In Predator, Arnold Schwarzenegger almost battled Jean Claude Van Damme.
Two of the most iconic creature designs in the history of cinema were showcased in Alien and Predator, released eight years apart but sharing so much in common that the two franchises eventually crossed over in the form of two mash-up fight flicks. What else do the films have in common, aside from pitting a group of fun human characters up against a badass alien hunter?
Well, both have now-iconic monsters that originally looked WAY different.
The original Xenomorph design for Alien wasn’t exactly terrifying, nor would the titular villain in Predator likely have become a pop culture icon had the studio stuck with the original design that first made its way in front of cameras. As most know by now, a fresh-faced Jean Claude Van Damme was originally hired to play the beast in director John McTiernan’s Predator; and the costume at that time, before Stan Winston took over and Van Damme was replaced by the late Kevin Peter Hall, was an absolute abomination.
“It looked like a guy in a lizard suit with the head of a duck,” Arnold Schwarzenegger once described the original version of the Predator, which had a dog-like head and backward-bent, reptilian legs. The costume, briefly worn by Van Damme on set, was a total disaster, and production had to be halted while the creature was completely redesigned.
Thankfully, the new design was both badass and instantly iconic.
Effects artist Steve Johnson summed up the gist of the (hilarious) behind the scenes story in a video the Stan Winston School uploaded back in 2014. Check it out below, in honor of Predator‘s 30th anniversary!