Over the years, the Predator franchise has become known as some of the most beloved horror movies in existence. However, the iconic monster movie‘s production history isn’t without drama. During an interview on the Murder Master Music Show (via Comicbook.com), actor Bill Duke confirmed that Jean-Claude Van Damme, who was originally set to embody the main murderous alien in the ’80s movie, was abruptly fired.
In the first Predator movie, released in 1987, Duke played the part of Sergeant Mac Elliot, joining Arnold Schwarzenegger as one of the unlucky humans trapped in the dense jungle of Vietnam with a dangerous alien hot on their tails. Most of the filming took place in Mexico, and Duke shared what it was like for Van Damme to work in those hot conditions.
“We were in the jungles of Puerto Vallarta and Palenque for a long time,” Duke said. “I don’t know if you know this story or not, but the Predator that you saw was not the original Predator.” The actor went on to explain that Van Damme was scheduled to play a smaller alien than the one we all know, and the reason he was let go from the production was because he kept passing out on set.
“So he had a stealth suit on, and they put him on wires, and he flew up in the trees with the wires on his back like he was flying,” Duke recalled.
“He had passed out twice from dehydration, and the producer came over to him and said, ‘If you pass out again, I’m gonna fire you.’ And the guy said, ‘I’m not passing out on purpose! I’m dehydrated! Two weeks go by, and the guy passes out. The producer goes over and fires him. That person was Jean-Claude Van Damme.”
Although the incident with Van Damme is upsetting, no one can deny the success of the IP despite its reportedly harsh decision-making. The Predator franchise has earned over $443 million worldwide and has recently released the critically acclaimed prequel action movie Prey – sparking huge interest in the series yet again.