Last week, HeyUGuys were invited along to Robert Rodriguez Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas by Twentieth Century Fox for a very special trip to find out how their latest home entertainment release, Predators was created. We got to chat with the awesome production team at Troublemaker Studios, looking at everything from how they made the posters to how they created a real life alien planet out in the back lot – and all this in a little over a year.

Read on to find out how all this was done and come back every day this week for another feature on the movie. You’ll be able to keep track of all our features from the movie here.

Predators is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 1st November 2010. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.


Robert Rodriguez - Producer of Predators

Back in 1995, Robert Rodriguez was given the task by Fox to create a script for a Predators movie that followed on directly from the original Predator movie which starred action hero turned Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Back then, Rodriguez was yet to direct his first movie and was a script writer for Hollywood. Now, 15 years later, Rodriguez has directed 15 movies, Produced numerous more and has created his own mini Hollywood just outside Austin in Texas know as Troublemaker Studios (TMS).

Troublemaker itself is located on the former Austin Airport and has now been running for 10 years. The first movie to shoot there was The Faculty and although in its infancy TMS has developed into a fully kitted out studio with 2 stages, one of which can be rigged completely as a green screen stage and is 100% soundproof – this is where 90% of Sin City was shot.

15 years after his original script, Rodriguez was asked by Fox to direct the movie he had originally scripted all those years ago. The script had been reworked by Alex Litvak & Michael Finch but still contained elements from his original script.

The problems came when he wanted to direct but he was already committed to shooting Machete with Danny Trejo. The opportunity was too good to turn down so managed to compromise and take on the role as Producer, handing the directorial reigns over to Nimrod Antal who had not previously worked on a major Hollywood motion picture.

With his producing hat on, Troublemaker were able to shoot both Predators and Machete at the same time all within the confines of their studio in Austin, Texas using many of the same production materials including a lot of fake blood!

Dave Geeking Out at Troublemaker Studios

We arrived at Troublemaker Studios to the main office where Robert Rodriguez and his admin team all have their offices. After the obligatory photo obligatory photos underneath the TMS logo, the tour began starting with a look at the actually costumes that were used in the movie. We got to chat with Nina Proctor who talked us through the creation of the costumes and how they went about their research looking specifically at African Tribes for the likes of Mombasa and the Russian Military for Nikolai

TMS is an amazing place with everything they might need on site. This cuts time and cost down by having all they need available for example, if a car breaks down, they have mechanics on set, if a set needs some work or a prop needs an alteration, they can use their foundry or on-site mill to make the changes for them. It really is a little community of craftsmen all in the same place. This differs to Hollywood where a lot of what may be required is held offsite and contracted in.

Costume Designer - Nina Proctor

We then moved into a tour round studio A where Robert has posters from all his movies, many signed by the cast of the movies. The one that caught my attention was a Desperado poster that had been shot multiple times (with a gun!) with all the shell casings resting in the frame for prosperity!

Moving through what I guess you could call, ‘The Poster Room’ we go into the Green Screen stage or Stage A. This is the first time I’d seen a Green Screen properly set up and it was very interesting to discover how it all pieces together, especially after I look across the room to see part of the Predators set erected for the junket interviews that were scheduled to take place later on in the day!

Everything about TMS is efficiency. If the actors have some down time, they utilize this rather than having the actor sit in their trailer. At the very edge of the Green Screen stage is an out-of-the-way section of screen which the team use to rake photos of the cast in complete uniform. These promotional shots are then used later on for posters of promotional material rather than having to get the actors back another day, get them in make up and costume just to reshoot some photos. It makes complete sense and is another money saving technique that works very well.

Troublemaker Studios Production Designers Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute

After leaving the green screen room, we moved into a corridor where there are montage photos along the walls reminiscent of school photos that you might see with pupils from the last 50 years all collected together. Only this is much cooler than a school photos, these were all the members of the crew together when the movie has wrapped. Montages of all the cast were on the opposite wall and both sets of photos captured so much history from a studio which really is still in its infancy.

After our tour of the studio finished, we had the chance to chat with production designers Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute. Steve was able to tell us in detail about about how they filmed in Hawaii,  building roads for the crew to get deep into the jungle while Caylah was back at Troublemaker building the set for what became one of the pinnacle locations in the movie, the Hunting Camp.  The most interesting fact that I took away was if you look on Google Earth now at Troublemaker Studios, you can see them filming Predators when the photo was taken! Click here to view.

Next was the part I’d secretly been waiting for, my first chance to meet the legend that is Robert Rodriguez! When he first walked in the room, I thought he was the coolest guy on the planet. Skipping ahead an hour and as I was leaving, my thoughts had been confirmed in the affirmative – he IS the coolest guy on the planet!

Trouble Maker Studios - Stage A

After introducing himself, he talked us through some of the blu ray extras and deleted scenes from the blu ray. I loved seeing his passion come through for the movie although you could tell that standing in front of a group of press didn’t come amazingly naturally to him. He’s a very humble, clever and proud man who oozes talent (and cool!) in so many forms. Between each clip, he’d sit on the floor with his production assistant who’d tell him which part we’d be looking at next. Watching the man who produced Predators effectively give us a live directors commentary after each was just awesome and I wish it could have gone on longer!

Back to TMS and after a lunch that consisted of meat, meat, meat and some more meat (and some chocolate brownies that were amazing), we moved back into interview mode with a Q&A with Rodriguez who’s interview you can see in the coming days. Again, his passion for this movie and for films in general shone through. Look out in the interview for the part about meeting Arnold Schwarzenegger 15 years ago when he attempted to pitch the script he originally wrote for Fox all that time ago. The interview was worth it just for that!

Troublemaker Studios Concept Artists (L-R) Drew De La Cruz, Alex Toader, Chris Olivier, Rodney Brunet, Kurt Volk

After this interview we moved into a Q&A with the concept designers, poster artists who talked us through how they made their way from not having an idea of what the new Predators would look like to completing a feature length movie in little over a year. Again, you can look out for the interviews for this Q&A which will also follow in the coming days. For me personally, I find the way in which the concept becomes a reality fascinating so I was eager to know more from these guys.

The final presentation was given by Greg Nicotero who was the Special Makeup and Creature Effects Designer on Predators. Nicotero ‘s body of work is extensive and has been developing over the last 25  years and includes work on movies such as Vanilla Sky,

Special Makeup and Creature Effects - Greg Nicotero

Unbreakable, The Green Mile, From Dusk Till Dawn and Scream to name but a few. Again, his interview will be posted on the site in the coming days and is well worth a watch, especially if you’re interested in special effects, make-up or animatronics.

After being given a rather cool Troublemaker Studios hat, that concluded our press trip to what can only be described as a mini Hollywood. The experience was wonderful and will remain in my memory for years to come.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this report from TMS and make sure you keep checking back all this week for a different Predators featurette to coincide with the release of the DVD and Blu-ray next week


Predators is available on Blu-ray and DVD from 1st November 2010. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.