Shane Black used the the Los Angeles premiere of his new film The Predator on Wednesday to continue apologizing for casting a registered sex offender in a bit part in the film. 20th Century Fox cut the scene from the movie soon after co-star Olivia Munn learned about the male actor’s status and notified the studio; Munn had shared a scene with the actor, Steven Wilder Striegel.
The story has come to light in the lead-up to the franchise reboot that opens in theaters Friday.
Black spoke with the Associated Press last night before a screening at the Egyptian Theater, calling the casting a “stupid decision I made” that “caused pain” to his cast members.
“I made an error in judgment that is irresponsible, you know?,” he said. “I am not just a kid who can say, ‘Hey, we’re making movies in college put your buddy in the movie.’ This is an adult decision with real responsibilities, and I didn’t vet somebody. … I was the captain of that ship, it’s my job to make sure those things happen, and I failed.”
Black has been refining his apology since the news of the casting of Striegel, who served six months in jail in 2010 after pleading guilty to risk of injury to a child and enticing a minor by computer in incidents surrounding a 14-year-old distant relative. He had met Black on the set of Iron Man 3, and after he served his jail time Black cast him in his movie The Nice Guys.
Black told the Los Angeles Times which first reported on the controversy that “I personally chose to help a friend. I can understand others might disapprove, as his conviction was on a sensitive charge and not to be taken lightly.”
Later that day, after the Times article emerged, Black put out a fuller statement.
“Having read this morning’s news reports, it has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction,” he said. “I believe strongly in giving people second chances — but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped.
“After learning more about the affidavit, transcripts and additional details surrounding Steve Striegel’s sentence, I am deeply disappointed in myself. I apologize to all of those, past and present, I’ve let down by having Steve around them without giving them a voice in the decision.”
The Predator had its world premiere earlier this month at the Toronto Film Festival. It is expected to top the box office this weekend with an estimated $25 million-$30 million three-day opening.