DIRECTORS TURNS AUSTIN AREA INTO AN ALIEN WORLD
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,