The Predator, Olivia Munn

20th Century Fox

This twist we did not see coming.

According to the L.A. Times, just days before "The Predator" was locked and ready to go, the filmmakers were told to go back in and cut the scene featuring Steven Wilder Striegel.

Striegel is an old friend of director Shane Black. Black cast his buddy in a small part, which is hardly new in Hollywood. But it turns out that Striegel was a registered sex offender -- he pleaded guilty in 2010 after being accused of trying to lure a 14-year-old girl (one of his "distant relatives") into a sexual relationship via the Internet.

Olivia Munn shared the scene in question with Striegel; he played a jogger who repeatedly hit on her character. She's the one who found out about his past last month. She told studio 20th Century Fox on August 15, the Times reports, and they decided to cut the scene.

Fox gave a statement to the L.A. Times, saying they didn't know about Striegel's background "due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors."

Striegel said he's known Shane Black for 14 years, "and I think it's worth noting that he was aware of the facts. Shane can speak for himself, but I'm quite certain that if he felt I was a danger in any way to have around, he would not have."

Shane Black did speak for himself, in this statement to the Times:

"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."

He added that he believed his friend to be "caught up in a bad situation versus something lecherous."

(The details in the Times story about the messages Striegel shared with the girl ... they suggest something else.)

Striegel served six months in jail, then landed roles in Shane Black's "Iron Man 3" and "The Nice Guys."

Olivia Munn told the Times she found it "both surprising and unsettling that Shane Black, our director, did not share this information to the cast, crew, or Fox Studios prior to, during, or after production. However, I am relieved that when Fox finally did receive the information, the studio took appropriate action by deleting the scene featuring Wilder prior to release of the film."

"The Predator" -- which also stars Boyd HolbrookTrevante RhodesJacob TremblayKeegan-Michael KeyThomas JaneAlfie Allen, and Augusto Aguilera -- is scheduled to open in theaters September 14.

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