the heels of the adventure genre, which is holding the number one spot (the former has grossed more than US$1 billion in the US already, with adventure topping US$1.5 billion). In Dubai, too, action is king: Prince of Persia has raked in the most admissions of the year so far. Could Predators beat it? Watch this space.

So, Robert, how did you come to be working on a Predator sequel?
It’s funny. I was originally asked to write this script in 1994. It was a little ahead of its time. It took place on another planet and had a lot of special effects, which were hard to pull off at that time. It got put on the shelf, and the franchise went in a different direction with the Alien vs Predator movies. It wasn’t until recently, when Fox saw the success of the new Batman movies, that they decided to reinvigorate old franchises. That’s when they found my script.

What did you like about the Predator?
The Predator is such an enduring character. When I thought about making this movie, I went around my office to the people I work with, all of my artists. They all had Predator dolls and busts in their rooms. People still love this character. There is something very primal about it. It’s somewhat humanoid, so you can identify with it.

What did you want to do differently to the previous two Predator films?
They’d already done a sequel located in a city. I knew that going back to the jungle in some way would be like going back to its roots. For these Predators, it made sense that they’d go to a hunting planet. It would be almost like a game preserve. It’s doesn’t look completely like Earth, but there is still that underlying tension of being lost in the jungle. It’s filled with creatures you don’t quite understand, plus you have to figure out that you’re being hunted.

The title may reflect multiple Predators, right? Was that always the intent?
The idea was for this title to have a double meaning. Are we talking about the humans or are we talking about the creatures chasing them? If the humans were on this hunting planet and the Predator creatures never showed up, they would probably kill each other anyway.

You took some risks, casting actors not formerly known as action heroes…
I love working with great actors. When I did Sin City, I got the best actors possible. Sure, we were making a comic book movie, but don’t cast it with cartoon characters [Laughs]. Cast it with Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke and Benicio del Toro. So that was the idea, to get an Oscar-winning actor like Adrien Brody [far left] to play a lead in something that usually goes to a bulked-up actor or someone that we’ve seen do it so many times. That’s not fresh. All my cover letters to the cast read, ‘Here’s something you can sink your teeth into – and do things you normally don’t get to do.’ That’s what usually attracts people to the movies I make. Unusual casting is so much more gratifying.

If Hitchcock has his blondes, we now have the ‘Rodriguez Woman’.
When Alice Braga [left] did her reading, we looked at her and went, ‘Can we just hire her please?’ [Laughs]. She’s so terrific. I like strong women in my movies. I have five sisters, so I’ve grown up with that model.

In the end, who really is the bigger beast: the humans or the aliens?
What do you think? [Laughs]. I don’t think anyone can be more of a predator than a human being.
Predators is in UAE cinemas now.

Anyone for seconds?

The most exciting sequels and prequelsrumoured to be in pre-production.
Alien Prequel 1&2
Ridley Scott has signed on to direct a two-part prequel to his 1979 original. He’s the first director from the franchise to return to it: James Cameron, David Fincher and Jean-Pierre Jeunet have expressed no further interest.

Avatar 2&3
Back in 2006, James Cameron said he was working on a new movie that, if successful, would become a three-part franchise. More than US$2 billion in ticket sales later, it has been confirmed the first Avatar sequel will take place in the oceans of Pandora.

Ghostbusters 3
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