Boyd Holbrook Responds to 'The Predator' Controversy: "Last Thing I Want Is for Olivia to Ever Feel Abandoned"
The actor apologized for coming late to the conversation and confirms that he dropped out of scheduled interviews to respect the victim, Jane Doe, in the sex offender controversy swirling around his new film.
Boyd Holbrook, the lead actor in Shane Black's reimagining of the Predator franchise, has issued a statement in the wake of the controversy swirling around the film following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival.
"I want to start by apologizing for this statement coming late in the current conversation. I do not take any of what has gone on lightly, and I want to speak from the most honest and genuine place possible," Holbrook said. "I have stated before, and I will state it again, I am proud of Olivia for the way that she handled a difficult and alarming situation, and I am grateful that Fox took the information seriously and took action swiftly."
Holbrook made the trek to Toronto along with castmembers Olivia Munn, Trevante Rhodes, Thomas Jane, Keegan-Michael Key, Jacob Tremblay and Augusto Aguilera, where all attended the Midnight Madness screening of The Predator on Sept. 6. Earlier that day, however, the Los Angeles Times reported that a scene had been cut from the film after Munn learned that the actor who appeared with her in the scene, Steven Wilder Striegel, was a convicted sex offender.
The actress informed the film's studio home, Fox, and executives made the decision to delete the scene. A studio spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Fox execs were not aware of Striegel's background (he pleaded guilty in 2010 following allegations that he acted inappropriately via email with a 14-year-old with whom he was related). The actor is a longtime friend of Black who made the decision to put him in the film playing a jogger who has an encounter with Munn's biologist character.
As a result, Black dropped out of TIFF press and promotion, but his cast carried on and made the rounds in Toronto. After multiple appearances together — and some without Munn after she reportedly dropped out herself to take a break on Friday to rest — several of the actors opted out of scheduled interviews on Saturday due to the sensitive nature of the situation and the likelihood that it would continue to be a focal point of journalists questions.
Holbrook was among the actors expected at THR's TIFF Video Lounge, and he issued a statement today explaining his decision to bow out. Others who were expected were Rhodes and Aguilera, while Key was en route home to spend the Rosh Hashana with his wife. Munn sat for a solo interview to discuss the situation in addition to sitting alongside Tremblay for a general interview to promote the film and the inspiration behind their respective roles.
"It is true that I pulled out of a small amount of press on Saturday, as this type of social commentary is new to me and given the nature of the originating crime, I felt further discussion could cause unwanted trauma and pain, neither of which I wanted to incite to the anonymous young woman," Holbrook said. "I now realize that my understanding of the situation was not the full picture and the last thing I want is for Olivia to ever feel abandoned or alone. We are in the midst of a very crucial and important time and it is imperative that we keep listening."
The entire situation has been a complicated one for the actors and for studio and personal publicists as they were forced to walk the line of launching the big-budget action pic — expected to launch a franchise with Holbrook front and center — while, at the same time, addressing the deleted scene and acknowledging the work that Munn had done, something that has garnered a massive amount of press attention in the #MeToo and Time's Up era.
Key also issued a statement on Sunday through his rep, confirming that "Keegan was never booked to do an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. His last interview was scheduled after lunch which he completed. He was always departing TIFF early so he could be home to spend the Jewish holiday w/his wife. Furthermore, Keegan reached out to Olivia privately last week to let her know how proud he was of her and echoed that sentiment in many interviews since then."
Munn responded to Key's statement on Monday, tweeting that "I love Keegan" and adding that her peers' "decision to be the only ones at the premiere to give Shane a standing ovation" is what made her feel "isolated."
Munn received support from castmates in another Los Angeles Times story, where Rhodes said, "I wasn't disappointed in Shane. I was disappointed in the situation, and I'm happy that Liv spoke up." Aguilera added that he admired Munn's "courage" for speaking out. Sterling K. Brown, also a member of the Predator cast, though not scheduled to be in Toronto, weighed in on Twitter over the weekend in support of Munn.
"We all have the right to know who we’re working with," he posted. "And when someone has been convicted of a crime of a sexual nature involving a child, we have the right to say that’s not okay! Our studio was not given that opportunity, and neither was our cast. Especially @oliviamunn who was the only member of the principal cast who had to work with him. I so appreciate that you “didn’t leave well enough alone,” & again, I’m sorry you feel isolated in taking action."