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Had things gone as they were originally planned, Shane Black's The Predator would have come out two months ago. It was originally scheduled for February 9th of this year before moving to August, and now it's set up to be released in mid-September. It hasn't been made entirely clear exactly why these delays have happened, but according to star Keegan-Michael Key, it's because the film has totally overhauled its ending:
We just finished [reshoots] last week, and just about three-quarters of the third act was rewritten. And Shane Black is... he's just a consummate professional, and a consummate writer. He's a wordsmith! It was a really, really exhilarating experience, and I think that he's still one of our most vibrant writers of cinema.
Earlier today I participated in a roundtable interview with Keegan-Michael Key and Kathryn Hahn at Sony Pictures Animation, and while most of the discussion revolved around their work on the upcoming Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, I took the opportunity to ask Key about The Predator developments. I specifically asked how the recent reshoots were going, and he not only explained that they had just finished, but that the work that was done was fairly extensive.
It's surely isn't the most exciting thing you can hear about an anticipated blockbuster, but there is a bright side. As common place as reshoots are in modern Hollywood, there are some that develop poorly in post-production and don't go to the proper lengths to fix it. Clearly The Predator had some issues with the resolution to its story, but thankfully it sounds like we won't be seeing those issues on the big screen this fall. Hopefully the work that's been done will provide a better ending to the action, and what could have been just gets relegated to the Blu-ray extras.
Based on a script by Shane Black and Fred Dekker, The Predator will center on a group of shell-shocked soldiers who position themselves as the first line of defense against one of the titular killer aliens. Keegan-Michael Key stars as one of these soldiers alongside Boyd Holbrook, Thomas Jane, Alfie Allen, Trevante Rhodes, and the cast also includes Olivia Munn, Sterling K. Brown, Yvonne Strahovski, and Jacob Tremblay.
Going further with his answer, Keegan-Michael Key's positive comments about Shane Black didn't stop with the compliments found above. He shared a story about a recent personal encounter with Black following a private get-together, and it apparently left him in awe of the writer/director. Said Key,
We had a birthday party, my fiancée and I are born 10 days apart, and he wrote this lovely email afterwards. I don't have my phone on me, and I don't have it memorized. She just said, 'Thanks for coming to the party,' and he wrote this gorgeous erudite email. It was pithy, like three sentences, and we were in a public place! He's just lovely. You think it's going to take a month; it takes about one day for you to get over, 'Holy shit, you wrote Lethal Weapon.' He's really, really, really terrific. It was a wonderful experience.
Clearly the wait has been long, but it won't be too much longer until we see the finished result of that wonderful experience -- with The Predator scheduled to arrive in theaters on September 14th. Between now and then you can catch Keegan-Michael Key reprising his role as Murray the Mummy in Hotel Transylvania 3, which will be out on July 13th.