There are a multitude of reasons that a film will have scenes cut out at the last minute. Most of them usually revolve around mundane things like trying to get a certain rating or trying to come in under a time limit. But in the instance of “The Predator” a certain scene was cut because of the involvement of a possible real life predator.
The LA Times ran an incredible story today detailing how 20th Century Fox removed a small scene featuring a man named Steven Wilder Striegel.
According to the Times Striegel would have played “a jogger who repeatedly hits on Munn’s character.” In the hands of Shane Black I’m sure Munn would’ve had some cutting dialog to dispense and the scene probably would’ve resulted in a good chuckle.
So why was the scene removed? Well, in August, Olivia Munn learned that Striegel was a registered sex offender who served six months in jail for trying to “entice a minor by computer.” The LA Times has an excellent breakdown of what took place and goes into lengthy detail about the felonies that Striegel was charged with. Let’s just say it involved a 14-year old relative. Yeah.
It’s unclear how Munn came to learn of this incident, but when she reported it in August, Fox quickly decided to have the scene removed altogether. Given that it doesn’t appear to be an integral part of the movie, it was probably an easy matter to go in and slice it out.
At this point you’re probably wondering how Striegel came to be in the movie in the first place, given that most studios would probably want to distance themselves from sex offenders as much as they can. Well, it turns out Striegel was a friend of director Shane Black and Black had been offering him bit parts in his movies as of late. Initially, Black was willing to stand by his decision, but since the news broke this morning he has released an apology for casting Striegel:
It has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction.
After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.
This news comes at a critical time for “The Predator” as tonight it is set to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. I imagine Black and Fox would rather not have this weird creepy cloud casting a shadow on their premiere. It’ll be interesting to see if there are any crowd reactions, especially if they have any kind of Q&A scheduled.