By now we know that “Prometheus” is the movie that might or might not be a prequel to “Alien.” But there are a few things that we know both films have in common: a hybrid of the sci-fi and horror genres, a statuesque leading lady, an android that might get a bit twitchy before everything’s said and done and visionary director Ridley Scott.
“Prometheus” Cast & Crew Say Ridley Scott’s a “Child at Play”
The Maybe-Prequel to 'Alien' Enriches the Legendary Director's Vision
Because in space, no one can hear you either scream or pitch your movie, Scott, stars Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender and screenwriter Damon Lindelof (“LOST”) came down to earth to sound off on their maybe-prequel.
Charlize Theron: For me there was always this bit of a love affair with really wanting to work with Ridley. I think every actor has that one iconic director that sets a genre that they want to work with, and for me that's Ridley Scott. And so when he called and said if I wanted to do this, and he was willing to develop the role a little bit with me and with Lindelof I was really, really excited. But first and foremost, I loved the script. I think people are going to be really, really pleased with where he went with this. And it was a really exciting project to work with and just a real gift to get to have the Ridley Scott experience, being directed by him.
Ridley Scott: What was important was the story. There’s nothing new about an android. There’s nothing new about a robot. That idea is 800 years old, so then embrace what it is. By embracing it, he [David, the android played by Michael Fassbender] becomes that much more interesting, because he’s just part of the ship. In a sense, he’s not just a butler, but he’s housekeeper and maintenance man who legitimately does not need to sleep. From that, then he also becomes extremely useful during the story as it evolves. There’s a great scene where Holloway [Logan Marshall-Green] is actually a bit of a bitch occasionally, and says ‘We’re making you guys just like us.’ It ends with David saying ‘Not too close, I hope.’ You don’t know who’s insulting who there. That’s when those turnabouts start to occur.
Michael Fassbender: You want to play with as many of those human traits as possible. You’re essentially trying to build a computer that has a physicality to it, that can respond and understand human behavior. It’s programmed to be able to incorporate itself within a human environment. You’re going into space, so you’ve got to get certain personalities that will get on in space. He has to be very flexible. So what happens when you program that and the program then starts making its own connections and joins up to its own electrical linking to other areas and forming its own ego, insecurities, jealousy and envy?...The way that Damon wrote it, people treat him as a robot and there’s a bit of contempt towards him because he has all the answers. He’s hyper-intelligent. His physicality is more advanced than human beings. So people don’t really embrace him. He’s sort of used and abused. How does that make him feel – if robots can feel? I didn’t want to make a direct, definite choice. I played with the ambiguity: Is this robot starting to develop human personality?
Damon Lindelof: This word “prequel” was on the table. It was the elephant in the room and had to be discussed…There’s an inevitability in watching a prequel, where you’re like, ‘Okay, if the ending of this movie is just going to be the room that John Hurt walks into that’s full of eggs, there’s nothing interesting in that because we know where it’s going to end.’ With really good stories, you don’t know where it’s going to end. So this movie, hopefully, will contextualize the original ‘Alien’ so that when you watch it again, maybe you know a little bit more. But you don’t f**k around with that movie. It has to stand on its own – It’s a classic. If we’re fortunate enough to do a sequel to ‘Prometheus,’ it will tangentialize even further away from the original ‘Alien.’ When you go to the concert that is this movie, you want the Stones to play “Satisfaction.” There is this sense of us saying ‘We want you to do something new, Ridley, but just give us a little bit of Space Jockey. Just play it! Even in the encore.” And I think Ridley has given us the movie that I think we all want to see.
Theron: The most amazing thing was to see how Ridley is still this child at play: the amount of energy that he comes to work with, the excitement, the way that he understands character and camera. I mean, this guy – he makes movies on a scale where you almost need three brains to do what he does. He's got six cameras rolling at all times, and he knows what every single camera is shooting. And then he'll come up to you as an actor had he'll say one thing and you're like, 'How did you even know I did that?' It's like the smallest little thing that he'll pick up. He's so unbelievably in tune with what's happening. He's just one of those people that you go, ‘Okay, for sure you are doing what you're supposed to do on this earth.’
Scott: The bottom line is just to make a good movie. Just make a f**king good movie. It’s got nothing to do with horror or whatever. That’s why there’s only a few really, really great ones. Thereafter, there are only evolutions of copycats.