In “The Predator,” a reboot of the franchise that started with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original 1987 action movie, actor Boyd Holbrook takes the lead as Quinn McKenna, a former Army Ranger who goes to battle alongside a team of ex-soldiers in a fight for their lives against a group of the extraterrestrial title characters.
During an interview with me this past week, Holbrook, who is featured as one of the main antagonists in “Logan” and in the Netflix series “Narcos,” talked to me about starring in a film with a built-in fanbase, movie reboots and whether or not we should take President Trump’s proposed Space Force seriously.
Prior to our interview, I was asked not ask questions that did not pertain to the movie or Holbrook’s career. This included questions about the controversial scene that was cut from the film, which included actor Steve Wilder, a friend of director Shane Black, who is a registered sex offender in real life. When actress Olivia Munn found out about Wilder’s criminal history after the film was completed, she asked for his scene be cut from the final film. The studio granted her request.
Besides “Logan,” this is the only film you’ve starred in that already comes with a built-in franchise history. Do these types of films put more pressure on you as an actor to get it right since there is already a fanbase eager to see what you all come up with?
Yeah, I guess so. I mean, at this scale, there are budgets, so there is obvious pressure financially. Creatively, I leave a lot up to the film gods. We definitely tried. We had a fun time and a good crew and cast. We tried to make [the movie] new and exciting and reinvent it.
What do you think should be the basis for rebooting a franchise in Hollywood these days? Of course, there are no written rules for when a studio can reboot something. Is it all a matter of having someone like director Shane Black come in with a new vision for the story? Is that all it should take?
Absolutely. It’s like a play. Plays are put up in different cities with different actors and people enjoy them just the same. I think with [“The Predator”], it was Shane Black and his vision. We’re all here because of the original version. He had a lineage and linkage to the original film (Black played the character Hawkins in the 1987 film). He was a part of that. As he’s grown as a filmmaker, he came back and had his own vision three decades later.
So, if your military team and Schwarzenegger’s team from 1987 were dropped in the same jungle to fight the Predators, which team would have the most survivors at the end?
Obviously, my team. Which do you think?
We’ll yours has more brains and Schwarzenegger’s has more muscle.
Yeah, buff don’t mean tough.
Speaking of buff, did you get a chance to reenact that famous handshake between Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers from the original movie?
Oh, yeah. We were always trying to throw in little homages and anecdotes to recall the original film. We were always trying to do something.
I don’t know if you believe in life on other planets, but is the idea that Predators actually exist somewhere in the universe justification enough to take President Trump’s proposed Space Force seriously?
Listen, if there is a Space Force and they’re spending a billion dollars on it, I think you need to take it seriously and look into it a little more. That will be the ultimate war. I think there is life out there. We’re finding bacteria on Mars. I’m fairly confident in saying there’s probably life out there somewhere.
I have to go back to “Logan” really quick. In my opinion, I thought that film transcended what superhero movies had been about for the last 30 years. Did you know you were making something so different while you were shooting that film?
I knew we were doing something where we could see what those claws were really capable of. I knew that it was going to change the dynamic [of superhero movies] quite radically. I knew we had a great script and then, obviously, the great direction by James Mangold.
What are you looking for in career in Hollywood? Is there something specific you’d like to do that you haven’t done yet?
I want to have a well-rounded career. I started out doing indies. I’ll always do indies. I want to jump into the big vehicles sometimes, too. I want to do love stories and comedies and action movies. You have to shake it up and never get comfortable. I’m excited about the things I’ve done and for the things that are coming out. I’m never going to get comfortable.