The ’80s action classic Predator is getting the reboot treatment from 20th Century Fox.
But before some purists cry foul, they should know that this reboot comes with an interesting attachment: Shane Black, the venerable screenwriter behind Lethal Weapon and writer-director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3.
Black will write the treatment for the project, then will hand over scripting duties to Fred Dekker, his university chum with whom he wrote 1987’s Monster Squad. Black will oversee the writing and is also attached to direct.
John Davis, who produced the original with Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon, is producing the reboot.
Predator is the muscle-bound action 1987 movie that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura as commandos being stalked in a jungle by a fearsome alien. John McTiernan directed the film, which was one of the movies that cemented Schwarzenegger’s star power.
Black actually appeared in a minor role in the original movie and how he became involved is part of Hollywood lore.
When Predator was being made in 1986, Black was already a screenwriting prodigy for his Lethal Weapon and Monster Squad scripts. The studio and producers wanted him to polish the script for Predator, which was then in pre-production. Black turned it down. A few weeks later, they approached him again. Once more, Black said no. Another few weeks went by, and then the studio called again. This time, however, he was told there was a small role in the movie and asked whether he would like to have it. Black said yes.
When he arrived to the South American set, the studio execs and producers greeted him and said, "By the way, would you mind taking a look at the script?" Black replied, "I’m still not rewriting it."
Fox has found ways to keep Predator alive since its initial outing. There was a Schwarzenegger-less sequel, Predator 2, in 1990. Robert Rodriguez produced an installment of the franchise, Predators, in 2010. Fox also combined it with its Alien franchise for a couple of Alien vs. Predator movies released in 2004 and 2007, respectively.
Fox exec Matt Reilly is overseeing the reboot. Davis Entertainment's Ira Napoliello is also overseeing.
This is proving to be a busy time for Black. He is trying to put together a cast for The Nice Guys, a 1970s crime movie that was originally earmarked for television. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are circling the project, which is being produced by Silver but has no home just yet, and that could shoot this fall.
Black is also very actively developing Doc Savage, the adaptation of the 1930s pulp hero for Sony. He recently met with Chris Hemsworth for the title role, but it’s unclear when that project would shoot since it’s still grappling with budgetary issues. Sony, however, does consider Savage one of its priorities.