The original Predator is one of the greatest action films of the 1980s and there are plenty of behind the scenes stories, the biggest one was that future action star Jean-Claude Van Damme was hired has a stunt man on the film and played an early version of the predator. JCVD would eventually leave the project and Stan Winston (with help from James Cameron) would redesign the creature for them. One of the biggest myths surrounding the film is that Jean-Claude left due to Bloodsport, the movie that launched his action film career.
Well, he spoke with TheHollywoodReporter and gave the real story behind his exit which sounded a lot like a safety issue that led to the new resign. It makes sense if you’ve seen footage of that first version it didn’t look terribly safe for actors in the suit.
Thanks to AVPGalaxy for transcribing the video.
“I came to the studio and they made me run around and I jump, and they say, ‘This guy can jump very high so yes, he’s in,’”
“I go to this place and they put me on sticks and woods and they start to melt all the cast on me, and it’s boiling hot. I like to breathe, you know? They’ve got to do my head and everything.”
“I’ve got my friend next to me and I said, ‘Man, I ain’t going to make it,’” he continues. “They put in my mouth a tube, and at that time I was just a stand guy. I was covered in that cast for at least 20 minutes.” They told him, “‘If you feel like you cannot breathe, just go like this with your finger [gestures with his finger] and I’ll put it away from you.” They wanted him to go five more minutes but he could not.
“My feet were in these casts. When Joel [Silver] asked me to jump, I knew it was going to be a bad one. I said, ‘This is impossible, Joel. I think we’re going to have a problem.’ Then he replaced me,” recalls the 58-year-old actor. “The guy who did my stunts, something bad happened to him and then they did the more safe outfit.”
“I was happy that I listened to my intuition.”
I think it’s safe to say we can thank JCVD having a role leading to Stan Winston/Cameron giving us the iconic look of the Predator that we know and love. Also, he surely isn’t too sad about leaving Predator as it led to his decades-long film career.
SOURCE: THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER