First glance at Ridley Scott's new film Prometheus
The North-East’s most famous son of the cinema doesn’t like being called Sir Ridley.
Steve Pratt looks at 14 minutes of the film-maker’s latest project, Prometheus
SECURITY was tighter than a pair of skinny jeans that have shrunk in the wash. Mobile phones and recording devices were confiscated for fear of pirating.
There were more PRs than at a spin doctors’ convention.
And what were they protecting?
Not some top secret government plan or the secret of eternal youth, but 14 minutes of the new movie from the North-East’s most famous, most successful film-maker Sir Ridley Scott.
With Prometheus he returns to the genre – science fiction – that he changed forever when he directed Alien in 1979. His new film doesn’t open until June 1, but film writers from around the globe assembled in a London cinema early on Tuesday morning to be the first people in the world, outside the Fox studio, to see the footage.
Afterwards Scott (he’s not too keen on being called Sir Ridley) and three of his cast – Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender – answered questions about the film. Their replies, like the teaser footage, gave little away.
We saw an early scene where Rapace’s archaeologist finds ancient cave paintings on the Isle of Skye that she interprets as an invitation from another planet to come up and see us sometime.
Theron, as the corporate suit on the space trip, is seen doing pressups wearing minimal clothing after waking up from sleeping on the twoyear voyage to a distant planet. Rapace throws up after being in the deep freeze. Fassbender is the ship’s robot, partly modelled he tells us on Dirk Bogarde’s sinister butler in The Servant.
THE SEARCH FOR OUR BEGINNING COULD LEAD TO OUR END… runs the tag line for the movie on the poster. The assembled scribes search for answers couldn’t be called mission accomplished. One of the biggest questions hanging over Prometheus is whether it’s a prequel or sequel to Alien as has been suggested in some quarters.
“Sort of” would appear to be the answer.
“Well, I watched the three subsequent Aliens being made, which were all jolly good in some form or other. Does that sound competitive?
Because I’m really competitive. So I thought the franchise was fundamentally used up. How long ago was the last Alien?,” begins Scott.
Alien Resurrection was in 1997, he’s told, “I thought in all of the films nobody had asked a very simple question which was – who is the big guy in the chair, who was fondly after Alien called The Space Jockey,” Scott continues.
“I don’t know how the hell he got that name. There was this big boned creature who seemed to be nine feet tall sitting in this chair and I went in to Fox with four questions. Who are they? Why are they there? Why that cargo and where were they going or had they in fact had a forced landing?”.
The response of Tom Rothman, cochairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment, was, ‘That sounds good to me’. So Scott went off with two writers to develop the idea which grew further away from Alien as time went by. “It gradually adjusted itself into much larger questions and, therefore, now the actual connection to the original Alien is barely in its DNA. You kind of get it in the last seven minutes or so,” he explains.
There are references to the first Alien movie, but as the story developed he was less inclined to take on board that it was connected to the original. We did learn that there’s something in Prometheus to rival the classic moment in Alien when a creature bursts out of John Hurt’s chest, although Scott wasn’t about to go into detail.
“There is a scene that could be called the equivalent of that in this film,” he admits.
It appears only Rapace was involved.
“I dreamt nightmares for two weeks. I had these weird up images in my head, so, yes, it did affect us,” says the actress, who starred in the original version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
SCOTT is working with 3D for the first time on Prometheus, although his take on it is simple: “It’s not science, it’s not brain surgery – it’s actually pretty straightforward.”
He wasn’t about to be intimidated by the process. “You could easily allow things to turn into major conferences where you ask anyone, including the tea lady what she thinks, but I don’t do that.
“I had a wonderful cameraman called Dariusz Wolski. He’s a wonderful cameraman full stop, and had one shot at 3D doing the last Pirates Of The Caribbean film. So I talked to him and said, ‘We’re going to do 3D’ and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine’.
“So anyone who says, ‘Oh, you’ve got to add 16 weeks’ means they don’t know what the bloody hell they’re doing. It’s dead simple, straightforward.
If you know what you want, you know what you want.
“That (he holds up a finger) could be hanging in the foreground, and you can have a 45-minute discussion about something hanging in the foreground.
Say ‘I hate it; get rid of it’ or ‘I love it; **** off!’ It’s that simple.”
• Prometheus opens in cinemas on June 1
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