Dan Trachtenberg says 'Prey' was never PG-13

Dan Trachtenberg says there was never a suggestion that his Predator movie Prey should tone down its violence in order to secure a PG-13 certificate.

The 10 Cloverfield Lane filmmaker's movie delves back in time to depict a group of Comanche warriors, including Amber Midthunder's heroine Naru, fighting for survival when a Predator arrives close to their home.

It's a visceral and bloody action tale, which marks it out as something of an outlier in a Hollywood landscape that often prefers to blunt the edge of movies in order to secure a more permissible age rating.

Prey will stream exclusively on Disney+ from 5 August.

Video transcript

DAN TRACHTENBERG: [INAUDIBLE]

TOM BEASLEY: Hi, Dan, lovely to meet you.

DAN TRACHTENBERG: Likewise, likewise.

TOM BEASLEY: I mean, first off, congratulations on the film. I absolutely loved it.

DAN TRACHTENBERG: Awesome, thank you.

TOM BEASLEY: I wanted to start by asking about the title, I guess-- is a good place to start. Was there ever a time where you had the word predator in the title? Was there ever any pressure on you to do that?

DAN TRACHTENBERG: Zero, strangely enough. I pitched this movie in an email to an executive at 20th Century. And in that initial pitch was this title. I think at the time, they were still prepping or maybe shooting the last "Predator" film.

So I thought I thought that the only chance this movie has getting into production as soon as possible, which is always of interest for a director, was by saying that this could function at the same time of making whatever you're making with the "Predator" franchise.

You could also make this movie, sort of in the way that like "Rogue One" and "Solo" came out, alongside the main trilogy. So I thought I'd better give them a title that would reflect that notion. And then that title just sort of stuck around because, of course, it functions so similarly to "Predator." It has that same double meaning, but also suggests that this is kind of its own thing as well.

TOM BEASLEY: Absolutely. And I guess, between this franchise and "Cloverfield," you're kind of giving yourself a reputation for walking into franchises and sort of flipping the script, and doing things differently, and producing something that people really like.

DAN TRACHTENBERG: Yeah, not intentional, but just sort of happened that way. And certainly, I think making franchise films has become sort of the standard. Most movies we make today, not all, but most of them are centered around an IP. So I just think it's smart to use that as a platform to tell an original story. And I'm certainly not the only person doing that by a long shot.

But just as much as I think the Marvel movies have become a bit of a platform for any genre. I don't think they're all just superhero films, you know? They're where we get our political thrillers, and our adventure films, and our sci-fi. We get all of the genres just on a very unique platform. So I try to look at this that way as well.

TOM BEASLEY: In recent years, we've seen a lot of sort of franchise blockbusters go PG-13. But this is very clearly not a PG-13 movie. I guess, what we talked about earlier, about it being a little bit separate, did that give you the freedom to go all out?

DAN TRACHTENBERG: Actually, sort of the reverse of that because the "Predator" franchise is really known for being very R-rated, with an exception in one of the AVP films. And its roots are in slasher film language.

So I very much wanted to embrace what I think people started out enjoying about the "Predator" film, but then wanted to bring a few more elements to it. But we had to embrace, I think, the brutality. For sure, that's a key component to the franchise.

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