Greg Nicotero on Predators
By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Greg Nicotero worked on the original Predator when he was with Stan Winston Studios. Now that his own company, KNB, is working on Predators, he is the latest authority on the alien hunter. He previewed one of the cool battle scenes in the new film during a presentation at the South by Southwest film festival.
Greg Nicotero on Predators
“There’s a particular battle scene where a couple Predators are fighting,” Nicotero said. “After the first take, these two Predators lock blades and one of the blades snaps. At the end of the take, we were sort of making sure that the guys in suits had air and could breathe and water and stuff. I see [director] Nimrod [Antal] walk out, he looks around, and he leans over and he picks up this broken Predator blade and puts it in his pocket. I thought it was such a great moment because I could tell he was like, ‘Okay, I’ve got to get back to my office because I have a Predator blade.’ He was so excited. I walked up, I said, ‘Nimrod, I would give that to you.’ ‘No, dude, it’s still dirty. This is actual battle worn down.’ That really told me volumes about the kind of guy that Nimrod is and the fact that he and Robert were so faithful to this franchise that they just wanted this movie to be absolutely fantastic and deliver on every level. So being faithful to the classic Predator lore but bring something new to the table.”
Even though there’s a Predator that looks exactly like 1987’s Predator in the film, all the Predators are new and improved models. “Everything was created from scratch. It’s not like you can pull a Predator head mold out of storage and run mandibles or something. When you look at this head, the dreadlocks, the jewelry, all the little spikes, everything had to be created from scratch. So it was a challenge. What people don’t think about when you watch a movie is there’s a hero head, then there’s a stunt head, then there’s a head that wears the helmet. So you have to do multiples of everything because each one has a different function.”
It required multiple actors to play each Predator too. “It’s funny because you really think about the guys who wore these suits, there were three actors, four actors if you count one of the stunt guys. There were four guys that wore these suits. Some were heroes, some of them were stunts. A lot of people didn’t realize that for the classic Predator, the guy has contact lenses in, he has this big head on with all the servos in it, he’s in a big suit, everything’s zipped up, he has the armor on. It’s difficult. The first day that we were shooting, there was a little space outside, this little mesh inside the back of the throat. The first day that we were shooting, one of the actors was sweating so much that the sweat was filling up inside the mask. There were a couple times he would turn and the sweat would just pour out. It was really cool. We put a tube in there for that, for the guy sweating. A lot of times like Nimrod was saying, he would be talking to the actors in the suits and then I would stand two feet away and have to relay everything. So you’d get to the point where it’s like, ‘Greg, tell him to turn to his left!’ And I’d go, ‘Turn to your left a little bit.’ So you’d literally have to relay all this information because these guys are in these really elaborate costumes. Then with the classic Predator, he had those contact lenses in. It was definitely a challenge for all of us.”
Each piece is built separately too. “It was weird too because when you sculpt a character like this, you have to make the mandibles all separate so when you’re looking at just a sculpture, it doesn’t have the mandibles and it doesn’t have all the dreadlocks on it, all of a sudden you need photos for these guys saying, ‘Hey, what do you think? There’s a Predator head.’ Oh, where’s the mouth? Where’s the hair? It’s a really weird process but we were just in such an accelerated prep time.”
Predators opens to theaters on July 7th.
For the trailer and more movie info, go to the Predators Movie Page.
Sources: Image property of 20th Century Fox
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