Jean Claude van Damme was, at one point, intent on becoming the first Predator, back when the Predator was some kind of lizard beast. Then he was replaced, not even knowing the full extent of his role. He wore the suit, IIRC, and complained about how hot it was, and even passed out at one point. Now he tells a different tale, one in which he was let go because he wouldn’t stop kickboxing.
“I was in Joel Silver’s trailer, and he had called for Jean-Claude to come see him. And he comes in the trailer and Joel starts saying, “You gotta stop kickboxing!” — because [Jean-Claude] wanted to kickbox — and he was telling him, “Look, the Predator is not a kickboxer.” And Van Damme was like (Van Damme voice), “I must do that; that’s how I see the Predator.” And Joel said, “Well, you’re fired. Get out of here.” And Van Damme says, “Kiss my balls!” and walks out, and that was the end of that.”
Good thing we got Kevin Peter Hall, right? Who? Exactly.
It’s an illuminating fact that no one can say exactly why or how van Damme got fired. You’d think someone would remember just how they ended up with Hall in the Predator suit instead of van Damme.
One thing that can be agreed upon: the film only improved without him and that ridiculous lizard suit.