Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE -

mid the cal­lous whims of Hollywood, a screen­play can be writ­ten only to gather snow bluffs of dust for years on some ex­ec­u­tive’s shelf. It’s hap­pened to count­less screen­writ­ers, big and small, a kind of tor­ture as one’s toil lan­guishes un­seen. In the mid-’90s, Robert Ro­driguez was tapped by Fox to write an in­stall­ment in the “Preda­tor” sci-fi-thriller fran­chise. His next movie, “Des­per­ado,” a semi-se­quel to his smash low-bud­get won­der “El Mari­achi,” had been stalled by the stu­dio’s fi­nan­cial woes af­ter the colos­sal flop of “The Last Ac­tion Hero.”

Look­ing back at “Preda­tor 2,” a crit­i­cal bomb — the 1990 film, star­ring Danny Glover and Gary Busey, earned a with­er­ing 24-per­cent score at Rot­ten Toma­toes — Ro­driguez pro­posed re­boot­ing the en­tire fran­chise. He wanted to re­turn to the roots of “Preda­tor,” the 1987 Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger cult clas­sic about a group of com­man­dos hunted by a gi­ant, dread­locked crea­ture in the jun­gle.

“I pre­tended that ‘Preda­tor 2’ never ex­isted. There’d be a (load) of Preda­tor crea­tures, back in the jun­gle, not the ur­ban jun­gle as in the se­quel, but an­other planet, giv­ing you the feel­ing of the first film,” Ro­driguez says. In a nod to James Cameron’s “Alien” se­quel,

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