Hey, hey, everyone,
This week, we’re talking about the badass action/sci-fi/horror movie, Predator! We also did a great interview with actor Bill Duke (Mac)!
You can read some of the interview below or if you want to hear the whole thing, click the play button below! We talk more about Predator, fighting Arnold in Commando, his directing career, being typecast, his recent projects Light Girls and Dark Girls and the Brazilian spider that is named after his character from Predator.
Also, check out Bill’s book “Dark Girls” on Amazon.
The interview starts at the 26:42 point of the show.
Dan & Nick
SUK: The main topic of our show today is Predator. It’s easily one of the best action films ever made and you played a character named Mac in it. Mac is one hell of a character. I mean, you threatened to bleed out Carl Weathers!
SUK: How did you approach this role in terms of how you wanted to play him?
BD: Well, I wanted him to be someone who was a serious soldier that was a dedicated member of the family of the team and totally committed to the job – which was taking out this creature that had done damage to other elements of our force – but was not prepared for the size of the task. We just thought the thing was a bunch of rebels that we had to take out. But that was just the beginning. I wanted to play someone who had the courage, but at the same time, was aware of his mortality in the face of this … Predator.
SUK: Right, you can totally see that. And I think one of the iconic scenes for your character is the one where you were shaving and the razor blade breaks off. And I think that really encompasses what you’re talking about. Was that in the script or did you add that in?
BD: No, I added that in. It was one thing to just show his commitment but at the same time, all of these guys know they are going into danger, whether it was rebels or whatever, there is no guarantee you are going to live.
I wanted to play someone who had the courage, but at the same time, was aware of his mortality in the face of this … Predator.
SUK: Another favorite scene of mine with you in it is when you take Blain’s mini gun and you’re just emptying it into the jungle. And you were one of the only people to get to injure the Predator. What scene did you enjoy doing the most?
BD: There were so many of them and that was one of them. But also, the one at night, when I am alone, talking to the sky about how I am going to bleed the Predator as soon as I catch him. I’m going to make him pay for it. Because it shows my caring for my partner Jesse and at the same time my commitment to taking this thing out.
SUK: That’s so great. Now the shoot itself was kind of difficult though. You guys were in Mexico and it was brutal conditions.
BD: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We’re talking about spiders. We’re talking snakes that with one bit could kill you. We’re talking about scorpions that bit certain of the actors. We’re talking about heat. And I’m not exaggerating, 102, 103 degrees. Humidity. And one of the things [Laughs] that is not funny but it is funny is that we’re in the middle of the jungle and in the mountains of Puerto Vallarta, you have to drive forty-five minutes from the hotel to this encampment. There is no railing and there is this cliff that you could fall down if you drive off it. And there is the side of the road to the left. So it’s a very careful drive. So the first few days, the craft service guy puts netting around the tent because he’s trying to keep all of the bugs out. So the first four days we get our food and everyday there are bugs in the food and we’d all say, “Hey! Take this crap back. What’s your problem? There’s bugs in the damn food.” But the fact of the matter is, he was doing his best and there was no more food. So on day five, we called the bugs “protein.”
SUK: [Laughter] Which is what the soldiers would have done too in that situation.
BD: [Laughter] It was real, you know? Another story that I was going to tell you and I don’t know if you know this because a lot of people don’t but maybe your audience does. The Predator you saw was not the original design. It was a much smaller beast. They wanted it to be much more ambidextrous and using lasers. So the stunt guy who was playing that part had to wear this felt suit covering his whole body in 100 or something degree weather. He had passed out two times going to the tree. And he’s in trees and on wires. So the second time Joel [Silver] went up to him and said, “Listen. I know you are doing your best but if you pass out again, I’m firing you.” And the stunt guy says, “Joel what are you talking about? I’m dehydrated.” So Joel says, “You are wasting time and money. You pass out again, you are getting fired.” So another week goes by and he’s flying through the trees, etcetera. The guy passes out. Joel goes up to him and says, “You’re fired.” That guy was Jean-Claude Van Damme.