Actor Danny Glover is sitting on a divan in a Beverly Hills hotel suite, his knees tucked under his chin, pain obvious on his rugged face.
Flexing his legs, Glover grimaces again and repeats the process several times.
Glover is paying the price of stardom in his new movie, “Predator 2.”
After a three-month ordeal playing the bellicose detective in the action-adventure film, Glover underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees to eliminate the possibility of limping through the rest of his career.
Few actors have been called on for so much physical exertion. In the role of Detective Mike Harrigan, a Los Angeles cop at war with local gangs and an alien homicidal maniac, Glover was constantly embattled, running, climbing, jumping, falling and fighting.
“Man, it wasn’t easy,” Glover said of “Predator 2.”
“I went into training for this picture five weeks before we started shooting. I ran four miles a day, six days a week at 7 o’clock in the morning on the sand not far from where I live in San Francisco.
“After running, I worked out at a gym and pumped iron so I could be convincing. Also, I wanted to survive.
“Then I began doing wind sprints until I pulled a hamstring. It was just a twinge, but I could feel it. Even so, I was in my best shape since high school. I weighed 225 pounds when I began and dropped down to 212 by the time the picture started.
“I felt terrific when I began, but I was a wreck when the picture finished. Everything hurt. I even pulled my hamstring again.
“I was on the run from beginning to end. Some of it was dangerous. That was me, not a stuntman, on the roof 12 stories up. And I’m afraid of heights.”
Glover said he also had to familiarize himself with a variety of weapons, including a Frisbee-like disc from outer space employed by the bloodthirsty predator to dismember warring gang members.
“One of the fun things was acting in scenes with a character I couldn’t see,” he said. “I had to pretend something was there all the time.
“It makes my character feel impotent and inadequate. In some ways it diminishes the macho attitude. How can you be heroic when something invisible is stalking you? Real frustration can come out of that.”
Glover stopped to begin working on his knees once more.
“I’ve got to get back in shape because they’re talking about ‘Lethal Weapon 3.’ And I know I’ll have to be in good condition.”