Aaron: Did you guys not have the masks just velcroed on then? Were they not removable like in the originals or was it a full head thing with the mask on?
Brian: I mean the battle mask was usually zip-tied on but it had magnets which worked decently but the battle mask could come off and that would be more or less fine. When the animatronic mandible heads were on, those was a whole process to get them on and off.
Kyle: Yeah I think in both our sakes, they molded the head to our head so we had this little like cup inside that had a little snaps in it and you would put the head on. It wasn’t just a big floppy prosthetic head it was an actual cup inside that was fit to your skull shape so that when you moved the head would naturally move with you but there was two different types of heads. There was a stunt head and there was the animatronic head and the animatronic head had all the electronics to make the mouth move. So that was also another challenge is when the mouth is moving we don’t hear Shane going “Hey guys, okay, we want you to do this…” it was hard sometimes to get a performance out because someone would have to come right up to our face and go “Okay Brian or Kyle, okay we want you to kind of have a bit more energy and when you swipe make sure you change like this and do like this”. So yeah having the heads on was a lot of lip-reading.
Aaron: Do you guys remember the first scenes you actually worked on?
Brian: The first week was all the stuff in the school. We did like 14 days straight of night shoots. The first thing I did was I was on top of the RV and I was holding Augusto Aguilera’s character Nettles by one arm and pointing to the looneys to put down their guns. That was like the first bit and then we kind of finished that entire sequence over the next two weeks via like the Predator showing up at the school up until getting my head ripped off.
Kyle: First time for me was doing the Upgrade stuff in that scene and I also was they kind of brought me in because a lot of the stuff that we worked on was… we both want to have a lot of consistency with the characters so Lance brought me in to kind of be like “Okay well be with Brian so that everything you guys do we can kind of stay in the same level when we go to do the other part of their stuff” and me and Brian… it was pretty cool actually. We got to really personalize that character. I remember that first scene when he was holding up Nettles and there’s the whole finger-pointing thing. There’s a whole story behind that. We did a bunch of different versions because you’re trying to make it look natural.
Brian: I mean full disclosure, I had a full-on panic attack that night. I was super nervous. Like six months leading up among prep, you put the suit on. I was in there for hours and it restricted my breathing. I couldn’t feel anything. I was in like actual pain from the harness because I wasn’t used to it yet and then they went to put the head on and the mask head was messed up. So they had to get another one but so they took the stunt head which looks like the talking head and stuffed everything in and put the mask on and zip tied it to my face. I just had like a trigger and I just like started freaking out but I just covered it. Then I walked outside and then the goggles fogged up and I was just like “Okay this is fine, this is good.” I’m up holding up Nettles and like trying to point and it was a mess like in my head. Like outside it was fine. I can’t see so like my brain is just like “Oh, everyone is looking at me. I have no idea what I’m doing.”
Adam: Kind of going off that moment of where the Fugitive tells the group to put their weapons down to the ground, something we really liked about The Predator was that it felt like the Predators had a great sense of personality through the performance. So, what sort of conversations did you have with Shane about that sort of thing?
Brian: Shane definitely had notes. Like he was like “Oh I want him to feel like this” but I mean for the most part I honestly would give most of that credit to Kyle. Not to say that anyone else did input but they gave us a lot of freedom to be honest. They were just like “We want you guys to kind of bring to the table we want to do” and then they would obviously stop us or tell us like no less like that, more like this but it’s like a lot of that kind of came out in the beginning when we were in prep time. Kyle was like “Oh let’s try something like this”.
Kyle: For all of that being said, I go back to anyone asking me that this was a team effort. Everything that was done from the input I gave in, it was always a balance never between both of us because it’s not something that you could do alone. It’s just a crazy job so when we were doing that prep stuff, me and Brian would hang out. “How can we move? How can we run? How can we efficiently run?” I’m like “Brian when that camera gets close to your face you can’t be sad, you can’t be all of these things that we’re thinking that are happening in our moment right now. Let’s just turn that shit into anchor.”
I remember when we first saw the lab scene and it goes that tight shot when he wakes up and wakes up, I was like “YEAH!!!”. Everything I said, it was Brian like. He took that character and when I was watching the Fugitive do stuff, it was so uplifting that everything that we worked so hard to create for a personality came through because I’m reading all these reviews and going “You know what? I may or may not like the movie but man those Predators stuff looked amazing.” That was payoff because we both put in a lot of work and we would play together. “I’m the hunter now, Brian and I’m following to track prey. Okay the prey is attacking. How do we react?”
If we’re on set and you can’t talk to me, how am I know to follow you? There are a lot of things we could do and communicate to each other that don’t need to be said so if he turns and looks, I look and then he looks back and we have a moment and then we turn and go. There’s a lot of like acting where I guess yeah, we pretty much were just doing like all the active stuff before in the prep work which was like “How do we define the personality of who these characters are?”
Adam: So, you guys were given a lot of freedom in terms of the personality you were kind of developing that amongst yourselves for the Predator characters?
Kyle: Yeah it was hard to get time with Shane because there’s many moving parts happening at the same time. It was hard to say “Okay, Shane let’s sit down and talk”. He’s trying to manage the entire production so they would pretty much give us some notes and then we were just like “We were hired to do this so we have to trust that they hired us for a reason and we do our job”.
Aaron: So, let’s talk that fight sequence then between the Fugitive and the Upgrade. I mean we’ve got Brian in the suit and I’m assuming Kyle you’re in the stilts in the weirdo cap suit. So, what was that like to film?
Brian: That was crazy cuz we had to interact the best we could without interacting too. So, some miming but yeah that was definitely…
Kyle: For the stunt pad, what they showed in the final cut, there was way more fighting than that which I really wish they used. There was a scene where Brian sprints full speed and he’s like “Okay, Kyle, hold this cushion.” I think Lance it was kind of like a joke to him. He’s like “I want to see if Brian’s gonna knock over Kyle”. He was sprinting in the suit and just smash into this pad to make it look like he was crashing into the Upgrade and then he does a bunch of moves and the Upgrade blocks and there was way more of an interaction in terms of like fight moves. Then the final showed him kind of like swaying.
What we shot originally was Brian was running at me and while he was running at me, he was firing a burst out of his shoulder cannon. He wasn’t standing there. He was running and as he was running, attacking, he’s also slicing so it’s as if he was throwing everything, he had at him in the final sequence which I really wish I saw in the final product. In my head while we were doing it, I was like “This is gonna look so cool” but there was a lot of like stuff to make Brian look very physical. So he would run at me and hit a pad or when he was doing the attacks, he had to really kind of slash upwards at me and then I would kind of like go back and then I would mimic the swing backhand where he went flying.
Brian in that stunt where he gets backhanded, a wire pulled him 18ft in the air and he smacked into grass and under the grass they just put a little bit of moss but he actually flew in the air and smash into the grass and I remember that take – they were like “You really got to sell it” and when you did that and he hit and rolled, a bunch of the pieces flew off and broke from the armor and he rolled about two inches from the camera and they actually used that shot. Everyone grabbed their hands “Oh shit, oh shit he’s gonna hit the camera”. Everybody was like “Yep, that was it. That was the one”.
Brian: The first one, I hit the ground and like I hit the ground wrong and the bolts that held the skull piece that was like attached to my head and then like that connected that to the rest of the head like shattered and all I hear is this like shattering noise and I’m like “Oh I broke my neck. I’m dead.” And I’m laying there and like the part of the mask that was like falling was like stabbing me in the face. I wasn’t drawing blood but it was almost just like you could stab me in the face and then like we reset and they were just like “Hey man, you gotta hit your mark”. I was like “Alright you want me to hit my mark? Come and hit my mark!” And so, the second I did, I was hyped and I took the roll.
Adam: So, something that’s intrigued a lot of fans are those deleted Emissary Predators that you mentioned. You portrayed both of those and I was wondering if there’s anything else you could tell us about them and were you sad to see them go?
Brian: Definitely. There’s so many days guys… just amounted to nothing. I mean it’s for good reason. I’m not trying to be all like “I want it in”. I don’t feel like that at all. Whatever they did, they probably did it for a reason. I didn’t see the footage but in terms of like the performance aspect of it, we put a lot into the emissaries. We had a lot of fun doing them just cuz it’s like, exactly what Kyle was saying, so much of the prep time we spent doing this team-oriented training and then like getting to do that. To actually do that together was so cool and I’m definitely sad to see them go. We filmed a lot but it was a good chunk.
Kyle: It was very action-packed the stuff that they did and I feel like there was a lot more subtlety in those characters because compared to the Fugitive The Fugitive – you seem him crash, a bunch of stuff happens and then he’s escaping so you see a lot of cool things but there was no time to really absorb like the character itself whereas the emissaries… there were a few more scenes… it’s almost like “Okay we’re introducing you the emissaries. Like here they are. Like here’s these characters doing this thing” and we did this stuff on the GPV which became kind of like a meme for the production because a lot of things went wrong with the vehicle that they purchased. So it had to be fixed on set and there was just a bunch of really tough days shooting those scenes and there was multiple stunts and some of the stunt guys that were working with the actors. They were falling off the GPV, jumping on the GPV. Like the thing was doing stunt maneuvers.
There was stunts where we had a Humvee blow up and flip in the air. There’s no CG in that thing you saw in the trailer. That was a guy driving a Humvee 70 km/hour and it got punched by a piston in the ground and flew 30 feet in the air, flipping and blew up while it was in midair. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen and I was in the turret shooting at it when that happened. That’s actually what sets it off but we did a lot of the team-oriented Predator character work. It was done as the emissaries cuz we were these two guys that were on Earth and for all that, you were like “Oh what friendly Predators!”
Yeah, they were friendly. They’re essentially coming to Earth to give humans a fair fight. To give them a chance to fight back so when we do conquer them, there’s honor. It wasn’t like “Oh they’re here to help humans because they want to be pals”. It’s like no, that was never the intention from the way we interpreted the script so even in all of the character interactions between the Loonies and the Predators, there was stuff that had never been done in a Predator franchise.
It was hard to see it go because so much work, not just our parts but the actors at the scene and the crew. Everyone was putting their heart and soul into these scenes because we all knew like “Hey we’re bringing back the Predator franchise. We all got to just pull up our pants and get this shit done and do it properly”. So, I’m definitely sad to see it go because there was a lot of really like cool unique new takes on what Predators have done and what they were doing and the interaction between the Predators, the two that were me and Brian.