SXSW ’10: Full ‘Predators’ Report, Trailer SEEN, Rodriguez Talks!

Earlier this evening you got a look at a special behind-the-scenes clip, the teaser one sheet and a bit of concept art from Nimrod Antal’s Predators. While you were enjoying all of those goodies online, Bloody Disgusting was on hand in Austin, Texas at the special SXSW event where Robert Rodriguez introduced a clip and the trailer to a packed house of journalists. Below you can read David Harley’s full report that features all sorts of lil’ tid-bits from the Predator hunting planet. Predators arrives in theaters July 9.
After a disappointing sequel and two terrible versus movies, the only place the Predator franchise could go was up. This was the mindset I had when I first started to read Robert Rodriguez’s draft of Predators a few months back and, boy, it turned out to be the biggest step in the right direction I’d seen in quite some time. Rodriguez and Nimrod Antal’s take on the franchise is a sequel to the original film (a character references the Dutch storyline as a “ghost story”), not taking into account anything from Part 2 or the versus misfires, and is tonally similar as well, with strong horror aspects and a storyline that is heavily influenced by The Most Dangerous Game.

The Predators sneak peak at SXSW 2010 started off with Rodriguez coming out and briefly going over the history of the project. Back when Rodriguez was prepping Desperado for principal photography, Sony told him that they were going to hold off for a while since Last Action Hero had just come out – presumably, this is because they just lost a ton of money on the film. He then had some spare time and shot Roadracers and told his agent to look for some work for him. Fox ended up giving him a writing assignment to continue the Predator franchise, with Arnold in mind to star. When writing his original draft, he never took into account budget, feasibility of the shoot or anything; he just took every badass idea he had for the franchise and crammed it into one script. After negotiations fell through with Arnold, the project was pretty much dead until after the Alien Vs. Predator films came out. Fox found Rodriguez’s old draft and wanted to resurrect the project with him in the director’s chair. He decided to only come on as a producer (with a writing credit) since he was working on another film at that time and Nimrod Antal came on to helm the film.

Two versions of the teaser trailer and a clip from the movie were then shown. The trailer starts out in space, with a dissolve to a man falling from the sky down into a forest. All the human characters are then shown, which range from Yakuza to Black-Ops to a physician. The terrain seems to be mostly jungle, though there are shots in a desert-like setting on a mountain top horizon and a spacecraft or warehouse of some kind – cold and metallic in appearance, similar to the Alien films. Each character is shown moving through various scenery, pointing guns and generally looking frightened as hell, with a brief scene of the Predator’s famous red laser sighter intercut. Royce (Adrien Brody) is then shown saying “This planet is a game preserve and we’re the game.” Right afterward, there’s a night scene with him looking towards the camera with a laser sighter on him, which then multiplies to a little over 10 sighters in two seconds. What follows for the remainder of the trailer is very quick cuts of characters running, an unmasked Predator letting out a ferocious howl during what looks like a nighttime sandstorm and a Predator capturing a human – some of the trailer can be seen in the behind-the-scenes video that just went up today on the official site. It truly is a teaser in every sense of the word. The second trailer is almost identical, with only a few cuts being different. Rodriguez said that one trailer will probably be internet exclusive and the other will be attached to Repo Men next Friday.

The clip showed the group of humans right after they thought they shot at and killed something. Running into the jungle, they stop for a brief moment to chat about what just happened when something creeps behind Royce and holds him at gunpoint. The Predator de-cloaks off-screen and removes its mask, to reveal Noland (Laurence Fishburne). He tells the groups that they’re too loud and he could smell them from a distance and that if he can hear and smell them, so can “they”. The other characters seem to be frightened and in awe of Noland as he walks off-camera and they presumably follow.

What I had originally planned to do was video the Q & A but that was a big no-no, since they projected concept art on the screen behind them while Rodriguez, Antal and special guest Greg Nicotero answered questions. The concept art mostly showed the different Predators in the film and the planet’s inhabitants. The planet is not the Predator home world but instead a hunting planet that they drop prey onto – some of the film was shot in Hawaii, while the rest was done at Troublemaker Studios. In some of the art, the planet’s inhabitants looked very similar to the Thanator from Avatar, and in others it looked like a reptilian coyote – these are called Pred-Hounds. The Predators themselves were distinctly different and their appearance was designed with their hunting techniques in mind. One Predator, called the Falconer, uses a mechanical bird-like device (very H.R. Giger in appearance) to track game from above; another, dubbed Mr. Black, is very sleek looking, wears a dark costume and is basically the most bad-ass of the bunch; and then, of course, the classic Predator from the original film. There were a few others not directly addressed by Rodriguez, Antal and Nicotero but were shown as concept art, which included this hornet/bird creature, a feminine Predator and an Aqua-Predator, which resembled the Creature From The Black Lagoon and had a fin on its head. It was explained that the Predators are basically divided into two tribes: one is comprised of the traditional Predators, while the other is made up of the sleeker variety (was said to be like comparing dogs to wolves). A variety of masks were also shown, which most notably included one that had elephant-like tusks coming out of the front of it. And, just a random bit of trivia, James Cameron is apparently the person who helped Stan Winston come up with the mouth design for the Predator in the original film.

But the best news of the night had to be this little tidbit: NO CGI PREDATORS!