FOR FLIMSY AND UNINTENTIONAL REASONS: Actor Bill Duke Explained Why Jean-Claude Van Damme Was Fired During Predator Movie Production


Actor Bill Duke backs up the claims that Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired from Predator due to the actor experiencing dehydration during production.

Predator actor Bill Duke backs claims that Jean-Claude Van Damme was fired from the movie due to dehydration. Filmed in the jungles of Puerto Vallarta and Palenque, the 1987 classic sci-fi movie, Predator, tells the story of a skilled military rescue team finding themselves hunted by an alien with the ability to camouflage itself. Duke starred as Mac in the film, opposite other big-name Predator actors, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura. Additionally, Kevin Peter Hall played the alien hunter, while Peter Cullen supplied the creature’s voice.


Predator initially received mixed reviews upon its release; however, since then, it’s become known as one of the most celebrated sci-fi movies of all time. Grossing over $98 million at the box office against a $15 million budget, the movie was successful enough to spawn three direct sequels, various video games, countless novels and comic books, and an entire lineup of merchandise. The Predator character would also go on to crossover with another celebrated sci-fi franchise, Alien, in two subsequent movies. While Hall and Cullen helped bring the deadly Predator to life, it seems the film’s creators had another action star pegged to play the character.

In an interview with Murder Master Music Show (via CBR), Duke backed up claims that Van Damme was fired from Predator due to him continuously experiencing dehydration during filming. Duke further explains that Van Damme was originally cast to play the Predator, which would see the alien as “a much smaller creature” than the final version, with the filmmakers planning on putting special effects on Van Damme’s body to create the finished look. However, the actor kept experiencing dehydration while filming in the jungles, to which the movie’s producer ended up firing the action star. View Duke’s full explanation below:

So he had a stealth suit on and they put him on wires and he flew up in the trees with the wires on his back like he was flying. He had passed out twice from dehydration, and the producer came over to him and said, ‘If you pass out again, I’m gonna fire you.’ And the guy said, ‘I’m not passing out on purpose! I’m dehydrated! Two weeks go by, and the guy passes out. The producer goes over and fires him. That person was Jean-Claude Van Damme.”


Besides Van Damme’s mishandled exit, the Predator franchise is also currently experiencing more drama over the film’s rights. Earlier this year, the franchise’s screenwriters, Jim and John Thomas, filed a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company with the aim of “seeking confirmation of successfully recapturing rights to the franchise.” This lawsuit comes as a direct response to Disney’s acquisition of the property’s rights as part of their 20th Century Fox purchase in 2019. While the case won’t kick off until April 2022, Disney is currently hard at work filming a Predator sequel called Skull, which is also expected to release in 2022.

A franchise that has grossed nearly $1 billion worldwide in total revenue is not without its fair share of drama. However, while the Predator hunter has become such an iconic character in pop culture, it’s unfortunate the way Van Damme’s exit was handled. As Duke points out above, Van Damme wasn’t passing out on purpose and was experiencing a real medical issue. With that said, it’s interesting to wonder how Predator would have been received if Van Damme’s smaller version of the creature had been completed.


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