The mysterious reasons Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired from ‘Predator’

The mysterious reasons Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired from ‘Predator’

Did someone say that they wanted more Predator content? No? Well, you’re going to get some anyway, you ungrateful squirts, as Disney will shortly be releasing the prequel movie, Prey. An origin story set in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago, the film sees Nara, a fierce female warrior, protect her tribe against the horrifying cosmic threat, using rudimentary tools to fight off the technologically advanced race of fighters.

Relying on the many movies that precede it, Prey is banking on the fandom of a franchise that kicked off 35 years ago, with the original movie capturing the imagination of sci-fi and horror lovers across the globe.

Tracking a team of commandos on a mission judi slot in a Central American jungle, the titular Predator is a fierce extraterrestrial warrior with an array of special abilities that helps it to become the ultimate killing machine. These skills are no match for Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, with his character, Dutch, making it out of the fray in the thrilling climax, leaving the bodies of his fellow soldiers in the forest.

Also starring the likes of Carl Weathers, Bill Duke and Shane Black, the film’s leading actor in Schwarzenegger was almost matched like-for-like by the action hero Jean-Claude Van Damme who was initially cast to play the fierce cosmic villain. This was until an unfortunate minor medical condition led to the actor being unfairly fired from the celebrated movie, a decision that seems all the more unjust decades later.

Speaking in an interview with Murder Master Music Show, actor Bill Duke stated that the actor was fired from the project due to him continuously experiencing dehydration and aggravating the producer as a result.

“So he had a stealth suit on, and they put him on wires, and he flew up in the trees with the wires on his back like he was flying,” Duke told the show before adding, “He had passed out twice from dehydration, and the producer came over to him and said, ‘If you pass out again, I’m gonna fire you’.”

Exasperated, Van Damme replied, “I’m not passing out on purpose! I’m dehydrated!” the action star managed to hold out quite well following this encounter. Though, as Duke further details, “Two weeks go by, and the guy passes out. The producer goes over and fires him”.

Though strangely, the story doesn’t end there, as whilst this tale is popularly believed to be true, it is also joined by several other stories from the set of the film that paints Van Damme in a curious light. Whilst he was indeed dehydrated on the set of the film, a second account from the special effects supervisor Joel Hynek, reveals how he was also fired for refusing to stop kick-boxing on the set of the film.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter on the film’s 30th anniversary, Hynek stated, “I was in Joel Silver’s trailer, and he had called for Jean-Claude to come see him. And he comes in the trailer, and Joel starts saying, ‘You gotta stop kickboxing!’ — because [Jean-Claude] wanted to kickbox — and he was telling him, ‘Look, the Predator is not a kickboxer’”. Replying in his unique tone of voice, the actor quipped back, “I must do that; that’s how I see the Predator,” before the producer walked in and bluntly stated, “Well, you’re fired. Get out of here”. What did Van Damme spit in response? “Kiss my balls”.

If you thought that was all, then you’d be wrong. The third and final reason Van Damme was reportedly booted off the film is that he broke a $20,000 prop of Predator’s head. As the stunt coordinator Craig Baxley further recalled to the publication, Van Damme was dressed in a costume that the production team had “spent an absolute fortune on” and got all hot and bothered. Freaking out, the actor “took off this $20,000 head and threw it on the ground, and it shattered. And Joel said, ‘What the f— are you doing!’ And he told Jean-Claude, ‘You’ll never work in Hollywood again! Get off my set!’ So that was it”.

So, which story is real? We truly hope it’s a sprinkling of all three, with the kick-boxing action hero getting all dehydrated after destroying an expensive piece of kit. Either way, it’s a shame we never got to see him in high-flying action. The mysterious reasons Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired from ‘Predator’.


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