While many will know Shane Black as the helmsman of irreverent action-comedies The Nice Guys and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, not to mention the MCU blockbuster Iron Man 3, the writer-director also has a few acting credits to his name, the first being in 1987’s Predator, where he had the privilege of being the first onscreen victim of the titular extra-terrestrial creature.
With Black’s next movie, The Predator, things are coming full circle, and fittingly enough, nostalgia may have played a role in bringing the filmmaker back to the franchise in a behind-the-camera capacity. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the writer of such fondly remembered ‘80s flicks as Lethal Weapon and The Monster Squad explained how he was looking to recapture the magic of that decade’s most thrilling releases.
“I think there was a bit of nostalgia involved. I remember standing in line in Westwood when I was in college and standing next to me was [The Predator co-writer] Fred Dekker as we waited to see the next sci-fi movie or whatnot. I thought that the ’80s was an interesting time. There are very few R-rated movies now, but there were plenty of R-rated thrillers back then. I started feeling old, I turned 56, I thought, ‘Jesus Christ, did it really go that fast?’ I thought, I just want to get back to that feeling of being a wide-eyed kid with my pal Fred. As silly as that sounds, I thought we could have some fun, it will be a lark. That’s how foolish I was. Because I thought, ‘Yeah, we can make a Predator movie, it will be a lark.’”
As you’d imagine, the process of making this sci-fi-horror actioner wasn’t exactly the walk in the park that Black expected, with the director stating the following:
“Well, a couple years later with visual effects coming in with dribs and drabs and scrambling, it’s like the most work we’ve ever done, but I like the idea of a movie that is a throwback to a time that the first movie captured so much — not just because I was there on set, but because it was a real defining movie, combining the Rambo craze of that era with the sci-fi Alien craze in a way that for some odd reason has endured for 30 years. I just thought that there was juice there. What is it that the Predator inspires in people that seems to be this perennial that booms every few years and just never goes away?”
We’ll find out if Black has managed to tap into this inspiration, or if this series should’ve gone away and stayed away, when The Predator lands in theaters on September 14th.