Stephen Hopkins’ Predator 2 may not have been released until November 1990, but it continued the precedent set in the original by casting several mainstays of 1980s genre cinema.
John McTiernan’s action classic boasted Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role, while the ensemble was filled out with several of the decade’s most macho men like Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Jesse Ventura. Not to mention Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the titular alien when it was a more insect-like creature, before the design was reworked from the ground up and the filmmakers settled on the iconic look that fans know and love.
The second outing may have boasted an entirely different cast and crew, but the 80s vibe was strong nonetheless with Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover taking over as the main character, and Gary Busey, Bill Paxton and Robert Davi also along for the ride. However, in a recent interview to celebrate the movie’s 30th anniversary, Hopkins revealed that Steven Seagal was desperate to headline Predator 2 at one point, explaining:
“Steven Seagal was on board, and I had to go have a meeting with him at his house, which was one of the craziest afternoons I’ve had, sort of to talk him out of doing it. It was a bizarre, he’s a very unusual, slightly twisted kind of guy, and in the end I couldn’t see myself doing it with him. It didn’t feel right. He wasn’t the kind of hero, I thought it would just turn into a cheesy, you know, it’s got plenty of cheese now, but it’s a kind of cool cheese, I think, as opposed to uncool cheese.”
By the time the sequel went into production in 1989, Seagal had only just made his feature film debut in Above the Law. Of course, the actor is a notoriously eccentric personality, and Hopkins went into detail about how the martial artist stated his case, but he wasn’t exactly a big fan of his work.
“He was desperate to do it. I went up to his house, he crushed my hand and he took me into a room where all the walls were covered with guns. He told me he wanted to play a CIA psychiatrist who is also a martial arts expert and carried a gun. I listened to him for a long time, and he was clearly a little crazy at the time. I said, ‘Oh, this is different from the way we were going, so I guess we shouldn’t do it’. Then he became really keen to do it, and he threw his arm around me on the way out and he said, ‘I want you to come to my ranch in Santa Barbara because I’ve got a grenade launching range there, so we can go and launch grenades together’. I said, ‘Yeah, great, we’ll do that’. But that didn’t happen. Sorry, I’m not a fan of his.”
Predator 2 was largely overlooked by audiences and dismissed by critics at the time, but over the intervening decades, the movie has gone on to become a firm cult favorite, and many fans debate whether Hopkins’ sci-fi actioner or Nimrod Antal’s Predators is the second best entry in the long-running franchise. Of course, Danny Glover did a solid job as Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, but the project would have been an entirely different proposition had Steven Seagal been involved.