Olivia Munn toughens up, fights for her life in The Predator

Olivia Munn says her character in Predator sequel is not a damsel in distress

The Predator sees US writer-director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3, The Nice Guys) returning to a world he first experienced about 30 years ago as an actor, when he played mercenary Rick Hawkins in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring sci-fi horror actioner Predator.

In this new sequel opening here tomorrow, he is expanding the story of the alien hunters and the humans who face the threat.

With the government attempting to cover up the extent of Predator incursions on Earth, a group of military veterans must figure out what is going on and how to save the world - or at least themselves.

US actress Olivia Munn, 38, is the rose among the thorns as evolutionary scientist and biologist Casey Bracket.

Last week, she made headlines for successfully lobbying movie studio Twentieth Century Fox to cut a scene in The Predator featuring actor Steven Wilder Striegel, a registered sex offender and Black's long-time friend.

Here, she talks about not being the damsel in distress, her own history with the Predator movies and the number of spines being ripped out.

How did you get involved in this project?

(At first) I wasn't interested because typically in a big movie like this, I will probably go see it, but as an actress, the female role is usually just the love interest.

But it ended coming back around, and they said that Shane just wanted to meet. I am a huge fan of his work and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is one of my all-time favourite movies.

I really trusted him as a director. He is a film-maker who allows you to bring what you want to the character. I read the script and had another meeting with Shane about my thoughts, and he was really receptive.

Your character doesn't come across as a damsel in distress.

When you are fighting for your life, you have to shoot, even though nobody wants to be in that position.

The guys - they are soldiers - but I approached this character as a scientist. I am sure that she has picked up a gun before. I grew up in a military family so I knew how to shoot guns. Making this movie was not about us finding moments for her to not be a damsel in distress. It just wasn't on the page.

Was there much training or preparation for the role?

We did a lot of gun training and that was really fun. And I loved being able to do that with the guys, learning how to shoot together. Every time we did that, I learnt all these different techniques and tools and skills.

Then I tried to incorporate what my character would do and put a little bit of shakiness into it. There is something really big going on and for her, it is fascinating. This is something that she has waited her entire life for - especially as an evolutionary scientist, somebody who studies how creatures evolve and change.

And this is happening right before her eyes, so there is a shock and awe value that is happening. While everyone else is running away from the Predator, she is running towards the aliens, because she is fascinated.

Shane has said it won't shy away from the violence.

I am really big on it. I think we've got so politically correct that we lose the fun of going to the movies sometimes. For me, the more bloody spines being ripped out, the better.

What is your relationship with the original Predator?

I actually hadn't seen it. I mean, I knew of it and maybe I knew some of the catch phrases and lines. What is really great about this movie is that while it is technically a sequel, it is not picking up right where the other movies left off.

But at the same time, it is acknowledging all the previous ones, and it is not pretending they didn't happen. And it is interesting because we have throwbacks from the very first Predator which I love that Shane was able to incorporate.

(So) after getting (the role), I did watch it. And loved it. And I kept saying to Shane, 'Can we have a scene where someone has to hide in the mud? Can I go hide in the mud?'

Because that is a genius way to not be discovered by aliens.