Liam O’Donnell Interview

Posted by Darkness on August 25, 2019 (Updated: 26-Aug-2019)

Aaron: Did you did nab anything? Have you got any props?

There was like a pretty cool Japanese toy of the Predalien that they sent us that I nabbed but no, those guys took most of the props. They have the gun. They have the pack and Colin has the Wolf helmet.

 Liam O'Donnell Interview

Swimming Pool

Adam: How involved with were you with the post production of the film?

I was basically just the same vibe of watch cuts and give notes which was a fairly long post-production because we’re supposed to be having an August release. So we were really humming to get this thing done because we finished shooting I think in November. Was mainly in October and I think they had to go back for like a day in December to empty the pool just to do like that one shot with the empty pool. They had to wait till school was out before they could empty the pool and then it would just be a lot of those like tiebreaker or just an opinion.

Just kind of like “What do you think?” But that it was very much them and Dan Zimmerman, the editor, kind of going back and forth and stuff and that was all at Hydraulx so it was at my office anyway. I think that was kind of the unique situation is that the Edit Bay was just all done at our facility so it was all under one house and we do a lot of notes.

I remember like the first cut was pretty long and the cut that everyone was happy with was around two hours and that the biggest thing that’s not in the movie anymore is the Kendra and Curtis storyline which I think seeing it is a very good cut because I honestly feel like you could do even one less human character storyline. It’s just too many and so imagine having an entirely other one there.

Adam: Were there many scenes removed from the film that aren’t too well known about? I remember from the trailers where you had Kelly on the mounted machine gun?

That’s a Kendra and Curtis scene. I think it was like when we first go to the triage of the hospital and we first kind of get there, we just see these two kids. I don’t know if their mom was working there or if their mom was supposed to pick them up or meet him there or something but they’re at the hospital. They’re told to stay put and one of them kind of goes off and then we kind of cut back to them.

Once the Predalien is inside and it was definitely like the studio wanted to do a version of the Raptors in Jurassic Park with these kids at a hospital but like the Raptors in Jurassic Park in the kitchen sequence, that was given a lot of time to shoot. That wasn’t like “Okay do the Jurassic Park scene in a day”. Like okay you need time to craft something that intricate and so it was like they fought for it. We didn’t feel like we really even needed that in there.

 Liam O'Donnell Interview

Curtis & Kendra

We love the idea of it but it was just again one more human subplot was gonna weigh it down. I think the whole movie only had like a forty day schedule so it’s just like when you have that little amount of time to spend it on trying to crash something really good something that you kind of feel isn’t probably going to end up in the final edit will be frustrating.

 Liam O'Donnell Interview

Alien on Car

That whole sequence it was like them kind of hiding and kind of outsmarting the Predalien and getting away from her and then they ended up getting in a car. I think they were in the car with maybe the pizza boss who then showed up in the truck in the finished cut. But for some reason maybe they just got into a car themselves but they were in a car and Kendra was just driving the car. The car all of a sudden came up to them once they were at the Stryker tank and an Alien was on the roof.

Like an Alien attacked them and was on the roof and so she had to turn, swerve the car. The Alien and the stunt man in the Alien suit fell off of the front of the car and rolled onto the street and then Kelly turned around with the 50 Cal and just blew it to shit. It was a cool moment for her and it was a great shot so of course it’s gonna end up in the trailer but like Kendra and Curtis are in the Stryker tank during that end scene. When she’s saying “I think that Colonels lying”, they are in the thing.

That whole entire scene the two actors are there. We just never cut to the angle so that’s how like excised they are from the movie. I think they ended up going to Gilliam Circle with the sheriff and so they blew up with the bomb at the end. That’s kind of the biggest thing I can remember that was taken out. I feel like there was just a little bit more ambience.

Like there’s a rushed vibe to some of it. There was more stuff that felt like in the hospital but maybe that’s all just in my head because I was there. There was the school scene which was made fun of in the Ain’t It Cool News review where the teacher writes like ‘Survival of the Fittest’. I think they had something like that. We definitely filmed that.

Aaron: Do you remember the first time you actually got to see the finished film then?

It was at the Fox lot – a kind of a friends and family type screening and I think this kind of goes in with some of the stuff we’ll be talking about in the next few questions. It’s just like when you see your rough cuts of movies, they’re so rough and without sound and music and VFX and everything. It’s like to get through it all the way to the end, you’re like so much happier with the movie than where you started.

It’s never as bad as that first cut so I think it by the time you’re seen the final cut, you’re very relieved that it even looks like a movie. I remember feeling pretty good and pretty proud of all the work that we put into it and how much better it was kind of flowing than it had in previous cuts. It seemed to be playing decently so I think there was a feeling that it was going to do better than it ended up doing for sure.

Adam: It was kind of clear from the original trailer that the color correction was altered which many accused the final film of being too dark in theaters and even when I’ve seen it on the blu-ray in home release it looks dark compared to that first trailer so what do you think the odds of seeing a rerelease of the film with the correct color grading and maybe a little more special features with the deleted scenes of those scenes that weren’t used?

I think it all comes down to just fan interest. I actually thought for the 10th anniversary that we should go to Fox and talk to them about it but the brothers weren’t as receptive to it but yeah I mean now with like I have a pretty new TV. I bought it a year ago and I normally shut everything off but if you put the advanced contrast thing way up and put the brightness up it looked pretty good last night. Sometimes within the scenes you’ll get this weird sort of Instagram vibe when you’re watching it but I mean yeah for me I’ve seen the movie.

 Liam O'Donnell Interview

The blu-ray release of AvP Requiem was extremely dark.

Daniel Pearl shot like forty five times in different cuts and then to have that color grading kind of go with such a dark overall look, it was definitely disappointing. Felt like it was like insult to injury to have something that we knew that part looked good and that was taken care of and to have it just fall on the side of that too dark and had that become this big controversy, it was definitely disappointing.

It’s actually kind of a slight adjustment. You can kind of see how in just a few places in it if you’re working on the wrong calibration for your DI or whatever the situation… just a little bit here and just a little bit there can kind of put you on the other side of those things.

Aaron: You and Colin, and I suppose Greg to some extent, were fairly active online leading up to Requiem’s release. It was awesome having direct communication with you guys making the film but it all sort of blew up in everybody’s face after the film came out and the reaction was so negative. So much so that I was quite frankly honestly surprised about your willingness to come and talk to us on this podcast. Do you think that kind of direct communication was actually such a good thing?

I think it was a good thing and I think it’s been a good thing for me Skyline as well and I think it came from the right place and the right intentions. I think it just ultimately goes all the way back to the beginning of what the main problem with the movie is – is just the concept. I think it was all kind of paved with the right intentions of us like wanting to hear what the fans wanted kind of going back to that Fox versus Marvel back then.

I think it was the right idea to try to hear what everyone was kind of looking for in an Alien vs. Predator movie and immerse yourself around the people that love it more than anything else. So I was kind of in there I think the most and Colin would pop in from time to time. Greg definitely was never on there. He would read stuff and ask what people were thinking and the IMDB boards were really active too at the time.

So some of that was probably a waste of some of my time but at the same time I was 24 and having a good time with it. I think being that immersed in the fandom is what you kind of want to do. There’s an element though where okay now the movies out, you guys have the reaction to it. Like even if the reaction is super positive, you can’t just like kind of keep sitting there basking on these message boards for the rest of your life. You have to go any make something else. There’s a natural kind of cycle to it in any case.

Aaron: I did want to ask you a little bit about what came after AvPR. So you were pretty tight with the Strause brothers and you were working with them on a creative capacity on the film and you went on to write their next film Skyline. Now the brothers weren’t too shy about telling people that they had ideas for a third AvP so I was wondering how involved you were with their efforts for a potential third film?

Yeah I completely forgot about this. I wrote an AvP3 treatment in the trailer onset for AvP2. I believe it was set in Africa. That was one and then like towards the end though we started toying with… it might have even been a little bit in the future… trying to again move into a more exotic location.

 Liam O'Donnell Interview

Huge Alien from Aliens: Apocalypse: The Destroying Angels

Aaron: I remember just seeing like concept for a King Alien right and I think that’s what you guys are talking about. Colin or Greg mentioned something going to deal in home world or something they’d have these dinosaur sized Aliens that Predators are trying to capture.

So that that was kind of like a concept less than a story. Even towards the end, we’re like okay, is there some cool thing we can do as like a post-credits scene? I think X-Men The Last Stand had just done two or three post-credit scenes. It was kind of the first ones that did that. We did a concept piece of like a King Alien that looked kind of like a dinosaur and it wasn’t necessarily to be like taken as a literal King Alien but just would be something big and cool and so yeah they started kind of brainstorming off of that but I don’t think there was ever any real treatment or anything done for that.

So I just opened up a folder that was January 11th, 2007 and it says AvP3 pitch. It was set two decades after the last film. The world’s moved on towards a unified hegemonic Federation dominated by Weyland-Yutani. They’ve developed their space travel tech based on the plasma tech and the Predator gun at the end of AvP2. They’re now able to travel enormous distances in space and there’s plans for colonization. The only problem is that the fuel for this plasma tech is based on a rare mineral found only in southern part of Africa. It’s the world’s last free continent.

It’s filled with intense civil strife. Last bastion of independence from this corporate hegemony. Rebels and foreigners have flocked there looking to withstand the globalization. Global warming is throwing the entire climate into chaos. Polar regions are melting decreasing the landmass. Africa is searing with an intense and for unforgiving heat so our heroes consist of a native South African named Kim Bay was a tribal leader of a small village of people, a beautiful UN peacekeeper named Rina and finally a rebel leader from the former UK named Devlin. He runs a rebel training camp near the natives’ village and they have an uneasy relationship.

 Liam O'Donnell Interview

Predator takes on bear in Predator: Primal.

So that’s like my first kind of set up for what it would be. Definitely futuristic. It was all very short-lived so that would be like January and we’re in post and that there was some fun stuff to be had with like you’re saying animals… you’ve got lions so there was a lot of fun. Jungle battles and like the Serengeti and stuff like that. So that was an idea but it didn’t really get anywhere but the stuff that they were kind of talking at the time was not that pitch. They were thinking more Predator homeworld colony; special ops team armed with Predator guns; trying to fight back sort of deal.

I think because the Predator homeworld came in during post right. Like just that extra set up and shot was not… before in the script the Wolf just kind of showed up with the cleaner thing so once the Predator homeworld came in then it was like “Okay well everybody wants to see space again. If you do an AvP3, it’s got to be in space and Greg and Colin wanted to do a special ops team with Marines so that became kind of like the nickel pitch of what it would have been but no one really put pen to paper on that version.

Aaron: Before we do disappear, is there anything that you’d like to share? Any anecdotes? Any stories? Any thoughts that we just haven’t given you the opportunity to say?

No, I mean I guess I just say thank you to you guys. One for having me on but two for creating AvPGalaxy. I just remember all the interactions with guys like SiL back in the day. He’s a smart guy. I remember going through and it was a good fertile playground for people kind of explaining why they love the things they loved and I think it’s cool that it still exists and good for you guys for keeping it going this long.

Now Shane Black’s The Predator is coming up so there’s still something happening which is amazing because for a while there, the saddest feeling about the AvPR release was like “Did we just kill our two favorite creatures?” I remember when Prometheus was coming out, I might have even tweeted like if AvP2 is a huge success, this would not be happening right now. There would have been a there would have been an AvP3 and who knows if Ridley never came back so in some ways, you’re welcome.

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