It nearly happened - JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME as the PREDATOR - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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It nearly happened - JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME as the PREDATOR

Rob McCarthy takes a look at how the 1987 movie Predator could've turned out.

After reading Tom's look back at Predator yesterday, it reminded me of something - Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally cast as the Predator! Yes, before Kevin Peter Hall played the legendary bloodthirsty alien, the muscles from Brussels was the creature out to get Schwarzenegger and his gang.

In the picture above you can see Carl Weathers and JCVD in between takes. Van Damme is wearing the arm of the Predator suit, which was quite different from the one we now know. It was envisioned to have backward bent reptilian legs and a very different head. (below)

At the time Van Damme had yet to get his first 'big' break, it was the year before Bloodsport, and he'd really only been getting bit parts, like as a dancer in the 1984 film Breakin'. Van Damme believed he would be performing his martial arts skills and fighting Schwarzenegger, when he discovered otherwise he was furious. He was even more angry when he saw the red suit he had to wear for the 'invisible' special effect. (below)

That really is a genuine picture, Jean-Claude Van Damme is inside that! The FX crew would've made him 'disappear' later, but as special effects artist Steve Johnson said "our Predator didn't work", so Van Damme himself disappeared and the Predator was recast, the rest is history.

Johnson, recently gave an interview about Van Damme's involvement and included some rare footage of JCVD running around the jungle in the red suit, it's worth watching for that alone, but also to hear him recount how Van Damage was either misinformed, or just a bit deluded, and believed he was cast as much more than just a stunt man.

Source: Stan Winston School

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