Jean-Claude Van Damme's Original Predator Was Hilarious And Disturbing
Did you know that Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally going to play the iconic alien in Predator? Did you know that if he had, it probably never would have been the iconic movie it is today? That's because before producers turned to the FX legend Stan Winston for help, the original Predator looked more like something out of Sesame Street on crack than an terrifying alien hunter.
The original Van Damme suit is revisited in all its glory in this new video from Stan Winston's School of Character Arts. Steve Johnson, who worked on the special effects team for Predator, tells of the moment they first saw the designs for the alien beast.
"They were awful," Johnson says of the designs. "It was ahead of its time, lets put it that way, but the head did suck."
And boy, he wasn't wrong. The head looked like a Platypus cloning experiment gone wrong, but while the effects team were underwhelmed, the man who had to wear the costume was livid. Jean-Claude Van Damme, who Johnson says was fresh off the boat into Hollywood, was not aware that his role would be limited to hopping around the jungle in a freakish red gimp suit. Of course, the suit was only red to create the cloaking effect, but that didn't make Van Damme feel any better about it.
It's quite staggering the difference that Winston's designs made. Instead of becoming a laughing stock of 80's Hollywood, Predator became a movie that quickly garnered a cult following and spawned multiple sequels and video game spin-offs...thanks in no small part to the design work of the late Stan Winston.
Winston's special effects career spanned 5 decades and included sci-fi classics such as Terminator, Alien and Galaxy Quest.