It’s been three decades since the cult classic, Predator, premiered on the big screens, taking the world by storm. As most will recall, it chronicles the journey of a group of brawny Special Forces operatives, who venture into the dense South American jungles to rescue hostages, but instead end up encountering something beyond the ordinary. This science-fiction horror action film has stood the test of time, with its charm intact even decades after its release.

Credits for this timeless classic go to Arnold Schwarzenegger for his strong portrayal of Dutch, the leader of the Special Forces operatives’ group, to Stan Winston for those riveting special-effects, and to director, John McTiernan, for beautifully melding three different genres into a specimen of art.

The interview with McTiernan

As the movie celebrates its 30th anniversary, McTiernan got candid in an interview, answering questions about the movie, the cast, and shedding light on his thoughts on its entire journey and his experience.

The innocence of this monster movie attracted him to the project, which seemed to be loaded with fun, minus the cringe-worthy hateful things most monster movies are filled with. The fact that Arnold was being considered was like icing on the cake. He reveals that at the time when he got onboard, Arnold was yet to be roped in by the makers.

There was a special reason why Carl Weather had been cast.

McTiernan had envisioned that Arnold, being as competitive as he was, would observe and learn from Carl who possessed immense experience. This was the strategy McTiernan essentially employed for hiring as Arnold at that time was only a couple of movies old, and could have used someone to look up to, or rather, compete.

The makers were eager for Shane Black to be on the sets for re-writes, however for him the pull towards acting was stronger.

However, he did give out a lot of valuable inputs, which were intelligently used in the movie throughout. His effortless humor came in handy as a joke of his, which he had made in passing, was later inserted into the movie.

The Monster

He also recounts that Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally to be in the suit of the monster, but somehow things didn’t pan out.

They never shot anything with the actor, and his agent had tried to pile on the job on Jean-Claude, without comprehending the film or its concept. The work on Monster’s second version ensued in Los Angeles, and took a couple of months to be wrapped up. The mechanics of the monster suit were complicated, although worth it. Five kids had to work off the camera, operating the radio airplane of the different body parts of the monster. It was like a complex puppetry, where five puppeteers made one monster move.

He seems undecided on whether the legacy of the film has surprised him, commenting that ‘he doesn’t know’. He confesses that although the love people have shown has made him glad, their prime intention had never been to create a classic in particular.

Instead, they were just having fun. He explains that for him to place the movie in the breath of his career would be a futile exercise as he is not chronicling his journey, isn’t a commentator or historian of the same. He laments being invited to several meetings for monster movies which are mean to the core, due to which they miss out the entire point of making a monster movie; for the audience, going out to watch a movie is a source of recreation, when they simply want to have a good time.

If he could, he wouldn’t change a thing about the approach he adopted to making the movie. He is a staunch believer in making movie for the 14-year olds.