Our production of The Predator marked a major turning point in this franchise, serving as a reboot and updating of the original concept for today’s audiences. One of the key challenges was to strike a balance between paying homage to the classic Predator movies while also offering something fresh and new. Our director Shane Black, who co-wrote the original Predator film, brought a unique perspective to the project, infusing it with his signature brand of humour and wit. Did you know that Shane not only co-wrote the original 1987 Predator, but he also played one of the poor soldiers named Hawkins who didn’t quite make it to the end of the movie?
One of my main sets was the interior of the Predator spaceship. We tried to come up with the design concept for this ship using 3D models and illustrations. But none of it stuck. It was not until our talented production designer Martin Whist, who has a background in sculpting, sculpted the design in his mind out of foam that we had our concept design. Analog wins! The next step was to scan the model and translate it into a 3D model so that we can produce construction drawings to actually build it full size.
Our 3D set designers Andrew McConnell and Stevo Bedford meticulously crafted the spaceship hull and cockpit in Maya. We decided to use traditional sculpting methods to sculpt the main hull out of huge blocks of EPS foam. The cockpit was milled out of foam using our 3D models. It was a long labourious process but the results were spectacular thanks to our amazing sculpting and paint crews.
When we did reshoots for this movie, we had to rebuild the spaceship again! This time we CNC’ed the entire set using large multi-axis CNC milling machines. The results were the same but it was much quicker and cost-effective. Digital wins this time.