Brian A. Prince and Kyle Strauts are actors who played the Predators (as well as the deleted Emissary Predators) in 2018’s The Predator from Shane Black. Prince played the Fugitive Predator /Emissary Predator and has a background in stunt work for movies and TV shows. Strauts played the Upgrade Predator / Emissary Predator and has been acting for 10 years and is a dancer and a teacher.
We sat down and had a chat with them for Episode #75 of the AvPGalaxy Podcast in October 2018. We asked them how they originally got the roles and how hard it was acting in the practical Predator suits. You can listen to the podcast below or read on for a full transcription:
Aaron: We’re joined by two special guests you’ve probably seen in a film that’s come out recently – Brian Prince and Kyle Strauts. Who you are, what you did in The Predator and what you do outside of being intergalactic hunters?
Brian: My name’s Brian Prince. I play the Fugitive Predator in the movie The Predator. I also played one of the emissaries which we will not see unfortunately. I have a stunt background I’ve been doing stunt work in film and TV for about three to four years. I still consider myself pretty much a novice in it. I’ve been doing parkour for ten years. I am probably the world’s tallest parkour athlete but who’s to say. I’m also an illustrator, went to Savannah College of Art and Design for sequential art so I primarily work in comics, storyboarding and character design. Worked a little bit on indie games, freelance artwork, early writing and drawing my own graphic novel. Other than, that’s who I am. I’m six feet nine and a half inches tall in case anyone wants to know.
Kyle: My name is Kyle Strauts. In the movie I play also one of the Emissaries you may never see and I play the Upgrade Predator. I did most of the proxy work except for the stuff in the third act. I also did some of the scenes of the Fugitive Predator when Brian was working on the same day. My history… I’ve been an actor for about ten years. I’ve been a dancer in a style called popping for 14 years. I am also a certified double bachelor teacher. I was teaching for a little bit and yeah before that I was a professional lacrosse player. So, there’s a lot of things that have led up to where I’m at now.
Aaron: Aren’t you both athletes? Brian, didn’t you also do basketball or something?
Brian: Yeah, I played basketball pretty much my entire childhood. I come from a tall basketball family so it was just the thing we did. I stopped playing around 18, 19 when I went to college cuz I’m pretty good at basketball or at least I was. I just never loved it and so I wanted to do something I loved cuz it’s when you see people who have that thing that they do and they love doing it.
Like I knew that I never felt like that with the sport of basketball and I took a conscious choice to step away from it. That’s actually what led me to parkour very soon after and then as soon as I started doing that I just fell in love with it. I never imagined it would pay off. I’ve been doing parkour for ten years now in a parkour gym right now in Vancouver where I’m recording. It’s taken me all over the country. Made me friends that I never thought I’d meet and it’s got me opportunities that I never thought I’d have.
Adam: We kind of a small traditional in the podcast when we have special guests on. That is, we like to ask him about the first time they ever experienced the franchise they’ve become involved with. So, do you both remember the first time you ever encountered the Predator?
Kyle: I was born in 83 so it was about 1990 when I first had the experience and since then I’ve watched it probably 200 times. It’s an obscene number. Also when I got the job, I was like okay it’s time to just go crazy and watch all of these over and over and over. But the first time was with my oldest brother and I was watching it at his friend’s house because they were watching it in the basement on this little shitty like tiny TV screen and it was on VHS. I remember being terrified. I remember that the fact that it could go invisible. I remember that stuck with me as a child.
I’m like well if I’m in my house and he’s standing at my doorway and I used to wake up in the middle of the night and actually go “Is he standing in my room right now?” Yeah, he actually could be standing at the end of my bed and he could kill me and I wouldn’t know it and I had these crazy thoughts but then I became obsessed with that. I was like oh well imagine if I was a Predator so you get a little crazy when you’re a kid but I definitely remember the experience. It was in my older friend’s basement on this really ghetto couch, kind of crunched up all close together staring at it. I remember being terrified and excited at the same time.
Brian: For me the character has always kind of been there for me. I don’t remember the first time I was like that’s Predator. I was just like I was growing up kind of right alongside with Batman and Spiderman, the Predator was always a character that existed in my universe. I thought he was really cool, mostly from like the visual of the character – he had a plasma cannon on his shoulder, long dreadlocks and an awesome mask. I just always thought it was really badass and like very iconic so yeah, I don’t remember the exact moment but I do know the character has always kind of been there for me for sure
Adam: Which of the films would you say is your favorite?
Brian: My favorite is a toss-up between Predators and the first Predator. The first one just cuz it’s the first one. It had so many good moments and one liners in it. Such good characters but I really liked a lot of the things they tried to do with Predators. Specifically, I loved like the samurai showdown between that one Predator and then the Yakuza guy. I loved that moment so much because it’s like a callback to Billy in the first one but then also it carries through.
Kyle: I actually have a very similar opinion to Brian in that I really liked the first one cuz it is the first one. I liked that the Predator was kind of like Jaws in the sense that you don’t really see him as much and so when you do see him, he’s either wrecking shit, blowing shit up or doing something really detailed. Like it reminds me of the part when he’s up in the tree near the end and he uses that little kit to open it up.
For how he’s an alien, there was a lot of humanity in that moment whereas in Predators there wasn’t any intimate moments like that. But I like the stuff like the samurai showdown was just so cool and simple but said so much without having to show him do any crazy moves. Yeah, it’s a toss-up but I think I would lean a tiny bit more in the original just because I like those smaller moments.
Aaron: Is there a particular design or performance from any of the films that you would say is your favorite?
Kyle: I mean honestly, it’s Kevin in the original just cuz he really set the pace for it.
Brian: I would say Kevin in the original also because the fact there was nothing preceding that. He had probably no idea. He just kind of made some stuff up and what he thought was right and then I’m sure he talked to the director and he would ask him to do some stuff. I liked the fact that it was the first time and so his performance was something that was coming from like a self-inspired feeling of like “Okay well, what is this guy? How is he gonna move?”
Like when he first did that roar with his arms out, I really would love to know the answer. Did they just say “Roar now. Do something scary!”. Or were they like “Just put your arms out, crouch down and look forward and go Aaaarrrrrggghhh”. I’m coming from the actor mode so I think there’s something really cool about your intuitive sense on what draws you to a character to do what it does so I would say the first one.
Aaron: Let’s talk about The Predator. I’m always curious to hear about what people’s experiences are with actually getting the gig in the first place. What was the casting process like for The Predator?
Kyle: So, the casting process for me was as I said whether it’s that top hundred, I got thrown into and they pretty much would email me weekly and say “Hey you’ve made the top 75. Hey you’re in the top 50” and I’m thinking sitting here going “Oh like how cool would that be if I got the chance to like just audition for something this big” and then it was like okay you’re top 25 and at about top 15 they said “Send us everything you’ve ever done including my university degrees”. They wanted to see everything I’ve ever done in my life before they made these decisions and then one day I call and they said “Hey Kyle. Yeah you’ve made the top 5 in the North America. You’re flying to Los Angeles in one week to do a six-hour audition” and I was like holy shit.
So, for that next week I was in the gym every single day and I was literally watching the movie every day and writing notes on what I wanted to do cuz they said “Okay you can come with a presentation of how you want to do the character”. Well I wrote a little book. I have a little book in my room right now that has pictures of how I fought, what my weapons look like, what my moves were, his history, why he had scars. I just made up a full character cuz I was like fuck it, this is the time to go to that level. Obviously, I want this so I’m gonna go down.
Then when they flew me out, I didn’t really see any of the other performers and when we got to the place where we did the audition, I remember walking in and I saw this black dude just lying in this parkour gym and I went “Fuck you”. His movement was so beautiful. I was just like “Yeah, this is it” and so the process at the audition, it was split into three parts. One of the parts was a video portion and they pretty much kind of sat us in front of a camera and said “Well why do you think you should be the Predator and what are you gonna bring to the table?” I pretty much just whipped out my little book and I put it by my face and I was flipping pages and just telling stories for that portion and I think the draw was that because of my background, why I got to that top five is being 6’9”. I don’t see very many 6’9” actors like not guys that just stand there and look imposing but people who like have that meat and because my dance background.
It does a lot of really isolated movements. I think they saw potential there so where I think the meat of the performance happened was they said “Okay, run through this parkour course at this gym as your character” and they said “Hey you can start up here and want you to end here but everything you do in between is up to you” and they need all of the other actors to go outside so no one could copy each other’s performance. For my performance, I don’t really talk about it with many people but the first thing I did was we had to drop to this 12-foot hole onto a pad and I remember dropping down under the pad. It took me a good 30 seconds to get up cuz I had split my legs open and slowly looked up, looked around like just in silence.
It was a really special part of my performance that I loved but then from there I kind of like scanned around and made a bunch of weird sounds in my mouth and looked like a weirdo. I did some attack moves and I swing off the bars and jump through holes and did like a little like side 360 off the wall into like a strike and then the third portion of the audition was a wire work. I remember doing the wire work. We’re all kind of standing there, “Okay who wants to go first?” And I’m like “Me” and all the other guys look at me kind of like “Fuck you” and I remember looking at them and kind of being like “Are you guys cool with that?”
And everyone just kind of takes about five seconds of just like “Yeah okay”. I wanna set the bar or fuck up with glory. That was my time and so they had us do front flips, back flips like sprinting jumps, jump up in the air do a backflip and land 25 feet behind you. Then there was one where we do this running dash onto a ledge and then we jump backwards and do these really high-flying moves so that was the rough outline of how it went down for me.
Brian: My experience is entirely different because I was working in Seattle at a parkour gym called Parkour Visions and I was there for about a year, ten months or so. Great place. Great people. I really liked the job but yeah, I just was doing parkour and doing odd work on the side. That’s all I was doing. I moved from Atlanta where I had most of the stunt opportunities that I had before that so I wasn’t really expecting any work at the time. I was kind of taking a year to do my own thing and then yeah just one day I got a call from the stunt creator Lance Gilbert and he just called me. He’s like “Are you really like 6’9”, 6’10” and do parkour?”
And I was like “Yeah, who’s this?” And then he was “I’m Gilbert, I’m the coordinator” and explained what he was doing. Why he was calling me and then essentially asked me for my information which is pretty standard. You get a call then. You send them your resume headshot and a reel if you have it, some selfies of what you look like on the exact day so I sent him that information and then he got back to me very serious like “Yeah, I want to get you in for this audition for the new Predator movie” and I was like “Oh okay, wow, sure”. I got an email back later and “We’re flying you to LA next week” so kind of what Kyle was saying with like the hundred down to fifty.
I didn’t even know about any of that. I was just in Seattle working my job and then I went to LA a week later and they flew me out for the audition and it’s kind of like there’s zero part of me that expected to get this job and I don’t mean that negatively. I just was like no you can’t you can’t do that. You can’t just like get a call in a week and go be a Predator. That’s not a thing so I went in literally not expecting anything and that ended up helping me more than anything else because I just looked at the whole thing as a win-win. I got to go to LA for a few days. The audition was that Tempest Freerunning Academy which is a parkour gym in the valley outside of LA. I’ve always wanted to go there so I was like win-win, this is great and so I showed up to the audition.
It was Kyle and three other guys who were roughly our same height and same deal. They got us on video, what are you bringing to the table. That was all awkward like “I do parkour” I didn’t even have that much to say. I don’t like talking so it wasn’t very long but so then we did the audition and what really helped with that is a bunch of good friends of mine run the sport parkour league. Essentially they run parkour competitions all over the country and one of the format’s is the style format. The way that they do it is start in a spot and you can end in a certain area and you have to interact with a certain amount of obstacles throughout the competition or throughout the course. So when they were like “Okay so for the audition, you’re gonna start here and end here and kind of do whatever you want the middle”.
I was like “It’s just like a style comp. I can do that”. And so the same thing, I was like “Well I’m not gonna get this gig” and it was parkour that got me here so I’m just gonna quickly come up the parkour line but I’m gonna mix it in with like this creature movement, like hunting thing so what I what I really wanted was like I kind of tried to emulate like a hunting dog. Like moving slowly and then it would like peek its ears and then scatter over to an area and then slow down and so I picked the points that I wanted to go through and then between the points just decided like “Okay what movement can I do here?”
And so, I ended up putting together something with some like reverse step volts where I’d be going backwards while looking forwards. I had a few rolls and I had a roll or two in there. I did like some swinging on the bar, some perching. That was really fun actually to put together and I just felt really in my element on it. Then after that we did the work that Kyle had mentioned earlier and yeah same deal. I was like I’ve never been on a wire before and so it was really tough for me to go so Kyle went first. I never liked going first.
I always like going third to fourth. I never want to go first because my body wants to go first but then I get like it like too anxious about it and then it just falls apart. When I went, I just was like ”Okay I can do backflips so I guess I’ll just do that” but it was definitely tough because of the wire portion of it but as long as I avoided the wires. Once I started realizing how to avoid the wires and work with the riggers better, I was able to get around and do it but essentially that was the whole audition process for me.