No one has had a longer history with the Predator film series than Shane Black. In the summer of 1986, Black traveled to Mexico to play Rick Hawkins, a comic book-loving soldier who became the first victim in the 1987 film Predator.
After the blockbuster success of 2013’s Iron Man 3, which Black co-wrote and directed, Black started giving serious thought to the idea of revisiting, and reinventing, the Predator film series.
More than thirty years after portraying Rick Hawkins in the first Predator film, Black is awaiting the release of his latest directorial effort, The Predator, which Black co-wrote with longtime friend Fred Dekker.
Black says that his goal with The Predator was to recapture the excitement and suspense contained within the 1987 film while answering questions regarding the Predator creatures and their origin planet.
In this interview, Black describes the long journey he’s taken with the Predator film series, from actor to director, and explains what sets The Predator apart from the previous Predator sequels and spinoff films.
DG: What is it about the first Predator film that’s still so exciting, more than thirty years after the film’s release?
SB: The first Predator film was a zeitgeist film. Predator was pure pulp entertainment. Predator combined the alien movie craze, inspired by James Cameron’s Aliens, and the Rambo war movie craze. Predator also had mystery and tension. I think that Predator is the ultimate genre film.
DG: I read that, besides acting in Predator, you wanted to study the craft of filmmaking, with an eye towards eventually making your feature directorial debut. What did you learn, as a filmmaker, during the making of Predator?
SB: I saw how a director operated on the set of a feature film. I saw what actors did when they were filming and when they weren’t filming. I studied John [McTiernan] as he was lining up shots, and I also paid attention to the work he did when he wasn’t filming. At night, when he had free time, he would look around, study future filming locations, prepare a speech he wanted to deliver to the cast and crew. He was prepared for anything that might happen. This was all fresh to me.