When news broke that Adrien Brody won Predators‘ lead role of Royce, a badass mercenary drop-shipped to an alien planet along with seven other lethal characters as game for the alien hunters, the Internet reacted as it does to everything: negatively. Apparently only a marble-mouth Austrian bodybuilder and the dude who’s always too old for this shit meet the manly man criteria required to slay a creature with a face that resembles a certain part of the female anatomy, of which I am far too gentlemanly to say aloud.
Everyone involved with Predators knows Brody isn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger (or even Danny Glover). That was the point.
“We tried to go against the grain,” said director Nimrod Antal, obviously weary of the issue. “We thought casting a physically ‘Schwarzenegger-esque’ character would have done the original film a disservice and would have done this film a disservice because we are not trying to remake or copy the original filmâ€¦ I can make anyone look tough. What I can’t do is teach them to act.”
And act, Brody can. He’s got the golden hardware in his trophy case to prove it. Yet, for those paying attention, Brody held his own on the action front quite well against a giant gorilla in Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
Regardless, a disconnect exists between Brody’s stringy frame and the Hollywood image of a body-count accumulating commando. So the line of questioning for almost everyone involved with the film touched on Brody’s physique.
“Ask him to take his shirt off. It will blow you mind,” Antal said.
“At least a six-pack,” Brody joked when discussing the additional 20 pounds of muscle gained since his previous film. “In any role I play it is important to look the partâ€¦ I feel that you open up a newspaper and see any images of GIs today, they are more my build than anything.”
Walton Goggins, who plays an infamous mass murderer abducted agrees. “Where we’ve come as a culture, we want to see ourselves reflected in our heroes. Unfortunately, most of us don’t look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. We don’tâ€¦ We look like we’re between Adrien Brody and John Goodman. Really, that’s the American side and that’s the people that I want to see save the planet.”
Really, it doesn’t matter what Brody looks like with his shirt off. This isn’t Twilight. Sporting a knuckle hair cut, heavy khaki clothes, an olive flak jacket, and a face smeared in grime and fake blood, Brody sells you on the idea he won’t take guff from any liver-spotted extraterrestrial. His posture is rigid and he looks as solid as a steel construction beam.
Iconic character actor Danny Trejo, who plays a machine-gun wielding drug cartel enforcer, removes the physical perspective from the Brody versus Schwarzenegger debate. “I know Arnold was great with his muscles, but Adrien just blows him out of the water with his mind. I’ve watched him act and just even when he’s acting you almost hear his brain.”
Without a doubt, Schwarzenegger casts a long shadow over the Predator franchise. “Everybody does an Arnold impression,” according to Goggins. And sure enough everyone from Brody to Alice Braga, who plays a sniper and the only female character in the story, tossed out impromptu Schwarzenegger quotes from the original film (“Get to da choppa!” being the favorite).
Yet, the presence of Schwarzenegger could evolve into something more tangible. Since a CGI Schwarzenegger showed up in last summer’s Terminator Salvation and the real flesh-and-blood thing makes a brief appearance in the upcoming The Expendables, the question of a cameo in Predators haunts everyone.
Obviously, the filmmakers have reached out to the California governor. Yet everyone was cagey when asked about it. “None of us know the answer to that question,” said Goggins. “That’s a rumor that’s been floating around since, I think, before I even came on board. No one will either confirm or deny that, but God, it would be nice if he would.”
“No comment,” was Antal’s response.
“Can’t say,” according to Producer Robert Rodriguez. “If you can’t make it happen, you can’t make it happenâ€¦We don’t feel like we have to do it.”
Fox Studios and Troublemaker Studios graciously allowed RopeofSilicon to visit the set of Predators in Austin, Texas, last winter. Stay tuned throughout the week for our 4-part series. Click here for Part One and look for Part Three tomorrow on the little parcel of Hell built in Texas.