“I Hope They’re Really Frightened” says Scott
By Alicia Hollinger
Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood Today)6/8/12/
—“Walking on to the set the first day was pretty impressive,” says Charlize Theron star of Twentieth Century Fox’s “Alien” inspired movie, “Prometheus.” “I really didn’t expect that we were going to have an entire spaceship and on top of that, approaching Ridley Scott and having him say “Welcome to your spaceship!”
Scott, inspired by a figure seen only briefly in his earlier film “Alien,” a giant fossilized creature dubbed the Space Jockey, wanted to create something “larger” this time, asking bigger questions, something “epic.” Scott states “The starting question was who was the skeleton in the seat of the very first ‘Alien,’ what did he mean, what was his intention?
Something that had stayed with me ever since ‘Alien,’ was the mystery behind it,” says Scott. “Who was he? Where was he from? What was his mission? What kind of technology would his kind possess? I thought those questions could provide a springboard for even larger ideas…. The keen fan will recognize strands of ‘Alien’s’ DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, far-reaching and provocative. ‘Prometheus’is the singular genre tale I’d been searching for.”
Filmed on five stages at Pinewood Studios in the U.K., including one of the biggest stages in Europe, the famed “007 Stage,” the massive sci-fi set became “the greatest alien playground in the world,” as one production crew member puts it.
Scott chose to use all practical sets in place of the current trend of primarily CGI and green screens. “CGI is purported to be saving money and cheaper, but it’s not. My preference is to build as many sets as possible because I want to keep actors really engaged,” says Scott. “It is hard to overstate the impact of walking on those sets,” says Executive Producer, Michael Ellenberg. “It was inspiring on so many levels. There are so many understated, instinctual things that happen when you are filming on real sets. Everyone behaves in a more natural, organic fashion because it feels like a piece of reality.”
Production Designer Arthur Max designed all the spaceships and vehicles as well as the landscape of the planet. For the ship Prometheus, Max says he wanted “to do something that was state-of-the-art, which would represent a flagship spacecraft with every technology required to probe into the deepest corners of the galaxy. We looked at a lot of NASA and European Space Agency designs, and played around with those ideas in the context of what space travel would be like a generation from now.”
“I remember seeing a couple of sets and being completely awestruck and then someone says ‘have you seen the big stage?’ and you say oh, there’s more! It was quite awesome really,” says Guy Pierce who plays Weyland,.
“Over the past few decades, we’ve been ‘action filmed-out’ and ‘monster filmed-out’ and almost ‘science fiction filmed-out,” says Scott. “So the baseline question is: how original are you going to be?”
“The film’s central metaphor is about the Greek Titan Prometheus, who defies the gods by giving humans the gift of fire, for which he is horribly punished,” Scott explains.
“When you talk about the myth on which the title is based, you’re dealing with humankind’s relationship with the gods – the beings who created us – and what happens when we defy them.”
The film’s cast includes Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers, a cold, pragmatic Weyland Industries executive, Noomi Rapace as optimistic scientist Elizabeth Shaw, Guy Pierce as an aged Weyland, Michael Fassbender as the very human-like robot David and Logan Marshall-Green as the scientist Holloway.
Charlize Theron says about her stoic, unlikeable character: “ It’s a fine line of ‘oh god I hate this person’ and then trying to deliver something interesting in there. I thought there was great potential in someone that went against everything that everyone was there to do and kind of play on the grey zones of that.”
Although he denies ‘Prometheus’ is a prequel to ‘Alien,” Pierce says “The name Weyland is referenced in the previous two films and now we finally get to see him.”
“It was science fiction and Ridley Scott,” says Marshall-Green. “And I know enough about science fiction to know that’s a very big deal. I’ve been living in his world in my imagination due to his worlds and now I get to walk in his worlds as a man. It’s pretty awesome.”
What does Ridley Scott hope audiences take away from seeing Prometheus? “First of all, I hope they’re really entertained,” he says, “and then I hope they’re really frightened, and I hope they’re really stressed to hell and most of all I hope they that they talk about it afterward and at breakfast tomorrow morning.”