Adrien Brody talks “Predators” training and his love for the original film

By Sean O’Connell How will we remember the Summer 2010? Will it be characterized as the summer “Toy Story” triumphantly launched its Best Picture-winning campaign? Or the season in which “Twilight” cemented its status as Hollywood’s most lucrative franchise?

I’ll likely remember this summer as the period during which we were forced to re-live the 1980s. “The Karate Kid” kicked his way back into theaters. “The A-Team” saddled up for another explosive adventure. And more mercenaries plunged into the jungle to face off with Predators from another planet.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nowhere to be found in Nimrod Antal’s updated “Predators,” though. In his place is bad-ass Adrien Brody, star of such action-packed muscle thrillers as “The Brothers Bloom,” “The Darjeeling Limited” and “The Pianist.”

OK, Brody’s not the first choice you’d think of to play the hero in a Predator film. But Brody is a HUGE “Predator” fan, and when we spoke to him yesterday about the film — which finally opens on July 9 — he referenced all of these subtle homages to original “Predator” that he forced Antal to squeeze into their new film.

“There’s a moment where I added a bit where I pull out a knife of mine and stab an insect,” Brody told Hollywood News. “It’s a reference to the original when they stab the scorpion. That wasn’t in the script or in the scene. It was just something that I did. And I had asked Nimrod to try and include it, but he told me he wasn’t sure if they would spend the money on putting in an insect. But they did! [Laughs] It worked. It’s cool to have that in the film.”

In the film, Brody plays Royce, a soldier who’s transported to an alien planet where he and several other mercenaries are hunted by the legendary Predator crature. The Oscar winner discussed the challenges of shooting in this hostile environment for 50-plus days.

“It was especially (challenging) for me because I’d gotten permission to live in the jungle,” he said. “I lived in a one-room bungalow on the back of this property and essentially never left unless I was going to train or eat with the guys every once in a while.”

While in isolation, Brody said he studied military guides, paramilitary manuals, Army field guides on impromptu weapon building and trapping. I asked him if he ever reached a point where all of that training had to be stripped away so that he could manifest a character who had been scared out of his wits.

“No, because the whole point is to create a character who isn’t scared out of his mind,” Brody replied. “Fear is a natural reaction to dangerous situations. The thing that I feel differentiates a leader from a follower or a victim is what you do with that fear, how you use it to either propel you or paralyze you. And Royce is definitely a leader.”

Will audiences follow? We’ll find out when Nimrod Antal’s “Predators” opens in theaters July 9.

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