Appearances of van Damme
Predator, 1987
Directed by John McTiernan





In 1987, Jean-Claude Van Damme landed the gig as the monster in Predator but it quickly went sour when he incurred the legendary wrath of 'Uberproducer' Joel Silver.

By Van Damme's account, Silver fired him because he dared to speak out about a stunt that would have been unsafe in the cumbersome creature suit. True to Van Damme's screen form, he wraps up the episode of revenge-fantasy catharsis: another actor was brought in to do the stunt and busted his ankle, after which the costume was redesigned. ("That's obviously Jean-Claude making up stories," a spokesman for Silver Pictures said bemusedly, insisting there were no injuries, no safety lapses and only mininal "uncomfortableness" with the suit.)

But according to an interview with director John McTiernan, one appearance of the Predator was played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in a special effects suit. Van Damme quit after two days, apparently unhappy with being cast as an uncredited special effect. The alien was scrapped, redesigned and was eventually played by 7'2" Kevin Peter Hall, who sadly died in April 1991.


In March 2008, in an interview with Avclub.com Jean Claude told about Predator: 

"I was in that originally, it was obviously the first one. They did a cast of my body. My feet were in the cast of the alien. My hands were in the forearms, my head was in the neck. I was moving everything with cables. It was a very unsecure, very dangerous type of outfit. It didn't work for nobody. They put air conditioning into my back, because it was very hot in Mexico. So they did another outfit with a bigger guy, taller guy on the inside. So I was hired, then I was cancelled. But that helped for Bloodsport. It's a very funny story, because when I met Menahem Golan from Cannon, he heard about me playing the Predator, and he was very excited to sign me for Bloodsport. That helped me a lot. He didn't know I was an alien. He ain't going to see my face and my body. He thought I was the type of alien with a human face and body, where people would be able to recognize me. The studio gave me good money and helped me to stretch another year in Los Angeles."

 

Photos:






You can see Jean Claude in the background wearing the red suit and John mc Tiernan, the director of Predator in the front.




Shows the original miniature Predator design and in the background the clipboard for the Predator story. You can see van Damme´s face which is the replacement for the Predator. The design of the Predator was not ready while they were shooting the movie and so the scripted the van Dammes face onto the storyboard.





Shows Van Damme in the first Predator Suit. Michel Qissi, who also played in Bloodsport the fighter Juan Parades and Tong Po in Kickboxer, is the best friend of Van Damme, helps him to get into the suit.



Photos of Arnold: