Tongue-in-cheek intergalactic peace was achieved when action star and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shook hands with a full-fledged Predator, his nemesis from one of the 80s action films that made his career. Then a photo of the meet-and-greet went viral on the web.
The man in the Predator suit is a 3D artist named Andrew Marzan from Springfield, New Jersey. He runs a web forum dedicated to building Predator costumes, and he traveled with a group of friends to the 2012 Arnold Fitness Expo in Ohio in hopes of meeting the Predator nemesis himself.
We interviewed him to find out how the photo op happened, what artist Stan Winston’s Predator means for artists today, and what it feels like to get 15 minutes of viral fame.
The Interactive: What’s the story behind the photo? Where was it taken, and how did it end up happening?
Marzan: I decided to suit up for the Arnold Expo and see if I could get a meeting with Arnold. Once the Expo promoters saw me and my friend suited up, they asked us to surprise him on stage — which we did. He didn’t know I was gonna be there. It was pure determination and luck.
What made you decide to surprise Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Predator costume? Had you been planning it for a while?
10 years ago I created a forum called The Hunter’s Lair dedicated just to building this type of costume, so after 10 years of building these costumes I thought what would be the pinnacle of doing this — meeting Arnold, been a fan since his body-building days, drove 11 hours to Ohio and we made it happen.
Did Arnold say anything when you greeted him?
He was shocked to see a Predator standing there. He paused for a sec and so did I. It was surreal, as you can imagine. We had a moment afterwards where I presented him with a Predator helmet. He said thank you and said I “looked fantastic.” He was very nice to me.
This thing has gone viral — it’s been everywhere this week. How does that feel? Is it gratifying even though people can’t see your face?
It’s truly mind blowing. So honored and humbled to represent Stan Winston’s creation in this way. No one cares about my face except my wife and my kids.
You’re a 3D artist; what kind of legacy do you think Stan Winston and creature designs like the Predator and The Terminator have for artists in TV, film, video games, and comic books? Did you set up the photo op to celebrate his work?
Stan Winston and his team of artists set such a high mark for an entire generation of artists. His legacy will be with us forever. He was a master of his craft — I wonder what he would have thought of my suit or his legacy. That photo was totally by accident I wasn’t aware it was taken until a friend of mine sent it to me.
The photo that went viral