The Predator sees writer/director Shane Black returning to a world he first experienced back in 1987 as an actor. In this new film, he’s expanding and exploring the story of the alien hunters and the human beings that must face the threat. With the government attempting to cover up the extent of Predator incursions on Earth, a rag-tag group of military veterans must figure out what is going on and how to save the world – or at least themselves – as the battle spreads from the depths of outer space to once-safe suburbia.
Olivia Munn is a talented actress who began working on television and has successfully segued into cinematic work. She’s known for movies including X-Men: Apocalypse, Magic Mike, and Office Christmas Party. In The Predator, she’s scientist Casey Bracket, dragged into an adventure she might not be quite ready for, but will bring all of her skills to help with. Here, Munn talks getting the part, her own history with Predator movies and the sheer number of spines being ripped out in the film…
Who is Casey Bracket in the movie?
She’s an evolutionary scientist and biologist. In this movie, we have two storylines that merge into one. We’ve got Trevante Rhodes, Boyd Holbrook and Thomas Jane and that group of guys – the soldiers, and their interactions with the Predator. And on the other side, my character has been brought in by the CIA because of her expertise in evolutionary biology to get a better understanding of what they have found. She’s only called if there is a higher life that’s found, and here there is definitely some alien activity.
How did you get involved?
I had actually heard about it before from my reps. They talked to me about it, but I just said no. I wasn’t interested because typically in a big movie like this, I’ll probably go see it, but as an actress, the female role is usually delegated to just being the love interest. But, it ended coming back around, and they said that Shane just wanted to meet. I’m a huge fan of his work and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my all-time favorite movies, so I wanted to meet with him. I really trusted him as a director. He’s a filmmaker that is really collaborative and actually allows you to bring what you want to the character. I read the script and then had another meeting with Shane about some of my thoughts, and he was really receptive to it.
She definitely doesn’t come across as a damsel in distress…
When you’re fighting for your life, you have to shoot, even though nobody wants to be in a position where they have to fight for their life. The guys – they’re soldiers – but I approached this character as a scientist. I’m sure that she’s picked up a gun before… I grew up in a military family so I knew how to shoot guns. Making this movie was not about us finding moments for her to not be a damsel in distress. It just wasn’t on the page; it’s not what we were doing.
Was there much training or preparation for the role?
She’s not a trained athlete or assassin, but I think she’s healthy and physical. We did a lot of gun training and that was really fun. And I loved being able to do that with the guys, learning how to shoot together; every time we did that, I learned all these different techniques and tools and skills. But then I tried to incorporate what my character would do and put a little bit of shakiness into it. In this movie, there’s something really big going on and for her, it’s fascinating. This is something that she’s waited her entire life for – especially as an evolutionary scientist, somebody who studies how creatures evolve and change. And yet this is happening right before her eyes, so, there is a shock and awe value that’s happening. While everyone else is running away from the Predator, she’s running towards the aliens, because she’s fascinated.
Does working on real sets and location help your performance?
It’s very intimidating and visceral. And it really puts you in that space. But that being said, there’s still so much stuff that is put in during post with CG and the VFX and everything that really amps it up for the audiences at home. We get enough that we can allow our performances to be even more real. A movie like this really takes advantage of how great technology is and where we’ve come from, and what we can do with it and how realistic things are. Especially when it comes to like the blood and guts and the destruction and death.
Shane has said it won’t shy away from the violence…
I’m really big on it. I think we’ve gotten so PC that we lose the fun of going to the movies sometimes. For me, the more bloody spines being ripped out, the better!
What is your relationship with the original Predator? How old were you when you first saw it and how cool is it to now be in a Predator movie?
I actually hadn’t seen it! I didn’t see it until a few months before shooting. I mean, I knew of it and maybe I knew some of the catchphrases and lines, but no, I never saw it until I signed up for this movie. What’s really great about this movie is that while it’s technically a sequel, it’s not picking up right where the other movies left off. But at the same time, it’s acknowledging all the previous ones and it’s not pretending like they didn’t happen. And it’s interesting because we have some throwbacks from the very first Predator which I love that Shane was able to incorporate. I really enjoy that. But for me, it wasn’t imperative to have watched that film before I signed on because I knew it would be its own beast. After getting it, I did watch it. And loved it. And I kept saying to Shane, “can we not have a scene where someone has to hide in the mud? Can I go hide in the mud?” Because that’s a genius way to not be discovered by aliens!