Having already revealed that the movies of filmmaker Terrence Malick were an inspiration for Hulu's hit new film Prey, director Dan Trachtenberg has pulled back the curtain even more on the Predator film, confirming that Jackie Chan's movies also served as an influence. Speaking an interview with The Filmcast, Trachtenberg spoke at length about casting actress Amber Midthunder for the film's lead role and how he made her watch a lot of movies featuring the Hong Kong martial artist and film superstar, specifically with how he carries himself physically and helps communicate key pieces of information about his characters without saying a word.
"We referenced a lot of Jackie Chan," Trachtenberg revealed. "I've definitely felt very uncomfortable every time I brought it up, because she was like, 'Why are we still talking about Jackie Chan?' I just kept making her watch the movies. The thing I kept on showing her--do you remember in Armour of God, he's chewing on gum and he throws the gum against the back and it bounces back into his mouth? And it's like, 'Oh yeah, this guy's like, cool and he's capable of things.' It was such a challenge with her to find a way in which you believe that she's not a zero, she's not the nerd who becomes the hero. She's starting at a place where there is physical competence, but she is not all the way there. She's got to earn her stress she's got to earn her stripes, she's got to go through some sh-t."
He continued, "So for me it was like how can there be just something in her physicality that feels like she does feel there is a capability but that isn't like 'I'm the most badass that ever badass.' So it's in the little touches of like she flips the tomahawk up and cuts, that was kind of the main Jackie Chan influences. That and her sliding down the mountain and kicking off. So even in little moments there's just a little bit of swashbuckle to it that you just believe her physical center. So that was the whole point of me making her watch a million Jackie Chan movies was just like those two things."
Trachtenberg also noted that using Chan as an influence on the movie was him "throwing down the gauntlet" for his lead actress, challenging her to do the movements and physicality on set so that it could be seen on camera that it was her and not a stunt double. Chan's influence did present a unique problem though, because the film couldn't really depict traditional martial arts moves without standing out from the rest of its authenticity to the region and time.
Prey is now streaming on Hulu.