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Updated: The Hunts Not Taken, An Interview With Predators Screenwriter Alex Litvak – AvP Galaxy Podcast #114

We have just uploaded the 114th episode of the Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast (right-click and save as to download)! Corporal Hicks and RidgeTop are joined by a very special guest who was responsible for bringing Predators into existence – Mr Alex Litvak! Alex was one of the two screenwriters who wrote Predators!

 The Hunts Not Taken, An Interview With Predators Screenwriter Alex Litvak - AvP Galaxy Podcast #114

Alex Litvak poses with a Predator statue at long time Predator film producer John Davis’ office!

It’s a very open and honest interview in which Alex walks us through his attempts to revive Predator years before Predators while he was an executive at Fox, how wildly different his and Mike Finch’s very first draft of Predators was, how he was nearly shot while in Austin, how King Leonidas very nearly fought the Predators, where Alex had envisioned a sequel to Predators going, and plenty more!

At one point Alex mentions some short featurettes with the actors talking about their character backstory. These can be found on the home releases of Predators.

What did you think of our latest episode? Be sure to let us know down below! You can also listen to any of our previous episodes in the Podcast section under the News tab on the main menu. The Alien vs. Predator Galaxy Podcast is also available via iTunesPodBean, GooglePlay Stitcher, and Spotify! Please be sure to leave a review on whichever platform you’re using!

And if you’d rather see our beautiful faces, the video version of the podcast is now available on YouTube!

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Comments: 39
  1. Voodoo Magic
    I would also have been down with that casting. She was great in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which even just in general was way better than it had any right to be.

    Yeah she really classed up the material for sure!

    I think Butler would have a been a good choice and probably would have driven sales more. However I loved Adrien Brody as Royce so I'm cool with it.

    I think Butler is another one who would have lifted the material, but even if one still prefers Brody, the addition of Butler and his draw probably would have at least gotten us that sequel.

    Where's my DeLorean.
  2. Kailem
    Great podcast guys!

    I love hearing about stuff like this, the original or alternate stories we never got to see (hell I just read the Dark Horse comic version of William Gibson's Alien 3 a few nights ago), so this was great hearing about all the different pitches and versions of the story they went through.

    The one with Dutch is reminiscent of the idea the Thomas brothers mention on the Predator 2 Blu-ray about another Predator coming to Earth specifically to hunt him, but this one's a bit more fleshed-out and I really like the idea of it taking place in an ocean-type environment. A mountainous region would be cool too, but the notion of a group of Predator stalking Dutch and a bunch of others around a submarine or an aircraft carrier or something could have been really cool and different.

    I like the idea of multiple hunting parties all converging on a planet that's about to be destroyed too. That one could have been pretty cool too just from the standpoint of tracking multiple groups who all ultimately come together, all the while with that ticking clock in the background.

    It's understandable that they wanted the movie scaled down from some of the "Predator clan war" stuff he describes too, which I feel like could have gone either way if we'd actually have seen it. It could have been cool, but it also could have just been a bunch of Predators running in to each other with nothing seeming particularly "Predatory" about the fighting. But I liked the sound of having an almost Ahab-like Predator who communicates very sparingly. It sounded like he had a good handle on exactly how much of that sort of stuff it would have been good to show.

    I can totally see why they wanted Gerard Butler to star in it too. He was definitely at his height as a sort of mid-tier action movie star around that time. And I can certainly see him in the role. But ultimately I thought Adrian Brody did a great job, and it was very interesting to hear how he was actually cast, so I'm glad it turned out the way it did (Royce for Hunting Grounds DLC when?!).

    The idea for Predators 2 sounds awesome, it's such a shame we never got to see it. "Die Hard on a Predator ship" could have been a great concept, and I like the idea of Royce and Isabelle inducting new arrivals into their group and getting them up to speed fast. Basically the more proactive and helpful, non-asshole versions of Noland.

    And I totally would have geeked out like crazy at that ending too! :D The original AVP comic was one of the very first Alien and Predator things I ever experienced, so I've always loved the concept and to me their universes have always been linked. So having them be brought together like that in a movie where there was absolutely no inkling of it until that moment would have been awesome.

    And I guess it's not too surprising given the earlier "black blood" drafts that the Super Predators were indeed intended to be genetic upgrades. I don't think I would have had as much of a problem with it if they'd made it official in Predators 2 as I did with how they handled it in The Predator since they made it very clear within the movie itself that they were a separate group from the classic Preds (and I also really liked their designs), but since the movie never got made and Predators leaves it ambiguous I think I'll just stick to imagining them as a different sub-species or whatever. :laugh:

    So yeah great job with this one, it was super cool to listen to!
  3. Highland
    Great pod , enjoyed this one. I'll be switching Predators on tonight. It's definitely getting better and better with age.

    I really liked some of the alternate script ideas they had as well , like the large battle and the team up.
  4. Wysps
    I'm definitely biased, but I was happy with the casting choice of Royce  :)  He turned out to be a great middle ground between Dutch and Harrigan: muscular, yet lean.  Having another overtly muscular main character would have suited the movie for sure, but I appreciated the different angle!

    But despite that, I think that having Butler could have helped drive sales.  Especially at that time, I'm sure people would have come out in droves just to see him alone.
  5. Lost_Hunter
    Great Podcast guys, well done! Some cool ideas. As much as I want to see a full on Pred battle, let’s focus on a proper 1 on 1 first. The fights in Guyver had both actors who couldn’t see cause of the suits and they still pulled off a good fight. Cheese but it worked. As far as a human leading a Predator charge, absolutely not.
  6. Voodoo Magic
    Ha, we probably don't want this to turn this thread into a pissing contest between Predator 2 and Predators. The comments have been commented on. Moving on.  :)

    Ha. The Super angle was clearly Alex's intent with them. I suppose my problem with the Super stuff has always been it being used as a detraction from the film, when they weren't in the finished film. Would have been interesting to see the cultural differences be given some focus so it was clear not everyone was practicing that kind of thing.

    A taste of distinct cultural differences between clans would have been fun. The modification is fun too as long as it's not overboard. I can imagine a scene of Super Predators hi-tech injecting themselves right before the hunt, roaring, viens mildly glowing, and experiencing a bit of roid rage like Mr. Black punching a small tree off its trunk before they run off. To me, a scene like that would have been so, so cool. 8)


    Quote
    I still stand by Brody as Royce, but it certainly would have been interesting! I can imagine Butler would have had a lot of draw back then!

    Right? Wouldn't it have been worth the 5 Million? You got to think Butler would have garnered more viewership and excitement, at least 10 Million worth as Seattle24 said. Signing Butler had to at least pay for itself, if not more. It seems like lunacy not to have done it.
  7. Master
    No gauntlet thrown. I just think it's been made too big a deal of. You threw out even smaller sample size on here when compared to the generally accepted aggregators. The comment is not even a footnote in an hour plus conversation and quite clearly his opinion. It's not as if he's vehemently disagreeing with people or Adam about Predator 2 being good. It's not one of those Facebook discussions where people don't recognize they're having opinions, no absolution declarations. Again, I disagree with him on it as I enjoy both Predator 2 and Predators, but it's not worth getting annoyed over.

    I'm not getting annoyed brother! Darn, all those smiley faces and it still didn't convey my lightheartedness?  I found engaging this conversation enjoyable!

    And hey, don't tease, those polls is the best I can do in regards to fan metrics! :laugh: At least one of them had 734 votes!

    To rub you the right way, Filmweb - Polish site, second bigest movie database after IMDB, rates Predator 2 6,5 and Predators 6,1.
  8. Voodoo Magic
    No gauntlet thrown. I just think it's been made too big a deal of. You threw out even smaller sample size on here when compared to the generally accepted aggregators. The comment is not even a footnote in an hour plus conversation and quite clearly his opinion. It's not as if he's vehemently disagreeing with people or Adam about Predator 2 being good. It's not one of those Facebook discussions where people don't recognize they're having opinions, no absolution declarations. Again, I disagree with him on it as I enjoy both Predator 2 and Predators, but it's not worth getting annoyed over.

    I'm not getting annoyed brother! Darn, all those smiley faces and it still didn't convey my lightheartedness?  I found engaging this conversation enjoyable!

    And hey, don't tease, those polls is the best I can do in regards to fan metrics! :laugh: At least one of them had 734 votes!
  9. Corporal Hicks
    No gauntlet thrown. I just think it's been made too big a deal of. You threw out even smaller sample size on here when compared to the generally accepted aggregators. The comment is not even a footnote in an hour plus conversation and quite clearly his opinion. It's not as if he's vehemently disagreeing with myself or Adam about Predator 2 being good. It's not one of those Facebook discussions where people don't recognize they're having opinions, not absolution declarations. Again, I disagree with him on it as I enjoy both Predator 2 and Predators, but it's not worth getting annoyed over.
  10. Voodoo Magic
    I did think of you when it was made clear Alex didn't enjoy P2. But also got to remember that while here we might really like P2, judging from IMDB and RT, Ps is liked more than P2 by critics and the general public. I remember early days internet fandom (talking 2000) and everyone used to trash the hell out of P2. I don't agree with it. I love P2 and Ps, but it's not a universally loved film.

    Ah, my good friend has thrown the proverbial guantlet!  Challenged accepted! ;D

    I didn't suggest Predator 2 was a "universally loved film". Neither Predator 2 nor Predators is. Neither are considered "T2", or to compare closer to home, "Aliens". But I did state with backup that in regards to "fan opinion" Predator 2 is held in higher regard, and that remains the case.

    I don't think it would rub anyone the wrong way if Alex said "I think Predator 2 sucks. I hated it."  But when someone makes a more declarative statement in regards to Predators stating it's the only movie outside the original that doesn't entirely suck, and your film is not Aliens quality nor generally held as the second best film in the franchise, fandom will raise a hand. :)

    In regards to metrics, unfortunately it's not an apples to apples case.  Much of the problem is "Predator 2" was released before the internet age, where the production occurred even before IMDB's infancy existed or Rotten Tomatoes was created, while "Predators" did, equalling a much smaller sample size and not very reflective of today's audiences. I mean 2010s Predators has 200 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Predator 2 has only 28 total reviews with some reprints from the 90s, only 6 reviews after 2010, and nowhere even enough for a consensus these days. And as we know, the movie is aging very well, made evident most recently by Chris Stuckmann's review last week where he, not sure why, once felt P2 was bad, then a guilty pleasure, then came to realize Predator 2 is a good movie: B-.

    IMDB is probably fairer guage than Rotten Tomatoes for outside the fandom even though Predator 2 has received 25% less votes, where they both rank 6.3 and 6.4 respectively. And looking at that, nothing screams to me where one or the other is "The only movie outside the original that doesn't entirely suck"

    Cheers!  :)
  11. Corporal Hicks
    A bigger difference on RT. But again, that's general public, not fandom. Personally, I think it's a moot point. He doesn't like Predator 2, a lot of people haven't and don't. He's entitled to that opinion.
  12. 426Buddy
    When I check IMBD Predator 2 has. 6.3 and Predators is a 6.4.  Not much difference there.

    Also when you consider the original is only a 7.8 on IMBD  you realize their scores mean nothing.
  13. Corporal Hicks
    Oh, I was wondering where is it yesterday ;)

    I'd noticed something I needed to fix and re-export and it wasn't finished uploading by the time I'd already announced the release time. But we got there!

    Great podcast Hicks & RidgeTop!

    And thanks to Alex for doing it. The fans really appreciate it Alex!!

    Thanks, Voodoo. Was a fun one! I had originally approached him last year about this one, but ended up in his spam box, so was fun to get a response from him! A big thanks to Alex for this one!

    Quote
    I loved listening to Alex's stories in the USSR. It took me back to the world we lived in back then.

    Easily the most interesting story we've had of a first viewing!

    Quote
    It was fun listening to all of Alex's ideas for Predators and its sequel. I wished some of that had been realized, but alas, the budgetary demands would have likely been too high for the property.

    Yeah, it was a shame this one was intended to be done on the cheap. I still stand by Predators so much for the time and money it was made on. Some really interesting alternative ideas here too.

    Quote
    I personally enjoyed hearing Hicks call the baddies "Super Predators" and not Beserkers.  ;D  Poor RidgeTop has been always rooting for the subspecies angle too. But Alex called them "upgrades" enough to pound it in my head that they are indeed Super Predators and practice body enhancement like Alex said... "steroids". And I for one am good with that.

    Ha. The Super angle was clearly Alex's intent with them. I suppose my problem with the Super stuff has always been it being used as a detraction from the film, when they weren't in the finished film. Would have been interesting to see the cultural differences be given some focus so it was clear not everyone was practicing that kind of thing.

    Quote
    I feel like there was some unfortunate stepping on "Predator 2" to lift up "Predators".

    I did think of you when it was made clear Alex didn't enjoy P2. But also got to remember that while here we might really like P2, judging from IMDB and RT, Ps is liked more than P2 by critics and the general public. I remember early days internet fandom (talking 2000) and everyone used to trash the hell out of P2. I don't agree with it. I love P2 and Ps, but it's not a universally loved film.

    Quote
    Gerald Butler in his prime four years after 300 as Royce??

    Adrien Brody as Edwin?

    Oh my lord, can I visit an alternate universe where that happened? Wow! It is such better casting in my opinion. Gerald wanted to do it!  Why couldn't Fox just pay him the 5 Million!  Arrrgh! This one is going to eat me up inside!! :'(

    I still stand by Brody as Royce, but it certainly would have been interesting! I can imagine Butler would have had a lot of draw back then! 

    Quote
    I'm happy Predators is part of our Predator universe!

    Me too. 100%. I've always loved the film since the first time I saw it.

    Thanks Voodoo i totally agree. I heard those comments and I was pissed 😡. He shouldn’t shit on other movies to make his look good. It ain’t.

    Again, general public opinion would seem to indicate it is more enjoyed than P2. Alex's opinion seems to align with that. P2 being trash has never been an opinion I've agreed with myself, but I thoroughly enjoy both of the sequels.

    Great interview. I always thought the Nimrod was pretty good but this is even better for getting to the nitty gritty of Predators and how it came about. So many new things in there we've not heard of. Writers make the best interviews.

    I think I'm going to have to listen to it again to properly digest it.

    Thanks D! I really dug how deep Alex got with his involvement! Really really fascinating chat! Be a good one to get transcribed too. Lots of previously unheard of details in this one!

    Excellent interview.  What a wealth of information, and he just kept offering more details, unsolicited!  Really appreciated his candidness when talking about how he wanted to take the movie farther, but also understanding the reasoning for scaling back.  I found it pretty funny that his first viewing of Predator was in some shabby room with folding chairs on a small screen  :laugh:  And his referencing the original film as "machismo poetry".

    I'd been chatting to him a bit before we actually did the recording and I knew it was going to be interesting from how much he had to say about the development! So glad it came out in the finished episode! This side of the behind-the-scenes is what I find most fascinating so was just really interesting to hear all these could-have-beens!

    Quote
    One thing I wish they would have kept were the "lines" and mannerisms that, as Alex said, would have helped the audience appreciate the sentience of the Predator (Classic, in this case.)  I think that could have been reminiscent of the Galgo/Ahab relationship, but obviously not to that degree.  But I suppose that would have required the Classic to stick around longer than what was later planned and executed.  Hoping for something like this in a future film. 

    I think AvP soured me on team-ups for a long time because I never felt Lex earned it in that. But I absolutely love Galgo and Ahab's dynamic so something like that, and something earned would be something I'd really love to see!

    Quote
    The Braveheart-style Predator battle scene between the two clans – as much as that would have been interesting to see, I do tend to agree that having the human struggle maintain that focal point in the story would have been probably for the best.  I just can’t envision any human leading a Predator into battle, and a whole clan no less. 

    I think my only reservation would have been Royce taking such a focal point in starting the bit battle, but I'd have loved to have seen a much larger scale conflict. Both Predators and The Predator didn't play into the Predator-on-Predator in a big enough way for it to have been truly satisfying yet.

    Quote
    “Welcome to the Resistance”  :'(  This just makes me want a sequel to Predators even more. You can tell he is so proud of and committed to this world.  I think the continuation would have been in such good hands.   

    That would have been really interesting to see! I still think a straight Colonial Marines vs. Predator would be amazing, but I think that bombshell would have been amazing! The Die Hard on a ship sounds fantastic just on its own. But Alex clearly loved the series. Definitely felt that.
  14. Wysps
    Excellent interview.  What a wealth of information, and he just kept offering more details, unsolicited!  Really appreciated his candidness when talking about how he wanted to take the movie farther, but also understanding the reasoning for scaling back.  I found it pretty funny that his first viewing of Predator was in some shabby room with folding chairs on a small screen  :laugh:  And his referencing the original film as "machismo poetry".

    One thing I wish they would have kept were the "lines" and mannerisms that, as Alex said, would have helped the audience appreciate the sentience of the Predator (Classic, in this case.)  I think that could have been reminiscent of the Galgo/Ahab relationship, but obviously not to that degree.  But I suppose that would have required the Classic to stick around longer than what was later planned and executed.  Hoping for something like this in a future film. 

    The Braveheart-style Predator battle scene between the two clans – as much as that would have been interesting to see, I do tend to agree that having the human struggle maintain that focal point in the story would have been probably for the best.  I just can’t envision any human leading a Predator into battle, and a whole clan no less. 

    “Welcome to the Resistance”  :'(  This just makes me want a sequel to Predators even more. You can tell he is so proud of and committed to this world.  I think the continuation would have been in such good hands.   

    (Also, did anyone else catch Alex referring to the River Ghost as a stinkbug?? lol)
  15. Darkness
    Great interview. I always thought the Nimrod was pretty good but this is even better for getting to the nitty gritty of Predators and how it came about. So many new things in there we've not heard of. Writers make the best interviews.

    I think I'm going to have to listen to it again to properly digest it.
  16. Voodoo Magic
    Great podcast Hicks & RidgeTop!

    And thanks to Alex for doing it. The fans really appreciate it Alex!!

    A few thoughts:

    I loved listening to Alex's stories in the USSR. It took me back to the world we lived in back then.

    It was fun listening to all of Alex's ideas for Predators and its sequel. I wished some of that had been realized, but alas, the budgetary demands would have likely been too high for the property.

    I personally enjoyed hearing Hicks call the baddies "Super Predators" and not Beserkers.  ;D  Poor RidgeTop has been always rooting for the subspecies angle too. But Alex called them "upgrades" enough to pound it in my head that they are indeed Super Predators and practice body enhancement like Alex said... "steroids". And I for one am good with that.

    Good to hear Alex call the retread criticisms both "unfair" and "fair" a few times. I was expecting it to be entirely dismissed so I was pleasantly surprised.

    I feel like there was some unfortunate stepping on "Predator 2" to lift up "Predators". A couple quotes I'll comment on:

    Quote
    "The only movie outside the original that doesn't entirely suck"

    As you'll see by these linked polls Alex, fan opinion doesn't quite line up with these thoughts in regards to Predator 2:

    https://www.avpgalaxy.net/forum/index.php?topic=5.0

    https://www.avpgalaxy.net/forum/index.php?topic=61072.0

    Quote
    That's my problem with Predator 2. It doesn't build. It's more of the same.

    Predator 2 built on so much in 1990. We understood the creature so much better. We learned more of its technology, it's weaponry, the biomechanical ship. We learned Predators have a code, that they don't kill just because of unarmed = no sport, but how it treats children, the pregnant, even prey that bested their own.  We learned what Predators feed on, that they travel in packs, that they have been hunting here on Earth for centuries and based on that trophy wall, other creatures exist in the universe - they don't only hunt humans! And hello OWLF!!  So I think that statement is perhaps misplaced.  :)

    Finally....

    Gerald Butler in his prime four years after 300 as Royce??

    https://cdn.britannica.com/60/137460-050-29AA37EF/Gerard-Butler.jpg

    Adrien Brody as Edwin?

    https://m.media-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMjI3ODkxMjU3OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTk2Njk3MTE@._V1_.jpg

    Oh my lord, can I visit an alternate universe where that happened? Wow! It is such better casting in my opinion. Gerald wanted to do it!  Why couldn't Fox just pay him the 5 Million!  Arrrgh! This one is going to eat me up inside!! :'(

    Once again, great podcast guys, and thank you Alex for taking time out to do it!

    I'm happy Predators is part of our Predator universe!
  17. seattle24
    I don’t particularly dig Gerard Butler as an actor - but man, he would have been a great lead in Predators. I’d argue as well that 10 years ago when he was nearer the peak of his popularity his name alone with added another $10million worldwide.

    Though Litvak’s ideas for a sequel frightened me when he discussed linking it with Aliens. :-\ A sequel on the game reserve planet with new drops would have been the way to go.
  18. Kradan
    The wait is finally over ! ;D

    I find story of a Russian guy sneaking to watch American movies so relatable. Almost like a breath of air from motherland

    And, Aaron, I want to thank and applaud you personally for not butchering my name !
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