Brian A. Prince & Kyle Strauts Interview

Posted by Darkness on December 19, 2019 (Updated: 10-Sep-2023)

 Brian A. Prince & Kyle Strauts Interview

Brian A. Prince

Adam: When you both got your roles, what sort of preparation did you do for the film? I remember seeing pictures of you both in the gym so I assume you guys did plenty of physical training but did you also go back and kind of dissect the performances of the previous actors like Kevin Peter Hall or Ian Whyte?

Brian: Yes, for me. I definitely did but probably unpopular truth, I didn’t do it too much. I didn’t want to just copy things and so I actually found myself not looking at a lot of things too much because I know me. Like if I look at something too much, I’m just gonna think about it a lot and then that becomes the norm of it and like if I’m not doing that, then I feel like I’m doing something wrong. So, one thing that really helped was in the prep time, I learned a lot of wire work, a lot of various stunt training, fighting, running. A lot of things like that.

Me and Kyle got together. We did a lot of fun things where we would like go walk around the room together in unison and like match each other’s movements and that was really cool but the thing that ended up helping me out the most was… so I’m a character designer. That’s what I went to school for and so what I thought about was like okay well if I was designing this character. Like if someone came to me and was like “Okay you’re gonna draw the Predator for a comic right”. They’re gonna be like “How would I approach that project?”

And so, I made a list of how I would design any other character where like what attributes are strong about this character. What shapes really sell the character. What physical features are gonna be like the most predominant and so in doing that, I kind of found other characters that I was inspired by other fictional characters that weren’t just the Predator because obviously the Predator was on that list. I was looking at characters like the Hulk, Juggernaut, Kratos from God of War so I’m a huge fan of the God of War series and I always loved Kratos as a character design.

He’s eight feet tall, his chest is always out, he does not look backwards, he always looks forwards and there was a lot of features that I liked. I wanna bring this to what I’m doing. So, I mixed that with some of the other things that I really liked from Kevin’s performances and from Ian’s performances. I tried to kind of create this blend of all of those things together and that’s what I ended up mostly putting together for my performance.

Aaron: I vaguely remember reading that you listen to music as well?

Brian: Yeah every day when I was tuning up I actually was listening to the God of War soundtrack from God of War 3 because when I was looking at it from just a stunt thing, it was hard to kind of get into character but it was actually something that Alec Gillis told me where he was like watching Ian and the other guys do it. It’s more of a dance than anything else and when he told me that I was like “Oh wow that makes so much sense”. So I would just listen to this music that would kind of put me in the mindset of the character. Like I had a whole playlist on my Spotify and then I would like basically just start acting while listening to the music in a dance kind of way to kind of just put me into that zone.

Kyle: I think our prep processes are quite different. I went and watched the films and yeah okay I want to see what these people brought to the performance and what can I bring to the performance that will stay true to what people see as characteristics of a Predator but also my personal thing was like I want to bring a new personality to the Predator. Like how every human has a personality. I’m Kyle. He’s Bryan. We all have our identities. I wanted to bring like an identity of a Predator that was unique but they felt true their lore.

 Brian A. Prince & Kyle Strauts Interview

Fugitive Predator

So, a lot of mine was when I’d watched the films, I watched a lot of the acting nuances so I would look at “What did he do with his fingers? What did he do when he heard a sound? Did he snap his head? Did he turn his head slow? Did he like puff up his chest?” So, I would look at a lot of like the small physical nuances and relating to Brian’s last note about dance because I’ve been dancing for so long. That was where a lot of my character work in general, from the other performances I’ve done outside of Predator, have to do very tightly to dance. Because it’s so much a dance because you’re in a suit with a helmet on and gloves on and all these things that when it comes time to play, you have to kind of have a preconceived set of feelings and emotions to bring that thing to life. So I would listen to music similarly but I would listen to Hans Zimmer because I remember when he showed me the God of War soundtrack.

I was like “Holy shit!” Like this is something I could listen to because it reminds me of Hans Zimmer because it’s like the epic build-up and that very orchestral feeling because I felt like we were doing something epic like that. As for the physical training I give a shout out to Brian A Prince for introducing me to parkour because I’d always been a mover and a physical person but I’ve never seen someone in my height range do things like that. So as soon as I saw him do that the audition, I was in Vancouver. I was going to Origins Parkour to train so I was trying to foundationally learn like how to climb better. How to move more efficiently. How to move smoother. How to move lighter and anytime Brian came through town, we went over notes.

I’m like “Okay like how come we like step this game up?” Because Kevin and Ian – I mean like they set the foundation for where the character started. I was like “How can we as movers bring something new to these characters?” And that was really the seed that was planted where we started and so we would go like “Okay well maybe the emissaries, which I hope someday people see, I really wanted my character… he was more of a wily character. Like more of a shit disturber then like the proud stand up tall and so I really want to see it. We never really got to see any of the footage that they showed at the test screening before they changed it but I think there was a lot of like my character.

The stuff that I was really like hustling on, I put into that character but yeah so, I think my training regime was also an endurance thing. I wanted to make sure that my endurance was ready to do the suit work because I’ve done suit work before. I knew what was gonna be asked but I’ve never done it where I’m 100% covered so hands, feet, body, head and you can barely see, barely breathe. I knew that was going to be really challenging so I do a lot of meditation in my regular life anyways but I did a lot of meditation to be ready for the challenge that is performing while completely encumbered.

Aaron: Speaking of the suits then, I did want to ask you both what it was like performing inside those? I mean we spoke to Ian Feuer in the past who worked on Requiem when Ian Whyte wasn’t able to and he talked very specifically about how it was really taxing mentally because like you said it was all enclosed and claustrophobic and Brian, we even heard some reports that you were actually passing out on set in the suit?

Brian: It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life was wearing that suit and then doing stuff. Like we’re wearing this suit. If you’re just standing there, you’re working. So, like the animatronic head that I did the entire lab scene with. It’s 11 pounds in the back of your head right so it’s just trying to pull your head backwards and you’re fighting just to keep your head level right and so it’s kind of like that all over. Like just to lift the arm, you’re using all of your arm muscles to lift it just to walk around flexing everything to carry that tank around. Then on top of that you’re running, you’re fighting, you’re jumping and it’s tough because it’s this mix of like it’s exciting.

It’s super awesome. Like you walk out of the tent and then everyone sees you and freaks out. You push into it. You become that character and it’s super exhilarating but at the same time you have to be your voice. You have to tell people like “Hey I’m getting really tired” because all they see is the Predator. They don’t see a person that’s maybe out of sweat and yeah it was definitely like a really hard adaption process. I mean the stunt team, I trained with them for four weeks before we started shooting and we had me learning all my stuff in a wetsuit just to get used to like the sweat and the restriction of the movement. As helpful as that was even that just didn’t even come close to actually wearing the suit. Mainly for stunt days.

So, for stunts heavy days, we did a lot of wire work for this film and so for wire stunts, you wear something called a jerk vest or a harness and has all of these daisy loops all over it that you can like hook different pinpoints to. So usually typically for wire stunts, the vest gets cinched up right before you do the take. So you’re about to do a take, you cinch it all up, you get wired, you get hooked in and then your take’s over and over and over again and wire work by itself is immensely taxing and physically exhausting. So the Predators – I had to cinch up the harness before putting the suit on so I’m already full cinched up.

 Brian A. Prince & Kyle Strauts Interview

Brian A. Prince

I’m like in a corset basically and it’s squeezing me fully and then I had to put on the suit and then I had to be in that suit for about six to eight hours depending on how long we were going and it was very painful but you endure. It’s the work and so on days like that when we’re in the harness and then on top of that I had to like run or jump in something. Words can’t explain how tremendously difficult those days were but you find a happy place, you find a way to keep yourself motivated and calm. Like as Kyle was saying I definitely practiced a lot of meditation habits.

I would just be sitting there in my own spot in my head. People on set would walk by and wave and I wouldn’t even see them because I would have to just be in this mental space of like “I’m fine. I’m chill. I’m here.” As for that day where I passed out, I mean we were walking up, we were doing this big scene as the emissaries which no one will see and we are walking up into the spaceship and we just did it a bunch of different times and essentially usually like when they call cut, there’s immediately fans on us. Just because like we can’t really even breathe in the masks or the head. That’s why I tell people it’s like any scene that I’m doing with battle masks on, I can’t see.

Like the goggles would fog up immediately so there’s like that iconic scene where I’m holding up Quinn McKenna like Boyd Holbrook’s character. I’m holding him up against the wall. When I had to come around him and grab him by the throat, that was basically like me. We had to rehearse to the point where I could do it with my eyes closed because I could barely see. A lot of sensory like deprivation but yeah that day where I passed out, we were going and going and going and going really hard. I was like “No I feel great. Let’s do it. I feel fine. I feel fine.” And then we kept going – we got to that last take and I was like “Oh my gosh. I’m going up this hill. I’m gonna need a break after this at the top.” Then I’m like on the floor because that’s the thing is like I needed to know where my limit was and I found it.

Kyle: So, like I said, I did this movie. I actually got to work with Robert Englund. It was a horror thing which I don’t think it turned out how we all wanted it to but that’s film. I wore a suit that was like I had arms and a head and something similar to like the Predator stuff but I had nothing on my legs and I remember that was like “Okay this is tough but I can handle this” but Predator… it wasn’t just that it was covering everything, it was also the way the suit is built because we had them custom-molded to our bodies. When we would stand there, if you didn’t move and you had your hands at your side, it was almost fine.

It was almost like a meditative thing but as soon as you like put your hands out sideways or hands up straight, it was like doing restrictive workout like as if you’re picking up a 10-pound weight and just holding it there. So anytime you didn’t move, it was very taxing so there was the scene where Brian passed out but it was on a day where we were doing a lot of movement. We had to walk into the entrance of the alien ship and it was like the big reveal where the whole loonies gang sees us and it was this really cool kind of intro to the emissaries. We had to walk up these stairs and up the ramp and then pretty much up about a two foot gap with our foot and then push up.

Pretty much like a workout and we did it about 10 times in a row and that was actually where it happened is because doing suit work you kind of have to find your flow. You have to communicate exactly where you’re at and the production is always trying to get as much done as possible because that’s just the way it goes and they’re going “Okay well let’s shoot, this shoot, let’s go, let’s keep the heads on. Actually guys we’re gonna shoot soon and we’re just doing the next set up so let’s keep the heads on” and there was that time I think we had it on for like an hour or something and when it’s on, all of the heat in your body is trying to exit out your hands and your head. So when it can’t do that, it’s coming out the only place exposed to air and that was like our mouth.

The heat would build up and the breath would build up and so that one we really found the limits of what was possible because I think me and Brian were really both strong performers and proficient athletes in that sense and it was taxing both of us to the maximum. Like it was really difficult because we had to always be “Water, water” and the team is there to help you but it’s annoying when you have to keep saying “Hey guys, can you please just come over with the fan and just stand here and blow it in my face for 40 minutes straight because as soon as you walk away we heat up to the point where it’s hard to see properly”.

 Brian A. Prince & Kyle Strauts Interview

Emissary Predator

So eventually they had some systems in place where we did this thing called the cool suit which would go underneath the suit and it was like a vest and it had little wires going through it where you could be sat down. The little plug would come out the side of your leg and they would plug you into actual cooler full of ice and water and it would pump in ice water. So, we would sit down in the chair. They plug us in to the cool suit. They’d have two people on the fans and we would just sit there in silence and just breathe and prepare so eventually they got good at letting us have the heads off until five minutes for shooting and they would go “Okay guys, heads on” and the heads would come on.

You’d be pretty much shooting right away but on that day before we had that system in place, we were just kind of winging it depending on what was happening in the day and be like “They can leave the heads on, it’s fine” and we’re like “No we’re heating up.” That was the day where there was some deterioration and from my perspective we walk up to the top of the thing and I look at Olivia in the face. I look at all the guys and I’m doing this performance and all of a sudden I feel this “Bump!” And I’m like what the fuck and I kind of in character turn around. I see him on the floor there’s this moment of silence that you could bite through and I look back at all of the crew and Shane standing there and everyone’s looking.

There was a silence in the air and then like as if someone just clapped everyone exploded running towards Brian. Running like “Oh my god, get his helmet off. Get Kyle out of the suit right now.” It got serious really quick and the first thing Brian says “Sorry guys”. I just burst out laughing because the only thing he could think about was like letting people down whereas we were being taxed and we were like “Hey guys we’re getting hot, we’re getting hot” and I almost think that had to happen to really show people how serious it is to play a character like that and by the way make sure your acting and make it real and sell it on top of just maintaining your sanity and keeping your body temperature down and staying hydrated. Making sure you go pee in between shots because no time is money. So yeah it was a lot and I would agree with Brian. It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.

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