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The Family Connection You Missed In The Predator

It's not unheard-of for real-life fathers and sons to play fictional fathers and sons on the big screen. Martin Sheen plays father to Charlie Sheen's ambitious and corrupted Bud Fox in 1987's Wall Street. Will and Jaden Smith have played dad and son in both the 2006 drama The Pursuit of Happyness and the 2013 post-apocalyptic action flick After Earth. But did you know the director Shane Black decided to bring similar legacy casting into, of all things, the Predator franchise? 

That's right — when Shane Black was tapped to direct 2018's The Predator, he apparently didn't want to forget the franchise's past — even one of the less well-received chapters of it. We're talking about 1990's Predator 2, which moved the action from the green jungles of Central America to the concrete jungle of Los Angeles, and whose 30% score on Rotten Tomatoes is a steep drop from the impressive 81% rating of its predecessor.  

To remind audiences that the scope of the Predator franchise goes beyond a single movie, Black cast the son of an actor from Predator 2, and you may be a little surprised at who he chose.

In Predator 2, Gary Busey plays a government agent hunting the Predator

When it comes to killing the game-hunting alien in 1987's Predator, everyone tries their best. Jesse Ventura bleeds a lot, even though his tight schedule makes it tough, and Sonny Landham's Billy tries the tactic that works in almost every fight — he stands on a log and cuts his own chest open. But ultimately it takes the biggest, best, and most utterly quotable action hero of the late '80s — Arnold Schwarzenegger — to get the job done. For the follow-up Predator 2, with the predecessor's lead choosing to move on to other things (via Screen Rant), Schwarzenegger's character is replaced by Special Agent Peter Keyes, played by Gary Busey. 

Busey's Keyes is a CIA agent who leads a team hunting the Predator. But, that isn't what he tells Lt. Harrigan or his bosses, at least not at first. Keyes poses as a DEA agent in L.A. looking for drug cartels, but later in the film, when Keyes and Harrigan cross paths as the latter is chasing the hostile alien, the CIA agent reveals his real purpose. We find out that, in addition to the alien who dies hunting Dutch in the first film, other, similar aliens have been reported in other sites around the globe. 

Special Agent Keyes — like many characters in the film — doesn't survive to see the credits. After the Predator's tech helps him outmaneuver a trap Keyes sets in a slaughterhouse, the agent dies fighting the Predator. Almost 30 years later, with 2018's The Predator, we learn that Keyes had a son waiting at home for him, and instead of a kevlar vest, he'd wind up wearing a lab coat. 

In The Predator, Jake Busey plays the son of his own father's character

Early in The Predator, scientist Shawn Keyes is sent to the big Predator trophy room in the sky. It turns out that as part of the government's Stargazer Project, scientists are doing something that always works out well in science fiction movies — they've got a hostile alien captive so they can learn more about it. While we don't learn too much about Dr. Keyes before his death, we know that when he dies, he has at least one thing in common with his late father — he was killed by a Predator. 

Shawn Keyes is played by Jake Busey (Starship TroopersContact), and if you can already guess where we're going with this, then no, it wasn't a mistake. Jake Busey is the real-life son of Gary Busey, and his character Shawn Keyes is fittingly son to the elder Busey's Predator 2 character, Special Agent Peter Keyes. 

Speaking to Bloody Disgusting in 2018, Jake Busey said director Shane Black approached him personally about the role. "[Shane Black] explained a bit about Predator 2 and my father. [...] He thought it would be a good idea to make a callback to Predator 2 and add that element." He also added there was something of a minor coincidence in taking the role. Busey explained, "My dad was 46 when he shot Predator 2. I was 46 when we shot this one. It's interesting. We're both the same age in the Predator films. I'm playing his son so it's the legacy. It's the Peter Keyes legacy."

And the Peter Keyes legacy includes getting killed in bad ways by aliens. We're guessing if Shawn Keyes had a kid, his mom is going to try to make sure he's an accountant.