The next installment of the Predator franchise -- directed by Shane Black and titled simply The Predator -- is now in the midst of production... but information about the story has only been leaked in drips and drabs. A first look image from a couple weeks ago gave us our first look at the central cast, including Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Olivia Munn, Keegan-Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown and Jacob Tremblay, but we have learned few details about the roles each of them are playing. That remains true for most of the cast, but we can now report a few details that we recently learned about the part being played by Rhodes... a.k.a. Nebraska Williams.
In the wake of Moonlight's Best Picture Oscar win and its release on Blu-ray and DVD, I had the wonderful chance to hop on the phone with Trevante Rhodes this past weekend, and a nice chunk of our chat was dedicated to talking about his work on The Predator. As you might expect, the actor was limited in what he could say about the film, but he did give me an explanation for his costume in the official cast image, as well as his character's awesome name. Said Rhodes,
He's a Special Forces cat. He's best friends with Boyd Holbrook's character, number one. ... I don't know how much I'm allowed to say... [His name is] Nebraska Williams. It's a real cool thing -- it's a real cool story, honestly. It's a really cool character, man, and it's a Shane Black film. It's Predator, but it's also a Shane Black film.
Stressing the Shane Black-ness of the film and the friendship with Boyd Holbrook's character definitely leaves us with a very distinct idea of what to expect from Trevante Rhodes' part in The Predator. Going back to Lethal Weapon in 1987, Black has built a career writing "buddy" screenplays -- and he's had incredible success doing so. From Mel Gibson/Danny Glover to Robert Downey Jr./Val Kilmer to Russell Crowe/Ryan Gosling, the filmmaker has put together some of the greatest cinematic duos of the last 30 years, and now we have to wonder if he's doing the same with Rhodes's Nebraska Williams and Holbrook's Quinn McKenna.
From what we've learned during the development of The Predator, McKenna will be the lead in the film, and kick start the narrative by discovering evidence that the titular alien is on Earth (a claim that nobody believes). As far as relationships go, we now know that Trevante Rhodes' Nebraska Williams is his best friend, but it's also been reported that Jacob Tremblay is playing his autistic 10-year-old son. Sterling K. Brown's role is a government agent who is an antagonist before needing the help of the heroes, and while their direct connection to the aforementioned characters is unclear, we know that Olivia Munn will be playing a scientist while Keegan Michael-Key is another soldier who gets pulled into the hunt.
While The Predator is still in production and not slated for release until February 9, 2018, you can catch Trevante Rhodes' impressive breakout performance in Moonlight on Blu-ray and DVD now -- and be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more from our interview!