Rumours that Neil Marshall is in talks to direct Predators for Robert Rodriguez has us smiling.
While it might still just be a rumour, we think it sounds like a great idea – a solid blend of director, genre and subject.
Not convinced? Here's our pitch…
1. His Passion For '80s Movies
For the man who made Dog Soldiers and The Descent, a deep, abiding love for '80s action films is deep in Marshall's DNA.
He enjoys the visceral look and feel of the period’s pics and since Predator was one of the '80s iconic movies, it's an ideal subject for him to rework.
As he's said about Doomsday: “I was making homage to my favourite movies from the 8'0s and that whole feel of the movies in the '80s. They were very stunt-led, and very practically made. B-movies, basically.”
Next: Low budget wonders
2. His Ability To Work Wonders With Low Budgets…
Marshall has made every movie so far for practically nothing - in comparison to Hollywood-level budgets.
And yet he always makes them look much more than they cost. It’s a major, mind-concentrating challenge for directors to work under such conditions – and it usually makes them better.
“With Dog Soldiers and Descent I had a 2-3 million dollar budget, and I wanted to make a movie that looked 10 million dollars", says Marshall.
"With Doomsday I had a 28 million dollar budget and I wanted to make a movie that looked like 50-60 million dollars. I always want to get as much as humanly possible out of that money, so that does require an awful lot of creativity and hard work regardless of the scale or budget.”
3. …And What He Might Be Able To Do With More
“It has been a huge leap,” Marshall said of Doomsday. “Before this, I was just dealing with a cast of eight/nine people maximum stuck in a single location for the rest of the movie.
"This one is suddenly – bam! – whole countries. There’s fifty or more speaking parts, I’m dealing with thousands of extras, logistical action sequences, explosions, car chases – the works. It’s been an adventure.”
Just imagine what he might be able to do with an actual $60 million budget, or even more?
Marshall loves his practical work and would be able to add in more CG to give Predators a strong contemporary look.
It would certainly blow AVP: Requiem out of the water...
Next: Dog Soldiers
4. Dog Soldiers
If you need the purest example of what Marshall is able to achieve when everything combines to work perfectly, look no further than this - his first stab at feature-length filmmaking.
It has plenty of action, shocks, gore and a dark vein of humour (“Sausages!”) running right through it. Imagine what he could do with a pack of Predators squaring off against British squaddies...
“Action is what I love directing. It’s what I want to see in movies," he said about his wolfish debut.
"I love the thrill of action filmmaking. With Dog Soldiers, I wanted to combine a war movie with a werewolf movie. It’s fun!"
5. No-Holds Barred Mayhem – With An Undercurrent
As Dog Soldiers, The Descent and Doomsday prove, Marshall has made a career out of controlled mayhem.
But he’s also adept at burying deeper themes amid the chaos - he could bring a Chris Nolan-style adult edge to the story's slasher/sci-fi tradition.
“I try to present violence in my films as realistically as I can because of course ultimately it’s there to support a story and things happen in a story for a reason - not just because you want to see what it looks like when a character gets a baseball bat to the face.
“Not that violence isn’t fun, but it can take over a viewers experience. And I’m certainly aware of the larger themes in my films when I make them.”
Next: Strong Female Characters
6. Strong Female Characters
Doomsday might not have been Marshall’s finest hour but it continued something he started with The Descent – meaty leading roles for women.
We’d hope he could bring something truly revolutionary to the Predator series – a Ripley-like female character, perhaps.
“I’m only interested in doing stories if I’m involved in the characters, because the characters take you through the story.
“With Dog Soldiers, I told the cast, ‘This is a soldiers movie with werewolves. It’s not a werewolf movie with soldiers.’ It was absolutely basic to me that these soldiers had to be realistic, three-dimensional, involving characters, and their story had to be something that we wanted to go with.
“Same with The Descent: The through-line was that it was Sara’s story, about the loss of her family and eventually the loss of her mind.
“In Doomsday, the emotional core to the movie is Major Sinclair’s story, which starts off in the present as a little girl and is resolved thirty years in the future. Everything else grows around that. So the characters are very important to me.”
Next: The Rodriguez Effect
7. He'd Be A Great Fit With Rodriguez
Since Robert Rodriguez is producing the movie, he’d want to work with a director with the ability to both fight his corner artistically and work with the studio.
With The Descent, Marshall faced a fight over the ending. He negotiated a deal that left him looking like the winner...
“Lionsgate tested it in the States. They tested it with the original ending on. And then they had the idea of cutting it a little bit so that basically Sarah ended up out of the cave at the end of the film, and they tested it again and it scored much better!
“Now, they couldn’t cut the film themselves, they had to come and get our approval to cut it.
“So, we thought about it for a while and we said, ‘Okay, we’ll let you cut it… as long as you give us the widest possible theatrical release. We want a minimum of 1000 screens.’
“And at that point, there was no guarantee we were even going to get a theatrical release at all. But they said okay. So, we agreed to do it and cut the ending on the basis of getting a wide theatrical release, which we got.
“And I knew all along the UK ending would be seen on the DVD anyway, one way or another.”
8. Sean Pertwee Killed By Predators
Because, honestly, what film wouldn’t be improved by having Pertwee offed in a bloodthirsty manner by a marauding monster?
It’s worked before. It can and should work again.
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