MME EVENTS: Bill Duke On The ORIGINAL Predator Film

Bill Duke Vs The ORIGINAL Predator: Surviving the Jungle & A Big Star Who Couldn’t Take the Heat!

Bill Duke was only one of several notable panelists during our 2015 X-Perience Morementum Seminar Series, which was held in October 2015 at The Los Angeles Film School.  You can HEAR more of Duke’s filmmaking insights, career advice and how he overcame his own personal struggles by watching our exclusive video highlights.

You might know him best from the original Predator film, but acclaimed actor and director Bill Duke has never restricted himself to one genre. He literally did it all and went from Broadway to Blockbusters. However, as the fierce military character “Mac“, in the iconic sci-fi thriller Predator film, he took his place in cinematic history. A role that could’ve been otherwise overshadowed by all the special effects and the iconic “Predator” creature itself, Duke crafted an unforgettable character, It has stood the test of time; and what happened behind-the-scenes is just as jaw-dropping! You won’t believe which action superstar was suited up to play the “original” “Predator”, but couldn’t take the jungle heat and booted from the role! Duke tells all about the “original” prototype of the “Predator” creature along with other exciting firsthand accounts from this famous franchise!



Kukhautusha Croom (Co-Founder, MoreMentum Entertainment)  How did that raw energy help drive your character and what was it like working with Arnold  Schwarzenegger and the other great actors in that film?

Bill Duke:  It was a great ensemble, you know.  I’ll tell you two short stories, this is true.  We were in the… up in the jungles of Puerta Vallarta, I’m talking about from our hotel, maybe it was an hour drive, and we drove up this road, up the mountain, with no guard-rails and no guard-rails on the side.  This (laughing) hoping the driver’s sober that day (audience laughter) because there’s no guard-rails.  You’re in the jungle…we get our food and there’s bugs in the food, and we would take the food and tell them, “take this crap back, what the hell are you doing…” and so on, but there was no more food, right?  And after the first week, it was called protein.  There was no more food!

Bill Duke:  This is a story that most people don’t know about the Predator filming.  Um, the Predator you saw finally was not the original creature.  It was a totally different creature.  It was smaller, shorter, more ambidextrous, and it had these different legs that were coming out from all parts of its body. It could kill you 360, right?  But they were, they were gonna superimpose the special effects on this…he had this felt suit on, and he had to go through wires…the actor, all through the jungle, you know, and it was like 112, 113 degrees.  I’m telling you, it was ridiculous and with humidity.  And he passed out twice.  When he passed out the second time, Joel Silver, the producer came up and said, “Man, look…I understand but if you pass out again, I’m firing you.”  And the actor said, “I’m not passing out on purpose, I’m dehydrated man… and this suits on me…”  Joel said, “You pass out again, and I’m firing you.”  Two weeks go by, everything’s fine, boom.  (Snaps fingers)  Passes out again.  Joel Silver fires him on the spot.  The name of that actor was Jean-Claude Van-Damme.  (Audience reaction)  True story.  The first job he ever had in America and he and Joel didn’t speak for years.