Jean-Claude Van Damme Clarifies Why He Really Left 'Predator'

One behind-the-scenes detail that many fans know about the original Predator is that action star Jean-Claude Van Damme was originally hired to bring the extra-terrestrial hunter to life, only to ultimately part ways with the project. While some crew members have claimed it was Van Damme's attitude that led to him getting fired, the actor himself claimed that it was when he was encouraged to perform difficult and unsafe maneuvers that he was replaced.

"I go to this place and they put me on sticks and woods and they start to melt all the cast on me, and it's boiling hot. I like to breathe, you know? They've got to do my head and everything," Van Damme recalled to The Hollywood Reporter about the process of creating a cast to design the predator suit to fit. "I've got my friend next to me and I said, 'Man, I ain't going to make it.'"

He added, "They put in my mouth a tube, and at that time I was just a stand guy. I was covered in that cast for at least 20 minutes."

The character's costume went through various incarnations, with the ultimate design being much more humanoid than the original planned costume, which was much more insectoid. This early costume required the actor to wear stilts on the muddy jungle terrain.

"My feet were in these casts. When [producer] Joel [Silver] asked me to jump, I knew it was going to be a bad one. I said, 'This is impossible, Joel. I think we're going to have a problem.' Then he replaced me," Van Damme claimed. "The guy who did my stunts, something bad happened to him and then they did the more safe outfit."

When speaking with Yahoo!, the actor elaborated on how uncomfortable the suit was.

"When the outfit came in, I was restrained of all those jumps. I was just a guy in a rubber suit. I thought at that time, 'I'm gonna be The Predator,'" Van Damme explained. "It was a nightmare, because the outfit was made of rubber and it was so hot in Mexico. People pass[ing] out without the outfit. And I was there sweating water. And then they put some sort of tube for air conditioning. It was too cold. Too hot, too cold."

The film's director, John McTiernan, had a slightly different recollection of how Van Damme left the film, though these issues still stemmed from the actor's displeasure with the film's costume.

"We never shot anything with him," McTiernan previously explained to CinemaBlend. "It was a complete screw up with his agent, trying to hustle him into a job and didn't know what the movie was. It's silly. It was really silly."

Stay tuned for details on the future of the Predator franchise.

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