Bill Duke Knows Why Jean-Claude Van Damme Was Fired From ‘Predator’

'Predator' Jean-Claude Van Damme Bill Duke

As they filmed Predator in the jungles of southern Mexico, Bill Duke and his co-stars were joined by a 26-year-old rising action star who was originally cast as the titular alien beast. “That person was Jean-Claude Van Damme,” Duke reminds us in a recent interview with The Murder Master Music Show.

But according to Duke, Van Damme’s stint on set wasn’t meant to be.

“He had a stealth suit on, they put him in wires, and he flew in the trees with the wires on his back, looking like he was flying. And he passed out twice from dehydration,” Duke explains. “The producer said, ‘If you pass out again I’m gonna fire you!’ Two weeks go by and [he] passes out and the producer goes over and fires him.”

Also Read: The New Predator Film is a Prequel Titled Skull

Eventually, actor Kevin Peter Hall was brought on to embody the creature. But when Van Damme was in the role, Duke says that “the original Predator was a much smaller creature and they were going to put the special effects on his body in post-production.”

Still, Van Damme wasn’t the only person on the production who struggled to brave the elements. With the cast and crew posted up in the jungle for the first week of the shoot, Duke says that some insects native to the area would turn up in the meals they ate between takes.

“The caterer would put netting around the tent and when we would eat we were always finding bugs in our food,” he recalls. “The first few days, we would say, ‘Take this crap back! There’re bugs in it!’ And he would say, ‘Guys, I’m doing the best that I can.’ By the end of that week, the bugs were called protein.”

Duke says the ensemble cast “formed a brotherhood under those circumstances,” and they wished they could’ve stayed on location a little longer. But he admits that their “get in, get out” approach was probably for the best: “Believe me, crawling in the jungle with coral snakes, scorpions, spiders, and other animals trying to bite you… it was a challenge.”



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