The Predator Set Was a Bug-Filled Hell for the Naked

Screencap from Predator (20th Century Fox)
Screencap from Predator (20th Century Fox)

The Hollywood Reporter just posted a great, in-depth oral history of Predator. But what stuck out the most was just how bad things got for Richard Chaves, who played Poncho. Specifically, he spoke about his run-ins with nature, which he shared using perhaps too much detail.

First up is a lesson to never, ever sit down. Ever. Anywhere.

A lot of it was raw jungle that we were running through when we were in the week rehearsal. And we took a break one day, and I checked the area out, you know, where I was gonna sit my butt down, and laid down, and next thing I know I am covered in red ants. I was bitten almost 100 times down both my arms, and went into a little bit of shock, was running through the jungle ripping my clothes off, butt naked. They had a water tank, and I went into the water tank and just doused myself.


It’s a really vivid picture being painted here. I wonder what the crew thought was happening when Chaves ran past them, naked. Did they just shrug and go back to work? Did they run after him to help? Did they go see if something was chasing him?

And yet, somehow, it’s not as horrible sounding as this shower story:

The very first day [Arnold] got back was a 15-, almost 16-hour day and I was in the shower just filthy. And the phone rings and I said “Hello?” and it’s a woman’s voice, and she goes, “Is this Richard?” I said “Yes it’s Richard,” and she goes “What are you doing?” And I said, “I’m in the shower picking ticks off my balls!” OK? And she started laughing. And I said “Who the hell is this?” She goes, “Richard it’s Maria [Shriver, Schwarzenegger’s then-wife], and I’m just calling to invite you up to have dinner. I’m inviting everybody up to have dinner so you can meet me,” and then she started laughing again.

I think it’s the casualness of this one that makes it so much worse. Just the way the story is focused on the phone call and not picking ticks off his balls, which is framed as just a regular thing he had to do.

Read the whole thing, if only for the fact that there are somehow even more versions of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s firing than the ones you already knew about.


Katharine is the Associate Director of Policy and Activism at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the former managing editor of io9. She writes about technology policy and pop culture.

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Dr Emilio Lizardo

It was the 1980's. I’m betting the crew just assumed he was using too much cocaine.