The Predator franchise is often associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger when it comes to action icons of the '80s, though Jean-Claude Van Damme briefly starred as the otherworldly hunter in the original film. Larry Fong, the cinematographer on The Predator, recently confirmed the subtle Van Damme Easter egg that only die-hard fans of the franchise's history may have spotted.
Over on Twitter, one fan posted an image from the film (seen below), which Fong then shared and added, "Fun fact: a few of us were intent on having a JCVD Easter egg.
Van Damme was hired to play the original film's villain, though the early design of the creature required the performer to wear a bright-colored insectoid suit. The plan was to use visual effects to remove the suit from scenes to demonstrate the character's cloaking effects, though the cumbersome costume prevented Van Damme from showing off his martial arts abilities, leading him to part ways from the production.
At one point in The Predator, audiences view a group of costumed characters, including one trick-or-treater wearing the iconic red suit. Given how early this concept for the character was abandoned, only fans familiar with the behind-the-scenes development of the franchise would have recognized the suit and its significance.
"We never shot anything with him," director of the original film John 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."
The film's jungle scenes were filmed in Mexico in rugged terrain, making it nearly impossible for Van Damme to demonstrate his physical prowess. The lush greenery also required the suit to be bright red, as it would provide more contrast and allow for the visual effects teams to work their cloaking magic more effectively.
Steve Johnson, a visual effects artist on that film, confirmed in a separate interview, "He was just off the boat from Brussels, he thought he was going to show his martial arts abilities to the world.” Johnson continued, “He thought this was actually the real look of the monster in the movie and he [said] ‘I hate this. I hate this. I hate it. I look like a superhero.’ He was so angry."
The Predator is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.
Did you catch this reference in the new film? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!