I had the pleasure of representing Lost in Reviews at the world premiere of Predators in Austin, Texas. This was my first red carpet event, so if I stumble a little in the video, it’s because I was truly nervous as heck.
It was a small red carpet right outside of the Paramount theatre. Not too many news outlets were there. It is really hot and humid in Austin and Dallas right now so everyone was sweating profusely, myself included.
I was able to interview Charlie Boswell (worked on the technology used, from AMD), editor Dan Zimmerman, producer Elizabeth Avellan, Spy Kids actor Daryl Sabara (who will be in Machete), director Nimrod Antal, writer Alex Litvak, producer/writer Robert Rodriguez, and actor Adrien Brody. I barely got to interview Adrien since the interviews before me were running long. Before Nimrod Antal got to me, he stripped off his suit jacket and commented that this might end up being a wet t-shirt contest. He did a great move during my interview, which I was able to get.
A big surprise was that Jeff Fahey from Lost showed up. I got some pictures but he really did not stop for interviews. He was still super tan from Hawaii and still rocking his long hair.
Having never been to a world premiere, the screening of Predators was a different experience than going to a screening. Adrien Brody, Nimrod Antal, and Robert Rodriguez introduced the movie. There were lots of applause when the movie started and applause throughout the movie whenever something happened that was good (read Kick Ass). Some of the crew were in attendance. During the credits, the crew would applaud and yell whenever their name or department rolled onto the screen.
There was a question and answer session after the movie with Adrien, Robert, and Nimrod again. There were no cameras or video cameras allowed into the theatre, so what I am about to write will be my recollection of what was said, not direct quotes. It does not help that I forgot my notepad and pen. This is not everything that was talked about. If anything is incorrect, I take full responsibility.
Robert explained how there was only one sequence in the movie that used green screen, the spaceship scene. Everything else was sets and locations (Texas and Hawaii). The predator game camp was actually in Robert’s driveway. The set was surrounded by train cars and the camp was in the middle. All of the predators were puppets or actors in body suits and masks. There is not one CGI predator in this movie. For this day and age, that is pretty impressive because everything is CGI now. Adrien said that it helps to have something to interact with as an actor, as opposed to talking to nothing or a guy in a green suit. Robert, Adrien, and Nimrod commented on the weirdness of being on set with these predators walking around, asking for the sports section of the newspaper, etc. The mandibles of the predators were worked remotely, not by the actors playing the predators. If the mandibles were being worked, then the actors could not hear very well at all. Nimrod forgot about this at one point, and had a predator bending down towards him, yelling “WHAT?” He was a little intimidated by the experience. At the beginning of filming, the predator suits were not as good as they should have been but they worked with what they had and filled in some things later.
(SPOILER) Nimrod talked about the character Isabelle played by Alice Braga. Originally, she was supposed to die at the end of the movie. The decision was made part way through filming to let her live. Nimrod felt like if she died, Royce (Adrien Brody’s character) would just be surrounded by so many mounds of death.
(SPOILER) Someone asked why Danny Trejo’s character, Cuchillo, was killed off so fast. The answer Robert gave was that he was needed on the other set for filming Machete. Robert then commented that Cuchillo was actually described in the script as someone who looks like Danny Trejo. Danny at some point got a hold of the script and told Robert “Hey man, I look like Danny Trejo.”
A young, scrawny man in the audience asked Adrien how a scrawny man like himself bulked up for the role. Adrien answered that you eat a whole chicken and four yams everyday and work out a lot. Adrien basically got the part of Royce about a week and a half before filming began. How did he get so big, so quick? Adrien said he was preparing before he got the role in the off chance that he did get the part. He said he was mentally and physically preparing starting a month before he got on set. Nimrod added that after Adrien stopped filming, Adrien went on a trip to India with his mom and drank the water. He and his mom got really sick. It took him a while to put on the weight for the role, but only 10 days to lose it all.
Nimrod said he was grateful to have Robert Rodriguez on the project because there was no way any studio would give $50 million dollars to a guy named Nimrod to make a movie.
Robert Rodriguez started working on the script for Predators in 1994/1995. He said the early versions of the script had a lot of “Get to the chopper!” moments in it. Predators was originally going to be another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but at some point Arnold said he did not want to do this movie. Instead of there just being one main character, they split the character into a group of characters with different backgrounds and skills. The predators bring the humans to the planet to train, learn, and be tested, so it would only make sense for every character to be from a different country and have different killing backgrounds.
An aspiring Texas actor asked Adrien whether he should move to LA to further his career. Robert Rodriguez commented that he is from Mexico and Nimrod Antal is from Budapest and they both made it. Adrien said that the actor should move to LA. He is from Queens, New York and he could not wait to get out of there. There are going to be opportunities wherever you are, but you will have more if you move to LA. Robert said that he tries to always hire local (Texas) talent in his projects because there are a lot of great actors here.
This was a great experience all around for me. Thank you to Steve Ortiz who took the pictures and the videos. Thank you to the Austin Film Society and Allied Integrated Marketing for having Lost in Reviews at this event.