Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What happened to the cast of Predator?

I’ve seen a lot of movies in my life.

Some of them have been great works of art. Some of them have been duds. Others would fall into my other category...BADASS.

My BADASS movie category includes such films as Die Hard, Time Bandits, Aliens, Rocky 3, First Blood, Fight Club, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Wanted: Dead of Alive (starring Rutger Hauer and Gene Simmons).

But, by far, the top movie on my BADASS list is Predator.

I was 14-years-old when Predator was released in the theaters in 1987. And, having the strict R-rated policy that I would come to hate in the Ohio Valley, I had to go see it with my mom and dad. When I found this little tidbit out, I quickly called up a couple other horror-junky friends of mine and dragged them along with me. And yep, we sat as far away from my parents as possible.

What followed was two solid hours of kick-ass ultraviolence on screen. I could feel the blood, the sweat and the mud of the film. I could feel the heat of the Central American jungle.

In addition to many one-liners in the film ('If it bleeds we can kill eet' and 'Here I am. Keeeel Meee. Keeeel Meeee') this movie left a permanent scar on my retinas that I simply cannot get of my mind to this day.

Just like The Goonies, every single time Predator is on television, I have to watch it. It’s like I’m transfixed. Almost like a mid-western wife watching American Idol.

This movie has left such an impact on me that I still don’t use shaving cream when I shave - just like Bill Duke’s character in the movie. Also, when I hike, I’m always scanning the trees with hopes of catching a chameleon-like alien out of the corner of my eye.

The other day, on my way to work, I was listening to Jesse Ventura on the Opie and Anthony radio show. Suddenly, my mind reverted back to the movie. Then I started to wonder about the rest of the cast.

Where are they? What have they been up to since the release of that kick-ass 80's film?

Well, to answer your questions, look no further than here. Starting with the most famous actor of them all…

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Probably one of the most recognizable actors in the film, Schwarzenegger, who played ring leader Dutch, went on to star in 17 more movies after Predator including Terminator 2, True Lies and the god-awful Jingle All the Way. He also had a bit part in the movie The Rundown with The Rock, which people took as a handing over of the action crown to the former wrestler. In addition to his acting duties, every Spring the former Mr. Universe still flies back to Columbus, Ohio, to pimp his annual Arnold Classic Sports Festival. Oh, and after announcing his intentions during a broadcast of The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno, Schwarzenegger was elected the governor of California in 2003 on the Republican ticket. In addition to a possible run for the California Senate seat in 2010, it's rumored that Ahnuld will make an appearance in the fourth Terminator film directed by McG and starring Christian Bale.

Jesse Ventura
Ventura, who played the 'I ain’t got time to bleed' machine-gun toting Blain in his first film role, appeared in 17 more films including an upcoming 2008 film called Woodshop. The former Navy SEAL and professional wrestler was also hired as host for the failed XFL Enterprise, served as a referee at a World Wrestling Federation match and published several books including Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me, released last month. Oh yeah, he was also elected mayor of Brook Park, Minnesota in 1990 followed by governor of Minnesota in 1998 on the Reform Pary ticket where he served one term and opted out of re-election. TRIVIA: Ventura appeared in two other Schwarzenegger movies including The Running Man and Batman & Robin.

Director John McTiernan
After Predator, McTiernan had a string of successful movies including the untouchable Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, The 13th Warrior (some may disagree) and The Thomas Crown Affair. We’ll forgive him for Rollerball and Last Action Here. (At least I will.) In April of 2006, McTiernan was sentenced to four months in federal prison for lying to the FBI about hiring private eye Anthony Pellicano to wiretap a producer. After a five-year filmmaking absence (his last film was 2003's Basic starring John Travolta), McTiernan is set to go behind the camera with four movies currently in pre-production.

Shane Black
A gifted screenwriter, Black - who played the bespectacled Hawkins in the movie - gave us the characters of Riggs and Murtaugh from the Lethal Weapon series. In addition he went on to write a number of other screenplays including geek-favorite The Monster Squad, Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Last Boy Scout, which was one of the highest selling screenplays at the time. After a 10-year hiatus from acting and writing which, according to a story in Entertainment Weekly was due to a bout of depression, Black returned in 2005 with his writing and directing debut Kiss, Kiss Bang Bang starring Val Kilmer and Robert Downey Jr.

Jim Thomas and John Thomas
The Thomas Brothers, who wrote the Predator screenplay, went on to write Predator 2, Executive Decision, Wild Wild West, Mission to Mars and received a story credit for Behind Enemy Lines starring Luke Wilson and Gene Hackman. Although they’ve been fairly quiet in the screenwriting department, they also received credit (and I’m sure some dough) for the two Alien vs. Predator films. Neither brother has any upcoming projects listed in the near future. To be honest, I couldn’t find too much about these guys at all even searches for upcoming novels came up nada. They must be counting their money somewhere.

Sonny Landham
Landham, an American Indian who played the role of tracker Billy, appeared in 16 movies including Carl Weathers’ Action Jackson and Sylvester Stallone’s Lock Up and a number of B-movies. Although credited for a role in 2007’s low-budget flick Disintegration, Landham retired from acting in the 90’s and became a paralegal in Ashland, KY. Like Ventura and Schwarzenegger, the former 70’s porn star (you heard it right) threw his hat into the ring in a bid to become Governor of Kentucky in 2003. Sadly, Landham lost. Now, he spends his time serving as president of the Sonny Landham Foundation and speaking at various engagements across the United States.

Bill Duke
Duke, who played the dry-shaving Mac, is still making a fairly successful living in the movie business. After Predator, Duke has acted in 34 movies most notably Menace 2 Society, Payback (with Mel Gibson) and Action Jackson (starring Predator-actor Carl Weathers with Predator side-kick Landham). In 2008, Duke directed Not Easily Broken and is in the pipeline to star in one movie and direct another in 2008. Duke also directed a number of television series including Miami Vice and Matlock and a handful of films including A Rage in Harlem, The Cemetery Club, Deep Cover (a personal favorite) and the meh-incuding Sister Act 2. He was appointed to the National Endowment of the Humanities by former president Bill Clinton and has also been appointed to the California State Film Commission Board by Predator Governor Schwarzenegger. In addition, he currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the American Film Institute. Trivia: Prior to Predator, Duke also appeared in Schwarzenegger’s Commando.

Carl Weathers
Known to some as Apollo Creed from the Rocky series and as Chubbs Peterson from Happy Gilmore, Weathers - who played the deceitful Dillon in the movie - went on to act in a bevy of TV series and films including an In The Heat of the Night TV series and, most recently, the stupid-sports comedy The Comebacks. In 1988, Lorimar Film Entertainment tried to make him a franchise name with the entertaining, but equally horrible, Action Jackson where he played a tough Detroit cop who goes after a sociopathic car manufacturer. He also played himself in the underrated comedy series Arrested Development. Currently, Weathers is doing some acting and is a principal of Red Tight Media, a film and video production company that specializes in tactical training films made for the United States armed forces.

Kevin Peter Hall
In addition to playing the Sasquatch in the 1987 comedy Harry and the Hendersons and the short-lived 1991 TV series of the same name, Hall – who played The Predator - appeared in a number of films requiring a big guy including Big Top Pee Wee and Star Trek, The Next Generation. In 1990, he reprised his role as the 7-foot tall alien in the sequel Predator 2. Sadly, Hall died on April 10, 1991, from an AIDS-related illness as a result of contracting HIV from a contaminated blood transfusion. He was 35 years old. His last film was the somewhat enjoyable horror film Highway to Hell, which was released after his death. Trivia: Hall can be seen in the first Predator without costume as the helicopter pilot at the end of the film.

RG Armstrong
Even though he had a long, versatile career, Armstrong - who played General Phillips in the flick – is more popularily known as spooky Lewis Vandredi in the Friday the 13th TV series. In addition to playing Prunefrace in Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, he also appeared in a number of television shows including Silk Stalkings, Milennium and L.A. Law among others. He finally retired after six successful decades in show business, with his last film appearance in 2001’s B-movie The Waking. TRIVIA: You may have also recognized Armstrong as the old man in Metallica’s Enter Sandman video.

Elipida Carrillo
The only female actress in the entire movie. Carrillo - who played Anna - went on to star in a number of American and Spanish television shows and movies including Salvador where she acted alongside James Woods, the underrated Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, Steven Soderbergh’s Solaris and the controversial comedy A Day Without A Mexican. Currently, Carillo is filming the movie Seven Pounds starring Will Smith and directed by Gabriele Muccino (The Pursuit of Happyness). TRIVIA: Carrillo reprised her role as Anna in Predator 2, starring Danny Glover. She can be seen in a brief appearance on a video screen where she shows the damage to the Central American jungle caused by the explosion at the conclusion of the first film.

Richard Chaves
After Predator, Chaves, who played Poncho in the film, got another career boost as the role of Lt. Colonel Ironhorse in the War of the Worlds TV series. However, his character was killed off in the second season, which sparked an uproar in the small, but mighty, War of the Worlds geekdom. An American Indian, vietnam veteran and playwright who wrote the highly acclaimed Tracers, Chaves is currently acting in a straight to DVD movie from the Left Behind series titled Lost Warrior. He also has his own fan club and appears at a number of science fiction and comic-book conventions around the country.


Anonymous said...

I have to rank predator on my badass list too.
It was made even more badass because it was the first movie I ever snuck into seeing at the theatre.

Anonymous said...

As an update on Sonny Landham: He lives in my hometown Ashland, KY. I saw him at the hospital the other day and it seems he fathered a kid the same time we had our son last month. Saw him a couple of times in the hall, man he looks old and rough!

Your Finest Eimer said...

Thanks for update on Sonny.