From Arnie to Dan Zimmerman – The Predators universe condensed down to 24 A-Z facts
A – Alan Schaeffer – The real name of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s character, Dutch, in PREDATOR. He’s also called Delta 5, because the team is a joint Delta Force/CIA SOG task force, but the origins of the nickname Dutch are less clear.
B – Bosch – Painter Hieronymus Bosch and his dark visions of Hell inspired director Nimrod Antal and production designers Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute as they constructed the massive 150×100 foot Predator Hunting Camp set on the backlot of Troublemaker Studios. “We wondered where would the Predators bring their kill?” explains Joyner. “Where would they clean it? How would they preserve the hides and the bones and the trophies that they take? So, we designed individual areas within the camp for all of that, so if you were a Predator, you’d feel right at home. The hunting camp is terrifying; everything was designed to look dangerous.”
C – Cameron – The much-praised director of the two biggest films in cinema history, James Cameron, made an indelible mark on the PREDATOR franchise by chance when he shared a flight with effects supremo Stan Winston. Cameron saw Winston creating concept art on the flight and said he’d always wanted to see mandibles on a sci-fi creature. You’ll spot plenty of beasties with mandibles in Cameron’s own AVATAR.
D – Dutch – As iconic and beloved to the PREDATOR franchise as the monster itself, Arnold Schwartzenegger’s Dutch is the ultimate badass, and it’s no surprise that every PREDATOR incarnation since has tried to bring him back on board. What happened to Dutch after his time in the jungle with the Predator remains unclear, but we do know this: he kicked some serious ass.
E – Earth – The Predators’ existence on Earth stretches back thousands of years. When they first arrived, they were worshipped as gods by early civilisations including the Ancient Egyptians and the Aztec. They taught humans how to build pyramids and expected sacrifices which could be used as Alien hosts for the hunt.
F – Frisbee Blade – The weapon of choice for the Predator in PREDATOR 2, the Frisbee blade has become one of the more iconic props in the PREDATOR saga. With more time to prepare the sequel, new background information was created for the Predators’ hunting style and new weapons including the Frisbee blade, a retractable spear, detachable pincers and a net were made.
G – Governors – The first PREDATOR movie features two actors who would later go on to take up state governorships in the US. Arnold Schwartzenegger led a successful and much-publicised campaign for the governorship of California in 2003, a position he holds to this day. Jesse Ventura stood independently and was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998. A third potential Governor, Sonny Landham who plays Billy, ran for Governor of Kentucky in 2003, but was defeated.
H – Hunter – The title ‘PREDATOR’ only came to the production during the shoot. Until Jean-Claude Van Damme left, and they redesigned the creature for Kevin Peter Hall, the movie was called ‘HUNTER’.
I – Israeli Defense Force – PREDATORS character Isabelle is a sniper in the Israeli Defense Force. The IDF was founded in 1948 as a conscript army to unite Israel’s armed forces. Unique amongst nations, the IDF conscripts women who can be assigned to combatant service and placed directly in the line of enemy fire.
J – Jungle – It’s the setting best identified with the Predator and features in three films with the creature – PREDATOR, PREDATORS and ALIEN VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM. In PREDATORS, we learn exactly why the hunter so adores the jungle: the lush foliage of their hunting planet, on which the film’s human characters are dumped, is where the Predators cut their teeth, and so it’s terrain they’re very well used to when they venture off-world.
K – KNB EFX Group – Effects artists Robert Kurtzman, Gregory Nicotero and Howard Berger were all part of the creature effects department on PREDATOR, one of the earliest feature film projects for each of them. They founded KNB EFX Group together one year after the movie came out. More than 20 years later, KNB returns to the PREDATOR universe for PREDATORS, now leading the creature effects department on the movie.
L – Laser Target Designator – How do you know when a Predator has you in its sights? Three rather ominous laser lights, arranged in a triangle formation and centered on your heart, would be a good start. The Laser Target Designator built into a Predator’s bio mask is the ultimate tool for targeting prey, but in conjunction with the bio mask’s computer system can also be a helpful guide for distance and scale, too.
M – Minigun – The weapon of choice for Jesse Ventura’s Blain character in PREDATOR, which he nicknames ‘Ol’ Painless’, miniguns are usually mounted on the sides of helicopters and the one seen in the film had to be specially modified for handheld use. The firing rate was slowed down and an electrical cable ran up Ventura’s trouser leg to provide power.
N – NC-17 –
PREDATOR 2 became the one of the first films to be given the
newly-instituted NC-17 rating in America. Commonly considered to be
commercial suicide, mainstream multiplex cinemas generally refuse to
carry NC-17-rated films, deeming them inappropriate for their audiences.
The film was re-edited to secure an R rating, which meant it could be
O – Oleg Taktarov – The 42-year-old actor and
former UFC champion from the Soviet Union joins the cast of PREDATORS as
Nikolai, a bear-like Russian VDV Paratrooper. It’s the second time he’s
played a character called Nikolai, and also the second time he’s worked
with co-star Laurence Fishburne, having shared the screen with the
actor in 2007’s THE DEATH AND LIFE OF BOBBY Z.
P – Parrot
Gun – The nickname given by the first film’s sound editors to the
shoulder-mounted plasma caster worn by the Predators. It was so named
because when it moved to aim it reminded them of ‘Peter Sellers with a
rubber parrot on his shoulder.’
Q – Quarry – For the Predators
it’s all about the hunt, and their preferred quarry are the galaxy’s
most feared species’. That’s why they come to Earth; they know of
humanity’s penchant for war and destruction and find us to be worthy
sport. But we’re not the only ones, as a glimpse inside a Predator
trophy room will attest.
R – Rodriguez – Maverick Austin-based
filmmaker Robert Rodriguez joins the PREDATOR franchise as the producer
of PREDATORS. Asked by Fox to write a Predator sequel in 1994, Rodriguez
injected his script with everything he thought would look great,
knowing he’d not have to be responsible for budgeting or shooting the
film. That script provides the basis for PREDATORS, with Rodriguez now
responsible for budgeting and shooting his elaborate vision.
S – Silver –
Robert Rodriguez takes the reins as producer for this latest chapter in
the PREDATOR saga, but it was Hollywood uber-producer Joel Silver who
brought the first two films to the big screen. Amongst the other
much-loved action sagas Silver has reared are DIE HARD, LETHAL WEAPON
and THE MATRIX.
T – Troublemaker Studios – Established by Robert
Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan in 1991 as Los Hooligans Productions,
Troublemaker Studios is at the forefront of the Austin, Texas filmmaking
scene. The company calls Austin Studios its base and has produced every
one of Rodriguez’s films to date. PREDATORS is the first project for
the studio not to be, at least in part, directed by Rodriguez.
Ultraviolet – One of the frequencies of light the Predator can see
through its bio mask, ultraviolet vision is used by the creature to
track blood dropped by injured prey.
V – Val Verde – A country in
South America bordering Guatemala, it’s here that the Predator attacks
Dutch’s unit, even though the map we’re shown at the beginning of the
film is of Brazil. That’s because Val Verde doesn’t exist. Much like the
555 area code, Val Verde belongs to Hollywood, and has also been
featured in films like COMMANDO, SUPER CARRIER and DIE HARD 2.
W – Winston
– The world-renowned effects master Stan Winston created the
unforgettable design of the Predator. He was recommended by Arnold
Schwartzenegger who’d worked with him on THE TERMINATOR. Winston, who
died in 2008, was best known for his work on JURASSIC PARK, ALIENS, IRON
MAN and EDWARD SCISSORHANDS.
X – XenoPredator – When an Alien face-hugger
latches onto a dying Predator at the end of ALIEN VS PREDATOR, the
resulting hybrid which runs riot in the sequel is called a XenoPredator,
a portmanteau with the species name for the Aliens: Xenomorphs.
Y – Yakuza –
Japanese organized crime gangs, of which PREDATORS character Hanzo is a
member, boast some 87,000 active members in the country today, by far
the largest organized crime group in the world. Hugely steeped in
tradition, there are five principal Yakuza families and unlike
counterparts like the Italian mafia and Chinese triads they openly
display their existence to the world.
Z – Zimmerman – PREDATORS is
not the first film featuring the Yautja for Editor Dan Zimmerman. He
previously edited ALIENS VS PREDATOR: REQUIEM. His experience with genre
cinema is well documented, having cut such films as GALAXY QUEST, THE
OMEN and MAX PAYNE.