As we’ve reported, Shane Black’s The Predator underwent final hour reshoots earlier this year, but as it turns out, Black tinkering with the film’s final act was only the tip of the iceberg in regards to its behind the scenes, post production issues. A report from Los Angeles Times today sheds light on a whole new issue, and it sounds like Black has some explaining to do.
According to the site, Black cast his friend Steven Wilder Striegel (47) in a brief role, “a three-page scene shared with actress Olivia Munn.” It was only after filming wrapped that Munn learned Striegel is a convicted sex offender, having plead guilty back in 2010 “after facing allegations that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old female into a sexual relationship via the internet.” In fact, it sounds like nobody was aware of Striegel’s past at the time, save for Black himself.
Last month, Munn approached 20th Century Fox with what she had learned, and to their credit, the studio swiftly edited Striegel out of the film.
As a spokesperson explained to LA Times, “Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel’s background when he was hired. We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.”
Black and Striegel are longtime friends, and Black has also cast him in both Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. According to Black, he’s just been trying to “help a friend.”
“I personally chose to help a friend,” Black said in a written statement to LA Times. “I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly. [Striegel was] caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous.”
As for Munn, she notes that she found it “both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production.” She added in her statement to LA Times, “I am relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film.”
Good on you, Fox.