Olivia Munn is talking football while her co-star Boyd Holbrook sits quietly beside her on a couch in a 5-star hotel not far from the Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid where Real Madrid play.
“There was a game on and we didn’t get to see it?” she quips playfully. “Thanks Spain”
Holbrook’s a strong silent type, and in real life seems decidedly unlike what you would expect from an action adventure star who is kicking butt and breathing life into The Predator — the fourth movie to feature the hunters from the dark side of the galaxy, out in the UAE on September 13.
Forget a preconception that only Arnold Schwarzenegger-types can save humankind from these bigger, upgraded hunters who have evolved by taking the most dangerous DNA from their prey. Playing lead Quinn McKenna, a sniper who is on a personal quest to save his son from the alien with an attitude, Holbrook is more reminiscent of a Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones.
The Predator is a throwback to the 1980s, a real gem in terms of delivering a movie that isn’t dominated by digital imagery to compensate for plot and character.
What’s more, there is an obvious chemistry between these, not of the romantic kind, but based on the knowledge that they, under the directorship of Shane Black, have delivered a really refreshing movie.
“When you think of the 1980s, all the movies stood out,” Munn tells Gulf News tabloid!. “The original Predator says 1980s in a very big way, and I think we’ve paid homage to that.”
She’s no stranger to the comic genre of action movies that are a little overdone now — she starred both in Iron Man 2 and X-Men: Apocalypse and did all her own fighting scenes — but now fully appreciates the efforts of Black in faithfully creating the feel of a 1980s blockbuster.
“I haven’t seen the finished movie yet,” she says.
The Predator debuted at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival on September 16.
“I did turn down the role originally,” adds Munn. Black managed to convince her to reconsider. She eventually did, taking on the role of a disgruntled evolutionary scientist Casey Bracket.
She appreciates that the role didn’t result in the inevitable romantic entanglement onscreen. “That’s refreshing, and isn’t formulaic.”
Munn will be glad she made the decision — she and Holbrook are contractually obliged to follow through on a sequel and certainly, given the sheer fun and quality of The Predator, there’s even more success to follow.
Holbrook made his big breakthrough as DEA Agent Steve Murphy in the first two series of Narcos on Netflix. Recently married, he’s also fully aware of the inevitable success The Predator will have.
“I do think that this is the golden age of television and there’s a lot of opportunity out there for actors,” he says.
So far, that success hasn’t gone to his head, and he still used the same coach as in the early stages of his career a decade ago.
Munn is bubbly and certainly sure that there are indeed other life forms out there, somewhere in our galaxy or beyond.
“If you look at what comes up after a tsunami,” she says, adding that we know little about the sea and what lies beneath. “We know more about space than we do our own oceans,” she says.
Holbrook seems unsure, but offers that the book The Day After Roswell by a former US Colonel, Philip J Corso, makes for an interesting read. That’s not the type of comment usually made by action heroes that kill big, bad predators from space. But then he’s not your regular type of cliched action hero either.
Together though, Holbrook and Munn make it click.
Don’t miss it!
The Predator releases in the UAE on September 13.
PREDATOR FILMS: THE STORY SO FAR
A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extraterrestrial warrior.
Director: John McTiernan
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall
Predator 2 (1990)
Amidst a territorial gang war in 1997, a sophisticated alien hunter stalks the citizens of Los Angeles and the only man between him and his prey is veteran LAPD officer Lieutenant Mike Harrigan.
Director: Stephen Hopkins
Stars: Danny Glover, Gary Busey, Kevin Peter Hall
AVP: Alien vs Predator (2004)
Archaeologists and other scientists find themselves caught up in a battle between the two legends. Soon, the team realise that only one species can win.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Lance Henriksen, Raoul Bova