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A Set Visit to Predators: Part Two

Antal, Rodriguez and Avellan speak

While busily shooting Predators, director Nimrod Antal took several brief moments to stop by and talk with us about the movie.

Shock Till You Drop: You have really talented actors on this film as opposed to some other “Predator” movies that don’t always have the caliber of Oscar winning actors that you have. Could you talk a little bit about the cast?

Antal: Well, Robert Rodriguez my producer played a huge role in that and as we started pre-production up there were names that had been coming up. There were the typical choices that you’d expect in a film like this and we tried to go against the grain. We thought casting a physically – a Schwarzenegger-esque character would’ve done the original film a disservice and would’ve done this film a disservice because we’re not trying to remake or copy the original film. We’re trying to further that world and the story further. So casting Adrien and Alice – I told everybody early on, “I can make anybody look tough, what I can’t do is teach them how to act.” So it’s great to have very talented actors from the get go and it makes my job much easier.

Shock: Could you talk about maybe some of the action sequences and how much pre-vis you did? We know that it was very much, “Okay, we’re making the movie.” So could you talk about it?

Antal: Yeah, I storyboarded since I started making films, I’ve always storyboarded, so I’m generally very precise about that kind of stuff. We did do pre-vis as well and this is Jeff (?) my stunt coordinator. He helped me a lot with some of the more complicated and dynamic action scenes. We sat down and spoke through what our options were and what ideas that we all had. I would come with what I was hoping and he would come with reality and say, “Well, we can do it this way, but what about this way?” Generally his ideas were better than mine.

Shock: (Robert Rodriguez sneaks up behind Antal as the next question is jokingly asked.) Could you talk a little bit about working with Robert Rodriguez, what kind of a task master he is on set? We’ve heard that he can be very peevish when other people are directing and he’s not directly behind the controls. Is there any truth to that?

Antal: No, I am here because Robert gave me a chance and believed in me enough to give me this opportunity. So without him I wouldn’t be here, thank you. (Laughs) That said, he’s helped me a lot every time I have a concern with a scene or any questions. I’d always turn to him and he’s been a very big help for me. But, he’s been very gracious and he’s let me do my thing as well, so that meant a lot. He’s trusted me enough to let me dance so to speak, so I was lucky.

Shock: We’ve heard that some of the actors are sort of influenced by certain actors in the first “Predator” film. Could you talk a little bit about that?

Antal: There are nods either through dialogue or through shots, but we made a point to do it in a subtle enough fashion that new viewers to the series can appreciate it as a completely original thing, but the one’s who do know the old school film will have a smile on their face. But at the same time I say we’ve only done nods. We haven’t tried to recreate or re-do anything.

Shock: Any challenges so far?

Antal: Well, we have a very intense schedule and that’s one of the biggest challenges at the moment, but we’ve had spectacular timing in the film and I’m just not saying that right now to give you guys the PC answer. It really has been a very great, great experience for me and the cast has been lovely. So it’s been a blessing for me.

Shock: Robert’s known for putting out these very extensive DVDs. Are you doing anything already for that?

Antal: I’m just making the movie and then whenever they get to that I’ll help them in any way I can.

Shock: You guys are shooting on Genesis?

Antal: Yes.

Shock: So there’s a lot of digital options out there right now. What made you decide on a Genesis camera?

Antal: Well, I think as far as picture quality Genesis seemed to be what was strongest for us and I’d also like to mention, and this is very important, Gyula Pados, my DP, I had an opportunity to work with him on my first film and he is hands down the best DP you can find. He’s just an incredible talent and the Genesis looks like 35. It’s just beautifully lit, it’s very powerful. As you guys can probably see on this image, this is pretty dumbed down quality right there, but he’s just really superb. So between conversations with him and Robert, that’s how we landed on the Genesis.

Shock: Where was the decision to sort of abandon the three “Predator” movies and the franchise, or to not reference them at all?

Antal: It’s more so the last two films. Of course the first film is what we were working off of, but it was more so the “AVP” films that we’ve dismissed.

Shock: Not “Predator 2?”

Antal: Well, “Predator 2″ was, I think, closer to the original film than what the “AVP” films later became. So it was more the “AVP” films that we were dismissing and it was an aesthetic. It was based on the designs. They kept on getting bigger and bigger and longer and longer swords and blades and the weapons become slightly cartoonish by the end there. So we wanted to just kind of just bring it back. I think the best science fiction is grounded science fiction. It’s science fiction that you can believe and you buy into and I think as far as design and everything else, that’s what kept us grounded as well.

Shock: So just outta curiosity, was the character of Nolan sort of a redo or sort of originally intended as the Dutch role all fans had hoped for for a long time. Was he always conceived as a separate character?

Antal: He was always conceived as a separate character.

Shock: Is there any chance that Dutch might appear in the film?

Antal: No comment.

Shock: Could you talk about what the first days were like casting Adrien Brody? Everybody was surprised by the choice. It’s a great choice.

Antal: Yeah, ask him to take his shirt off, he’ll blow you guys away.

Shock: What were those first meetings like with him when you were talking to him about the project?

Antal: You know, he was very passionate about the project. He was very fond of the original film and I think a lot of people working on this film have been that for quite a while. I stood in line at Avco Theater on Wilshire opening night when I was 14 with my friends and I had the poster on my wall, so we were geeks. I have the action figures. I have the action figures.

Shock: Tonally speaking, I mean, you’ve got a number of sort of main characters here who are in and of themselves killers, various forms of killers. Is it difficult then as a director to sort of balance it so that the audience actually feels some connection to them and wants them to survive?

Antal: Yeah, I mean, if you meet Stans for instance, who’s a San Quentin convict, every time he opens his mouth he’s so endearing and the humor that they bring. I think we’ve been able to find different qualities in each character that helps us achieve that very thing. Much like in real life, you have great qualities in bad people sometimes and we’ve tried to concentrate on those qualities and find those moments that we can help the viewers connect with them.

Shock: Could you talk about doing so much practical and what CGI are you going to be using in this film?

Antal: Well, the Wookie always looks better than Jar-Jar, so that was kind of our mindset and the original film played in the jungle and we went to the jungle and we have guys – K.N.B. also did an outstanding job. When you guys see the suits and then the monsters, it’s pretty mind blowing. It’s really mind blowing. I kinda actually freaked out when I first saw our Berserker. So, props to K.N.B. And Greg Nicotero’s been really a wonderful support from day one.

Shock: Well, what CGI are you having to use for this film?

Antal: I don’t know if I’m at liberty to get into actual specifics. There’s minimal CG and 99 percent of it will just be enhancement of practicals. So for instance, one thing I know I could talk about, a blade extension, where we’re not having the blade actually fly out as a live prop. Things like that would be accentuated with CG.

Shock: The dogs?

Antal: Certain scenes within the dog sequence. There was a great puppet that K.N.B. built and we used a lot of that for close-ups and for the tight shots.

Shock: Do you have any thoughts about a sequel or continuing the franchise from here?

Antal: I just want to finish this off strong and hopefully the fans will love it and we’ll figure the rest out afterwards.

Shock: What are your plans for the music?

Antal: Well, right now as we’re cutting the film, we’re using the original “Predator” music, so we’re trying to stay as close to the tone and atmosphere as we can to that film though we don’t have a composer set up yet, but as far as an approach and a direction we’d like to stay true to that.

Shock: (We were told earlier that when a Predator blade broke off during filming, Nimrod casually walked over and put the broken blade in his pocket as a souvenir.) But when the two Predators were fighting each other there was a broken blade, we heard that you grabbed the broken blade on two different occasions.

Antal: (Laughs) Man.

Shock: I’m curious what the museum’s gonna look like, what the collection will look like in your place?

Antal: I am too. Tommy Tomlinson in props who’d worked on the original film is already kinda sick of me going, “What’s gonna happen with that?” Fortunately, the blade, no one saw the blade, or I thought no one saw the blade break off, so I have that in my closet right now. But, I even kept the mud on it.

Shock: One of the cool things about the original film is that people refer to it as a sci-fi film, but it’s really a survival film with an alien toward the end. How much or how little are you playing up this sorta sci-fi element versus just the characters survival of this?

Antal: Well, I think in any monster movie the more you can hide the monster and the more you can keep them back in the story, the better, and we’ve attempted to do something similar to that as far as the Predators go themselves. So it is a science fiction film, but staying true to the first film, it was about the build, and the suspension and the anticipation of what’s to come. We’ve relied on that.

Shock: How gory is the film going to be? Similar to the first film or beyond?

Antal: It’s going to be as tough as the first film and there’s gonna be one or two death sequences that are gonna be pretty – yeah, you guys are gonna be disturbed.

Shock: Coming off of “Armored,” were you excited to get to do sort of an out of this world kind of sci-fi thing?

Antal: Very much so, I mean, this was kinda my dream actually, to finally be given a chance to be building universes as opposed to working within a set, a realistic world, so it’s a blessing for me and I’m very excited to be given the chance.

Shock: So you’re saying a hard R?

Antal: A hard R.

Shock: The Arnold one-liners, you’re staying away from them?

Antal: As much as we can.

A little while later we were able to talk to Robert Rodriguez who not only wrote the script but was acting as a producer on “Predators” as well.

Shock Till You Drop: Can you talk about what you saw in Nim and what made you think he would be the best person to bring this to life?

Robert Rodriguez: I looked around for writers to come in and rewrite my script ’cause my original script was done in ’94 and I looked for directors. I hadn’t really produced before, so I was looking for someone that felt like a kindred spirit that would bring their own take on it, but that we’d speak a similar language and you just met him and he’s just a great guy and you could feel that he could be really great with crew and cast. The first movie I saw, “Armored,” where he had worked with a group of very singular actors and seemed to be able to bring them all together. So I knew that that was the kind of person I would need on this based on the script that I had – a lot of different actors and close knit and only seven or eight people, that it was gonna be stuck on this planet and every scene together. I knew he had the chops for that. Just personably, he just had a great vibe to him and you always have like, a leap of faith when you go into something like that, but you could just tell that it wasn’t gonna go wrong. (Laughs) I felt very comfortable with him. Then when we come to a stage where we’re doing artwork, different guys put up artwork, different takes on a creature or something, mentally I would look at it and go, “Well, that’s the one I would pick,” in my mind, then I would see him walk and look and he would go, “I like that one.” So I thought, “Okay, we’re kind of on the same, you know, taste wise it was very similar,” yet, he does his own thing. I go on the set and I see how he’s shooting something and I’m like, “Wow, that’s completely different from how I’d do it. I don’t think I woulda gotten that great shot.” (Laughs) It looks much better than the way things that I would’ve done.

Shock: How different is the movie originally from your treatment 10 years ago?

Rodriguez: It was more than that. Well, the main thing was that it was gonna be off-world, it was gonna take place on a Predator planet. I wanted it to kind of emulate the first movie and go back into a jungle setting, so I put it on a different planet. That was a different script completely because it had Dutch still in it, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character. So it was just more of the idea of these people coming onto a planet where there’s a lotta tension within the group and the title of “Predators” was to have a double meaning to where – are they the Predators or are the creatures the Predators? Even if there were no Predator creatures you have the idea that these humans would kill each other probably before the movie was over.

Shock: I’m trying to find a polite way to say this, 15 years ago when you had a chance, which I’m sure was a big geek moment as a writer to write a “Predator” movie and then the fire dies down from that and they go and they make say, lesser chapters, does it sort of sting as you see those and you go, “Oh, but I’ve got such a good take and it’s out there,” and then finally they have that sort of come back full circle to you. Can you talk about that experience?

Rodriguez: Yeah, I put it a different way, but what happened was, I was hired only as a writer back then, so “Desperado” had some time before it was gonna go and I told my agent, “You know what, I have several months off, could you see if there’s any writing assignment or things?” He goes, “Oh, Peter (?) over at Fox has an idea to do another “Predator” movie.” “Oh, ‘Predators,’ okay. I’ll call it ‘Predators’ kinda like Cameron did with ‘Aliens’ to ‘Alien.’” I took him this take and he said, “Yes.” I went and I wrote it, but that was it. I didn’t have to direct it, so knowing I wouldn’t have to direct it I wrote all kinds of stuff in it that was impossible to do. It was ’94, a lot of that technology didn’t even exist. I was like, “Hey, good luck figuring this out, you know, being on another planet with creatures.” Of course, they couldn’t quite go make that movie and then Arnold wasn’t interested in doing another “Predator” by the time they got around to it, so they went a different direction and did the “Alien vs. Predator” movies. Then, late last year or earlier this year probably I think it was, yeah, Fox came back and said, “We wanted to reboot the franchise. It’s such a classic character and we looked up your old script and we thought, ‘This is great, this is the way to go, you know, start it new with a fresh approach.’” So, suddenly that became my problem (Laughs) trying to figure out, “Oh no, now how am I gonna do all this?” But, the technology, a lot of it was possible, so it was good that the time had gone and they asked if I would direct it and I couldn’t. I was directing something else, but I said, “I would love to produce it here.” They came and saw “Troublemaker” and said, “Well, could you put it through your system with your people and hire writers and a director?” I thought that was great ’cause I did like a lotta the ideas that were in that script and I never really written an assignment before, so it did feel strange to kinda give the script away. I always did kinda like it, so it was really gratifying to have it come back and get to still be a part of it even though I’m not directing it, I still get to walk onto the set and see Predators and go join in the fun and feel like I’m getting to still be a part of the movie rather than just going and being made somewhere else.

Shock: As a producer, have you ever gone on the set at all and said, “We’re gonna do it this way?” You’ve never really produced before – could you talk about the dynamic for you?

Rodriguez: If I ever have any suggestions that I think might help I certainly give ‘em, but I didn’t. I’m not there to direct it and I know what it feels like as a director. You’re carrying the weight of the whole movie inside your head, so to come in and arbitrarily just say, “Hmm, what about blue instead of red?” You know, you don’t – that kinda messes up the whole puzzle. It’s like, “Wait, uh…” You have to kinda rethink it all. So I kinda know just having been a director how to support. That really wouldn’t be that helpful. So to come in and just say, “Well, this is how I would do it,” once you do it this way, you know?

Shock: Well, I sorta mean, you haven’t really produced before, but I am curious, are you on set every day sort of interacting? Like, could you just talk about how you’re involved on a day-to-day basis?

Rodriguez: No, I’m not there every day. I come in depending on what’s being shot. I mean, if it’s very director, actor driven, Nimrod takes the wheel on that. If I walk into the back lot and it’s shooting, my little back lot, my parking lot, I can walk in on the set and see what they’re doing and suggest some things. A lot of it is effects-wise because I’m the visual effects supervisor for my company that’s doing effects. So some of it, I will make suggestions on how to shoot something in order for us to have what we’ll need later in post ’cause Nimrod really hadn’t done anything with effects even though he seems to have caught on really quick. It kinda depends on the day to day. Today I was there a lot because the past couple days I’ve been there full blown ’cause Laurence (Fishburne) was there and I want to just soak that up. It was amazing to watch. Sometimes being a good director is just being a great audience, and so that goes with saying with producing.

Shock: You had to build an alien world from scratch and “Avatar’s” kinda come along and set the bar pretty high for that. Did that film affect anything you guys are doing?

Rodriguez: Well, I haven’t seen it. (Laughs) But, knowing that it was gonna be something – I knew this was gonna be more realism based because we’re using real locations and not going trying to do anything near what he was doing because I knew his was gonna be just fantastic in it’s own way. We just wanted to make ours as different from that as possible.

Shock: The practical effects versus CGI, we heard there’s a lot of practical in this movie, a lot of in-camera. What CGI are you planning or having to do for this film?

Rodriguez: It would be more enhancements and like, for the Predator dogs we do have practical versions and then we have some shots that you see it running on all fours that you could only do digital, but it’s really great to always have something built practical that you can match too that you can see what it looks like in the lighting, so it doesn’t have that fake CG feel, then just the traditional effects, the cloaking and updating those effects of how the Predator looks and moves within the frames.

Shock: Had you directed the film, do you think you would’ve done more CGI, or would you do more not?

Rodriguez: No, probably the same. I mean, that was just what was so great about seeing the original Predator was that you could tell it was really there on set. I think that’s why the character was so enduring too is that I could identify with it ’cause it’s very humanoid, you know, people want to be the Predator ’cause he walks around on two legs and two arms and it feels very human.

Shock: I heard after the first four days of filming you already cut a teaser trailer.

Rodriguez: Yeah, I do that in my movies. (Laughs) It’s to get the crew and the cast excited. I didn’t go so far as I did on like, “Desperado” and “Dust Till Dawn” and movies like that where I would already put blurbs in from critics, making it sound like it’s the greatest movie ever made. That really gets the crew going, “Well, oh, we’re already working on a classic.” But certainly we were out in Hawaii in the jungle and I just wanted to give people a sense that we’re working on something really special already from four days of footage we already have enough to get people really excited. All the actors are like, “Wow, I want to go see that movie now.” It really was great.

Shock: Was there any debate from doing this PG-13 versus R?

Rodriguez: Well, when they first brought me the script that I had it was my original script was very R, so I knew that they were fine with it being R. Part of the reason they gave them to me is I contain the budget in a way that – I think also something like “District 9″ helped show that R-rated sci-fi movies could be a viable business. Before, people just kinda shied away from thinking R might be the kiss of death and lose a lotta box office, but not really.

Shock: I am curious about the creative freedom that you’re being offered. I think we talked about this at Comic-Con, but how has it been working with the studio? Have they sorta said, “Here’s the budget and go have fun with it?” Could you talk about the interaction and how much freedom you’re having?

Rodriguez: Yeah, they’ve given us a lot of freedom to do it within the budget. They’re very happy with what we’ve done with it and they are obviously big Predator fans themselves. The executives that I’ve worked with are just huge Predator fans and that’s why they wanted to do this movie. They liked that we were making it down here just to sort of do our thing as fans. So, that was kind of fun about coming in and doing a reboot is everybody already has a common – it’s harder to do the first one ’cause no one quite knows what the movie is. Everybody knows what this movie should be. It should top all those other ones that we had before it and feel fresh, feel new for a new generation because of the character. It just is totally classic.

Shock: Do you think it’s presumptuous to sort of think about this as maybe the first in a series of new “Predator” movies, but I think “Aliens” provides a good example for “Alien,” great movie, “Aliens,” greater movie or at least another great movie. But then it gets “Alien 3,” “Alien 4,” not so good. So you go from the singular to the bigger and then sort of where you go from there, do you have thoughts or ideas of if the “Predator” franchise is to continue in this new path that you’re setting for it maybe what and where you’d need to go?

Rodriguez: Well, it suggests a lot of world that you could go and explore and the movie just touches on a few ideas where there’s a lotta story value in them where you can already imagine other pictures with different characters. It’s very rich in that way – what you see are just things like tastes of what the world could be. I don’t think it necessarily has to go down after that point. You know, you reboot “Batman” with “Batman Begins” and then you go with “The Dark Knight” and you can just keep going. So I think that when the world is that rich, you can do a lot with it, so it kinda depends on who’s doing it.

Shock: We’ve heard a lot about Nimrod being a huge fan. A lotta times when a lot of these franchises are from the 80′s, early 90′s, like “Die Hard” or “Aliens vs. Predator,” you hear the director’s a lotta times say they’re a huge fan. In many ways, when you see the film it kinda feels like a fan film with good production values like Guitar Hero filmmaking where they’re hitting the right beats.

Rodriguez: Right, right.

Shock: But they’re not adding anything unique to it. How is this gonna balance because there are a lot of references kinda to “Predator,” but what’s gonna be unique about this movie?

Rodriguez: Yeah, I was already hearing them overemphasize that there is a lot of throwbacks to the original movies. No, there’s not really at all ’cause I don’t care for those kinda movies where it feels like – you know, I don’t want to name any names – but you’re watching the movie and it’s like, they get to the best line of the movie and it’s the old movie, (Laughs) It’s like, “Is that all you got?” So it’s definitely nothing like that. We don’t want it to feel like that because there’s so much different about what is in this movie and his approach to it. He even sold me on how he was gonna approach it different from what I had had before. It was bold and it’s cool. So I liked it. It definitely doesn’t feel like, “Hey, this was great in the first one. Let’s just do this exact same thing.” It wasn’t that feel and that’s what I really appreciated about his vision about it. He was really trying. He was taking it as if it was the first movie. He’s doing his own first movie.

Shock: How close are the characters in the film to the ones that you originally created? Did you write this group?

Rodriguez: No, these characters are different. These are completely different characters. There are a couple that were similar. I have to go back and even look. I don’t know. It changes so many times. No, these are all pretty much different.

Shock: What was the idea, basing the same group of different bad-asses from earth taken?

Rodriguez: Yeah, but this one has more diversity. The writers that I brought in write like that and I liked this other script that they had written, “Medieval” – I think it’s called “Medieval” – and they brought this concept of the different characters coming from different paths on earth and dropped on at the same time on the planet.

Shock: You’ve done several 3-D films. Did you ever consider doing this in 3-D?

Rodriguez: We didn’t talk about doing this one in 3-D, no. It would have to be, logistically it would have to be done in a post process where they would make the 3-D and there wouldn’t have been enough time for release ’cause they need some time to do that. So knowing when we would start this and when they would release it, that was really not an option.

Shock: How much of the film is horror, and suspense and dread?

Rodriguez: A lot of that. That’s what Nimrod really brought to it was not just making this – it doesn’t feel like a sequel and then you go in and you’re just getting more and you’re just getting just sort of numbing stuff happening. It feels like you really fall in love with the characters and you almost should forget that it’s a “Predator” movie and you just want to follow these guys and think, “They’re gonna kill each other any moment,” and that, “Oh, that’s right.” There’s that other really cool element to this and you’re bring in the Predators and it’s like, “Oh, geez.” The stakes are really high.

Shock: As the producer are you reaching out to Arnold?

Rodriguez: I can’t say. Me and Arnie go way back. One time I was at a restaurant and he came in and I was wearing these chain wallets and he’s like, “Hey, what is this? Are you Conan with your Conan chains?” (Laughs) But we talked about doing stuff together before, but I can’t say anything for this ’cause then it would be disappointing if something [didn't happen].

Shock: Is there a sense of pressure? I mean, it feels like sometimes you get a movie like this where the rumor will get out that Schwarzenegger might do a cameo and then everyone’s like, “Yeah, that would be awesome. That would be great. Oh, he’s gonna do a cameo – will he or won’t he?” As that builds up, do you feel more and more pressure to like, “Okay, well now we gotta find a way to get him in there?”

Rodriguez: Yeah, well if you can’t make it happen, you can’t make it happen. If you can, it’s not like none of us were thinking about that ever, “Hey, wait a minute. That is a good idea. Maybe we should contact Arnold.” You know, that was always something since the first script when I wrote it not even knowing if he wanted to do a “Predator” movie, I wrote that script. They said, “Hey, write a script for Arnold and then maybe he’ll want to do it. We haven’t asked him yet.”

Shock: Could you talk a little bit about the tone? One of the things we talked about earlier is the fact that it maintains some sort of hardcore tone the entire time. It’s kind of difficult on the audience, but when you mix it with humor, or one-liners, could you talk a little bit about the path you guys are walking?

Rodriguez: Yeah, it’s a day to day thing. I mean, I would always get that whenever I made any movie, the way Bob Weinstein would say, “What’s the tone?” I’m like, that’s something I’m walking the line every day that you’re kinda watching. You don’t want it to get too jokey, you don’t want it to get too serious and some lines we would look at and go, “Hm, I don’t know how that’s gonna play.” Adrien Brody delivers it and it’s like, perfect, (Laughs) “Okay, perfect.” That’s the right tone. It gets it across. It doesn’t sound too funny or too serious and it will get a laugh because it comes from the character. It doesn’t feel like a line. All the actors are really good. We’ve got really great actors so he’d look at a line and they can already tell, “I don’t know, that might sound a little whiny,” (Laughs) and it’s really coming out terrific. Things that you didn’t think would work work really good, so it’s good to go a little bold ’cause you can always pull back and go, “Okay, that’s not happening. Let’s just not do it that way.” Nimrod’s got a real sensitive ear for that. He’s really good for that.

Shock: I’ll ask about the technology. You’re always doing stuff with special effects. Is there any sort of a boundary that you have reached, do you think, in special effects where you’re still trying to overcome something? Or, can you sort of take on any challenge and work your way through it?

Rodriguez: I don’t remember what it was – some years back it was evident that anything you could dream up you could actually go do and if it wasn’t available readily you could pretty much figure it out. I mean, when I did “Sin City,” to figure out how to do “Sin City” on a budget on that time schedule, I had to do “Spy Kids 3-D,” that was the first 3-D movie in 20 years or whatever and the first one on HD for theatrical release. I mean, I had to pay for the glasses. The studio is, “We don’t even want a 3-D movie. That was your idea.” (Laughs) So, “Oh, it’s gonna be cool, we promise.” You had to figure out how that technology was gonna work and I had to do it within six months. We started shooting the end of January, it was out by July. So that’s when I knew if you have an idea, you can pretty much figure out how to do anything, so it became less about the technology and, “Can you do it,” to, “Okay, now what can we do? What’s a really good idea?” So now everything’s really just more ideas and idea based and story and character because visually you can kind do anything you come up with, so once you can do anything, you gotta be very responsible and what is it that you actually do.

Shock: And now that Nimrod’s directing the movie, can we expect a “10 Minute Cooking School” on the DVD?

Rodriguez: Yes.

Shock: Any ideas?

Rodriguez: I’m only producing that one, no. You’ll have to wait and see who actually does the cooking, it’s pretty cool.

Shock: Anything new on the Blu-Ray?

Rodriguez: On the Blu-Ray? There’s something we’re working on, I can’t say what it is, it’s special though to kinda promote it. I can’t say it. (Laughs) I don’t know, it’s no fun when you don’t say anything, but I just can’t. I know they want to do their own press release about it. I can’t rob them of that. That’s it.

Concluding our crew interviews, we spoke with Robert’s long-time producing partner Elizabeth Avellan:

Shock Till You Drop: As the producer, what are you most excited for audiences to see in this film?

Avellan: You know, I think the new take on this movie. I think it’s unique enough and different enough. We haven’t seen those creatures except fighting aliens and “Aliens vs. Predators” lately. This is more mysterious. It’s a genre movie in that way with the monsters and the thing and the excitement, but also it’s a movie that has real actors that are doing an amazing job of creating a mood and creating a suspense that in these movies sometimes nowadays it’s like they show you everything, even in the trailer. You know the movie in the trailer. So, I think that’s what’s fun about it as a producer for me.

Shock: Just to clarify, this planet that they are on is not the Predator home world, correct?

Avellan: Correct, it’s a hunting planet.

Shock: After designing this planet and these Predators and it might be presumptuous to think that there might be more movies, are you thinking about what that home world might look like, or sort of how these Predators work off planet?

Avellan: I hadn’t thought about that. (Laughs) I don’t even know. We’ll see what happens with the movie. I haven’t thought about it, maybe Robert and Nimrod have talked about that stuff. I hadn’t really given it much thought in that manner, but I think that it’d be interesting if there was another one that addressed that. The concept of, you know, that hunting preserve is just kind of crazy and fun and you can throw anything in there almost. So it makes it exciting, yeah. So sorry. (Laughs)

Shock: We’ve heard this is gonna be a hard R. Are you expecting any battles with the rating board from what you’ve been seeing from the dailies?

Avellan: You know, you always have your battles. They don’t like to see a lot of blood. It’s weird, in “Dust Till Dawn” we thought we were gonna have the biggest battle of our lives and because the blood was green they didn’t care. (Laughs) So it’s the weirdest thing, you know? They really hadn’t – so you never know. I mean, it’s a very strange world, and what ends up bothering them, you don’t even think is something that should bother them. We always work with them well. You do what you gotta do, but it is gonna be R, so we don’t have to bring it down to a PG-13. So you can get away with a lot more.

Shock: What do you think is unique and groundbreaking for this version of “Predator?” Will audiences be like, “Wow, that’s really cool?”

Avellan: You know, I think for me personally – I mean, nowadays you get away with so much with visual effects. We’re doing a lot of practical in this one which I think brings it back to a more organic sort of film. I think that the look of it, grabbing property that is so beloved is like, kind of got, started, you know, a little bit of throwaways, exactly. To bring it back and to make it really back to that mysteriousness and that thing that you’re like, “Ah, what’s gonna happen? I don’t know what this this.” The actors basically falling from the sky, their characters, and they don’t know what’s going on. I think that grabs you immediately. I mean, when I read the first script it just grabbed me. I was like, “Oh my god, what would it feel like if out of nowhere you get dropped into some place you don’t – and you don’t know these people, you know?”

Shock: It’s more relatable then?

Avellan: Yes, I thought so, to the normal person. For me, as a movie watcher and a person who loves film, yeah.

Shock: Robert’s talked a little bit about producing more possibly. Are there projects that you think that Troublemaker is getting close to say, producing?

Avellan: Oh yeah, yeah. We definitely have a lot. Robert is always writing stuff. He has 10 scripts going at the same time, just general, if he has an idea he’ll jot it down, jot it down. He never stops thinking about ideas and I mean, he’ll be in the car – now he has the iPhone so he’s talking the ideas into the iPhone and then writing them down. So, I mean, we just hadn’t gone the route of producing for somebody else, you know, somebody, to really bring them into the Troublemaker system and have them do it and it’s worked out really well with Nimrod Antal, so I think we’ll be doing a lot more of that. Robert and I are only – we can produce movies, but Robert can only direct so many movies a year and really be able to do quality. So this is kinda fun for us ’cause it still has the flavor, but it has a new perspective and that’s been exciting.

Source: Scott Chitwood