The release date for Prometheus is still a little way off, but today we got a sneak peek at some footage from the movie, followed by a quick Q&A with director Ridley Scott and stars Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender. Here’s what we’ve learned:
1. It’s set in the same universe as Alien, around 30 years before the events of the first film (Prometheus takes place in 2089 and 2093; Alien was set in 2122). But while the original idea was to tell the story of the ‘space jockey’ from Alien, Prometheus soon evolved into its own thing. Scott explains, “The connection to the original Alien is now barely in its DNA – you kind of get [a connection] in the last seven minutes or so.”
2. Although Scott reckons he wasn’t overly concerned about weaving in references to the other Alien films – “the more I got into another story, the less inclined I was to take on board that it was connected to the original,” he says – you’ll still spot several ‘Easter eggs’ in the film.
3. Noomi Rapace’s character, Elizabeth Shaw, might not be Ripley, but it sounds like she’s going to be pretty impressive in her own way. “She grew up in Africa, and her father was a priest,” says Rapace, “But her father died when she was quite young, so she’s been on her own. She became a scientist, but she still has this gift of believing [in God].” Her faith will be tested, though: “She goes through a lot of things in this movie, and she transforms. She becomes more of a survivor, and a fighter; a warrior, in a way.”
4. Whatever it is that Shaw and the rest of the team go through, it’s going to be pretty scary. “I dreamt nightmares for, like, two weeks, probably,” Rapace said. “I had these weird, f**ked up images in my head.”
5. Scott promises that there’ll be a new scene that’s on a par with the iconic chestburster scene, “but we can’t say what that is.” (We can’t wait to find out.)
6. It won’t all be terror, though; there’ll be some laughs, too. Michael Fassbender plays David, the ship’s android, and a lot of the humour will come from him. “There was a lot of fun to be had with that character,” says Fassbender. “There’s something quite childlike about him.”
7. Although the original Alien got an 18 certificate, this one may well get a 15, or even a 12A. Scott doesn’t feel that certification is important, aside from the financial considerations involved: “I want the certification for this film that allows me to make as large a box office as possible.”
8. Prometheus might be Ridley Scott’s first 3D movie, but he says he found adapting to the new way of filming pretty easy. “It’s not brain surgery,” he says. “It’s actually pretty straightforward.” He speaks highly of the RED camera he used, too: “The RED was superb: the quality is fantastic. Whether it’s 2D or 3D, it’s amazing.”
9. Before the film had even been greenlit, Scott got together a team to figure out the production design. Led by Arthur Max, Scott’s go-to production designer, a digital design team sat in Scott’s LA office while he was working on the script, producing designs for the ship, the space suits, and everything else the film needed. The result was a phonebook-sized book of images that Scott used as his production bible once filming began.
10. But while the production design looks incredible, Scott reckons the story is really the most important thing. “One of the problems with science fiction, which is probably one of the reasons why I haven’t done one for many, many years, is the fact that everything is used up,” he says. “Every type of spacecraft is vaguely familiar, the corridors are similar, the planets are similar, so what you try to do is lean more heavily on the story and the characters.”
Prometheus is released in the UK on 1 June.