Just a couple of days before the final cut of The Predator was due, Twentieth Century Fox got word of some disturbing news regarding one of the actors in Shane Black's upcoming film, and had his scene removed at the last minute.
According to a new report from the Los Angeles Times, Fox deleted a scene featuring actor Steven Wilder Striegel, who the studio recently learned is a registered sex offender.
Striegel, who is a longtime friend of Black's, pleaded guilty in 2010 when faced with allegations that he attempted to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual relationship online. The actor's scene was a small one, and it involved his character repeatedly hitting on Casey Bracket, the character played by Olivia Munn.
On August 15, Munn learned of Striegel's history as a sex offender and notified the studio. Fox took immediate action and had his scene removed from the film.
"Our studio was not aware of Mr. Striegel's background when he was hired," a Fox spokesperson told The Times. "We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors."
While the studio and cast of The Predator didn't know about Striegel's history, the director did, and he chose not to share the information. In fact, this isn't the first one of Black's films to feature an appearance by Striegel. After serving sixth months in jail, Striegel's next film role came in Black's 2013 Marvel Studios blockbuster, Iron Man 3. The actor also had a small part in The Nice Guys, a film Black wrote and directed in 2016.
Black has defended the decision to include Striegel in The Predator.
"I personally chose to help a friend," Black said in a written statement. "I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly." The director added that he has long felt that his friend was "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous."5comments
Munn was obviously one of those who disapproved. The actress said she found it "both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production. However, I am relieved that when Fox did receive the information the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder to release of the film."
The Predator is scheduled to premiere on Thursday night at the Toronto International Film Festival and it hits theaters around the country on September 14.