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Post by Admin on Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:23 am

Can Ridley Scott pull off Prometheus?
by Owen Evans
Owen Evans takes a look at the evidence

Can Ridley Scott pull off Prometheus?What could be the sci-fi event of the decade (well, in my eyes at least) is the return of Ridley Scott to the Alien franchise (reboot/prequel?). Prometheus is still shrouded in secrecy. The official plot synopsis from Fox promises us that

“The film takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery”.

Hmmm, not giving much away there are they? But leaked pictures online show what may be HR Giger inspired sets.

Filming is already underway in Iceland, with a strong stellar cast including current actor de-jour, Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class), Noomie Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Charlize Theron (Monster).

So are we ready for another trip into Xenomorph infested waters, or should we leave the face-huggers well alone or risk another Alien vs Predator: Requiem? Given that it has been a whopping twenty nine years since he made his last sci-fi film, Blade Runner (1982), can Ridley Scott pull it off?

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Post by Admin on Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:02 pm

WonderCon 2012: Ridley Scott Talks 'Prometheus' As Extended Trailer Debuts (Video)
Scott appeared onstage with co-writer Damon Lindelof and co-star Charlize Theron to introduce a new trailer for the June sci-fi tentpole
3:47 PM PDT 3/17/2012 by Borys Kit

Kerry Brown/Twentieth Century Fox

Many of those gathered at WonderCon--a smaller-scale Comic-Con held Saturday at the Anaheim Convention Center--arrived eager to see Fox pull back the curtain on Prometheus, director Ridley Scott's return to the sci-fi genre.

The project is perhaps the most intriguing movie of the year, since very little
is known about it even though it's scheduled to hit theaters on June 8. Many are still wondering if it's a sequel to Scott's sci-fi horror classic Alien, a prequel, or something else entirely.

The answers were finally revealed (sort of) when Scott, the film's co-writer Damon Lindelof and co-star Charlize Theron presented an extended trailer Saturday afternoon--which might only have raised more questions.

VIDEO: 'Prometheus' Short Unveiled at TED Conference

The trailer is a slick piece of work, teasing a mystery (which includes an "invitation" from another civilization), an expedition featuring co-stars Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender, then slowly ratcheting up the tension. Cries of "Get it off! Get if off" suggest a return to the face-hugging alien creatures that have starred in four Alien movies, including Scott's 1979 original. Images in the trailer definitely harken back to that first movie.

Scott, who received scattered standing ovations when he showed up on stage, revealed few details of the plot. He played down the Alien connection, saying that while there has been talk of the movie having "DNA from Alien," once he and Lindelof began story meetings, it morphed into something else.

"It evolved into another universe," he said. "If we're lucky, there'll be a second
part. It does leave you with some nice open questions."

Scott talked about how making sci-fi movies had changed since he last tackled the genre. A man in a rubber suit played the alien in Alien, "but today you can pretty much do anything you want" with digital technology, he said. And it's harder to engage audiences these days. "We're almost action-filmed out, almost science fiction-filmed out," Scott said. "So the baseline question is: how original are you going to be?"

Scott didn't really talk about the original aspects of Prometheus, continuing the level of secrecy around the project that has extended to the actors. "This the closest we'll feel to CIA spies, where we can't tell our loved ones what we are working on," Theron said.

Unfortunately, the sense of secrecy left the fans gathered in the Convention Center wanting more. In a major departure of convention tradition, the panel didn't take any questions from the audience, instead answering a few questions that were said to have come from Twitter. The move seemed designed to avoid unwanted fan queries.

That development, and the fact that the trailer was leaked online in the
previous 12 hours and was not an exclusive reveal for the WonderCon crowd,
left some a little disappointed. But, of course, they'll all be in line to see what Scott has come up with on June 8.

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Post by Admin on Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:31 pm

Damon Lindelof and Ridley Scott say they took the 'Alien' prequel out of 'Prometheus'

Plus: Michael Fassbender on bringing life to an android

By Gregory Ellwood Sunday, Mar 18, 2012 2:45 AM


Damon Lindelof and Ridley Scott say they took the 'Alien' prequel out of 'Prometheus'

David (Michael Fassbender) makes a startling discovery in a scene from Ridley Scott's "Prometheus."
Credit: 20th Century Fox
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ANAHEIM - You'd think after a 25 minute panel in front of approximately 3,700 WonderCon attendees, a few scattered interviews and a 20 minute press conference Saturday we'd finally know whether Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" was actually a prequel to his 1979 classic "Alien." It turns out the true answer may just depend on your definition of prequel.

After impressing the WonderCon crowd with the film's new trailer, Scott appeared with screenwriter and executive producer Damon Lindelof and star Michael Fassbender for a quick, but informative press conference. Lindeloff admits that when he first met with Scott to discuss the project the p-word was the big "elephant in the room and needed to be addressed."

Lindelof recalls, "When I first heard Ridley was going to direct an 'Alien' prequel and six months later my phone rang and the voice on the other end said, 'Are you able to talk to Ridley Scott?' And I crashed into a telephone pole. (Laughs.) I came back and [they told me they were going to send me a script that night]. I read this thing and we went in and had a meeting and he was already clearly saying, 'I want to come back to the genre. I want to do Sci-Fi again, but I think this movie is too close to 'Alien.' I've done this stuff before, but there are big ideas in that are unique in and of itself.' And I said, 'Well, I think that's what we have to do because if there was a sequel to this movie we are working on, which eventually became 'Prometheus,' it would not be 'Alien.' Normally that's a definition of a prequel is it precedes the other movie."

After making a dig at George Lucas' "Star Wars" franchise, Lindelof continues, "Often there is an inevitability to watching a prequel. So, If the ending of this movie is just going to be the room that John Hurt walks into that has eggs there is nothing interesting in that. We know how it's going to end. So, this movie will hopefully contextualize the original 'Alien' so maybe you know a bit more, but you don't [expletive] around with that movie. If were successful enough to even do a sequel to 'Prometheus it will tangentialize even further away from the original 'Alien.'"

"Prometheus" features Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green ("Dark Blue"), Rafe Spall and Sean Harris as explorers hoping to find out more about an ancient alien connection to Earth. When they arrive at the origin planet dictated in the archeological "invitation" it's soon apparent all isn't what it seems. And for anyone who has seen the original "Alien," it just happens to be the planet where Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) first encountered those pesky chestbursters that haunted her across the big screen for decades. Therein lies a connection that isn't a direct prequel, but could be argued either way in a court of law.


Watch: New Trailers reveal all sorts of new clues about Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'

Live Blog: 'Prometheus' and 'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter' at WonderCon 2012

Fassbender, who is coming off his critically acclaimed turns in "Shame" and "X-Men: First Class," has the unenviable job of playing David, the crew's lifelike android. On one hand, the 34-year-old actor appears to have put a lot of thought into his portrayal of a being that is almost human noting, "I think you want to play with as much of those human traits as possible. What if you program something and you you try and build a computer that essentially has a physicality to it and it's programed to be able to incorporate itself into a human environment? You have to have certain personalities that will get on in space. He has to be flexible. What happens when the program makes its own connections? Forming its own sort of ego, insecurity, envy, jealousy?"

Fassbender also notes, "You have this guy who is on his own for two years while everyone else is in cryostasis. So, what does he do? He amuses himself. There was the idea there that he was a little boy and he has to rely on his imagination to keep himself occupied. He's curious and how far will that curiosity go? In the way Damon wrote it, people treat him like a robot. There's a bit of contempt for David. He has all the answers or at least a lot of them. So, he's hyper-intelligent and more advanced than a regular human being so people don't really embrace him in. He's sort of used and abused. And so how does that make him feel? If robots can feel? You're always playing with the ambiguity if this robot is starting to form a real personality."

Lindeloff recalls it was a conversation with Scott early on which helped him find the character in the context of the screenplay.

"David is mass produced so there are 20,000 other David units out there that look exactly like Michael Fassbender. What a wonderful world that would be, huh? (Laughs). But the idea is that we all have our iPhones, but we put different cases on them and different apps on them. This David, once you take him out of the wrapping, he would begin to customize himself. He could change his hairstyle. He could change the way he speaks. He could take on different applications based on what this unit is meant to do. Once we cast Michael that was the killer app there. "

So, whether David is as corrupt and evil as Ash in "Alien" (played by Ian Holm) or as helpful and goodhearted as Bishop in "Aliens" (played by Lance Henricksen) remains to be seen. Especially after the robot delivers a very dramatic line reading ("Big things have small beginnings") at the end of the film's latest trailer.

Scott was mostly quiet during the conference just chiming to talk about how hard it is to make an original movie and using the examples of the original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Exorcist" as the forerunners of all modern horror movies. He also detoured around a pointed question about the differences in technology seen in "Prometheus" and in "Alien" (filmed 30 years earlier) by going off on a long tangent about how Steve Jobs' love of guerrilla glass inspired his idea to give the crew fishbowl like helmets. But, he's Ridley Scott. He's a legend and he's allowed to allow for a little creative license now and then.

The 20th Century Fox tentpole was actually something of a vacation for Lindeloff who segued relatively quickly from wrapping up the groundbreaking TV series "Lost" to collaborating with Scott on "Prometheus." While that might be daunting for some screenwriters, Lindeloff called it "a huge relief."

"I think obviously with 'Lost' it was six years of my life. Between Carlton and I we were at the wheel of the car and the idea of telling a story over 120 hours of time just felt so unwieldy," LIndelof says. "I went away for a month after 'Lost' ended and then the first project I did an committed the next year of my life exclusively to was 'Prometheus.' So, the idea of saying 'yes' it's going to fit in the confines of 120 pages, but you keep going over that same story again. And whatever story is out there about me saying, 'This is what you should do Ridley.' It's in fact the opposite. I came in and I think he had a clear conversation about the movie he wanted to make. He was enormously patient with me and then I wrote that movie. It was nice to be in the passenger seat saying, 'Maybe we should just make a left up here?' As opposed to driving the car. And if you are going to let someone drive [it's Ridley]."

"Prometheus" opens nationwide in IMAX and 3D on June 8.

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Post by Admin on Mon Mar 19, 2012 4:10 pm

Mar 18 2012 05:57 PM ET

'Prometheus': Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof on new viral promo selling Michael Fassbender -- VIDEO
by Adam B. Vary

Image Credit: Kerry Brown

It’s been fascinating watching the advertising campaign unfold for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. On the one hand, the film’s trailers have been presaged by a breathless pre-release campaign — advertising for advertising, the definition of a hard sell.

On the other hand, Fox has also undertaken a viral campaign for Weyland Industries, the mega-corporation behind the film’s exploration to discover the roots of humanity, that barely acknowledges its connection to the movie at all. The first volley in this campaign features Guy Pearce as company head Peter Weyland, giving a TED talk in 2023 about advances in artificial intelligence. The second is just starting to trickle out into the Internet, an advertisement for Weyland Corporation’s latest creation: David, a completely lifelike android who just happens to look like actor Michael Fassbender — who plays an android called David in Prometheus. Check out what looks like a sneak peek at the viral ad below:

Yesterday at the WonderCon fan convention in Anaheim, Calif., EW caught up with Ridley Scott and screenwriter Damon Lindelof and asked about how the faux-TED talk came about. For Scott, it all derives from an important tenant of advertising: Don’t try to sell what you’re trying to sell. That lesson dates back to Scott’s famous 1984 ad for the Apple Macintosh that played during the Super Bowl. “Steve Jobs was pissed off because we never showed a computer, and we never talked about a computer, which to me is the best form of advertising,” Scott says. “At the end, all it said was, ‘We’re going to show you why 1984 isn’t going to be like 1984’ — full stop. I think I’m accurate in saying [Jobs] didn’t like it. [After it aired], it cleared his stock I think in about three weeks, and thereafter Steve Jobs firmly believed in [that kind of advertising].”

Get more EW: Subscribe to the magazine for only 33¢ an issue!

So when it came time to brainstorm how to introduce audiences to some of Prometheus‘ headier ideas — What is the origin of humanity? What constitutes life? — turning to the highly addictive TED talks made perfect sense. “Our thinking was, if we’re going to use another brand that we feel is synonymous with what Prometheus feels like to us, it was TED,” says Lindelof. “And because TED had never been used as a marketing tool before, we weren’t really looking at it as viral marketing, although that’s what it was. It was a way to introduce Peter Weyland and his ideas — because that’s what TED talks are — into the movie.”

Of course, the tricky part about viral advertising is allowing people to discover it themselves. Just as Lindelof is finishing the previous thought, Scott pipes in: “There’s another [ad] coming, selling a product of Weyland Corporation which is for all intents and purposes a human being, called David. We talk about the Weyland Corporation and we never mention the film at all. But at the end, he puts his finger on the screen –”

Lindelof interrupts: “Don’t give it away!” So when will we see this full ad? “I don’t know what the plan is,” Lindelof says, shooting Scott a wide-eyed look. “I didn’t even know we were allowed to talk about it.” Scott grins: “Oh dear.”

Ultimately, Scott recognizes that traditional advertising is still necessary in today’s marketplace. “You need to have the poster, and you need to have the TV presence,” he says. “But it’s astronomical what it costs. Viral [ads] are free. You pop it on there, and 100 million people see it for nothing….That’s enough to create conversation, and that’s word-of-mouth.”

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Post by Admin on Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:41 pm

Exclusive: Ridley Scott On Prometheus
Talks Space Jockey and ratings
28 March 2012

Exclusive: Ridley Scott On Prometheus

Ridley Scott's Prometheus adorns the cover of this month's Empire (on sale tomorrow, fact lovers) and his words are to be found inside. Tremendous words they are, too.

The director sat down to talk exclusively through his impending science-fiction epic, soup to nuts, delving deep into his Alien past to shed light on his return to the world of the Space Jockey.

"[I've wanted to revisit it for] years! Years, years, years," he stresses, of Alien's space traveller subplot. "I always wondered when they did [Aliens] 2,3 and 4 why they hadn't touched upon that, instead of evolving into some other fantastic story. They missed the biggest question of them all: who's the big guy? And where were they going? And with what? Why that cargo? There's all kinds of questions."

Another question for Scott is the film's rating. He hints that the violence may have been toned-down enough to facilitate a PG-13 rating, but intriguingly suggests that the impact will match the R-grade shocks of Alien and Aliens. "The question is, do you go for the PG-13, [which] financially makes quite a difference, or do you go for what it should be, which is R? Essentially, it's kinda R."

"It's not just about the blood, it's about ideas that are very stressful. I'm not an idiot, but I'll do everything I can to get the most aggressive film I can."

Catch the interview in full in Empire's May issue, out on March 29. Prometheus, meanwhile, is out on June 1 in 3D.

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Post by Admin on Wed May 02, 2012 5:09 pm

He’s Not Done With Exploring the Universe
‘Prometheus’ Returns Ridley Scott to Outer Space
Kerry Brown

The director Ridley Scott on the set of "Prometheus" with Noomi Rapace. More Photos »
Published: May 2, 2012

IT is the year 2089 when Elizabeth Shaw, an archaeologist with a spiritual bent, chips through a wall in a cave in the bleak mountains of Scotland and finds out that the human race is not alone in the universe. Illuminated by her torchlight is a 35,000-year-old painting of people worshiping a giant, who is pointing to a small cluster of stars.

“I think they want us to come and find them,” she says, eyes alight.

Feel free to start screaming anytime. The words “we’re not alone” can be a doorway to either salvation or terror.

That is the knife edge on which the British director Ridley Scott has balanced “Prometheus,” his long-awaited return to the universe without mercy or comfort that he first created in the 1979 movie “Alien.”

“Prometheus,” due June 8 from 20th Century Fox, is the first science fiction directed by Mr. Scott since “Blade Runner” in 1982 and the first he has made in 3-D. The movie, with a screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof, follows the adventures of the archaeologist Shaw, played by Noomi Rapace, who gained fame as the girl with the dragon tattoo in the Swedish film trilogy. Aboard the hubristically named spaceship Prometheus she uses an ancient star map to guide her to an obscure moon of an obscure planet in the hope of meeting her maker.

Joining her on this cosmic cruise are, among others, Charlize Theron as a chilly corporate executive, Meredith Vickers, with mysterious motives; Michael Fassbender as David, an android of equally ambiguous talents and agenda; and Logan Marshall-Green as Holloway, Shaw’s colleague and love interest. Guy Pearce also appears in various guises as Peter Weyland, the leader of an interplanetary conglomerate that owns the ship and much of the rest of the galaxy.

Exactly what happens out there, neither Mr. Scott nor anyone else will say. Web sites have been devoted to frame-by-frame analyses of trailers, images and whatever clues Mr. Scott and cast members have let drop.

Among the viral goodies out there is the Web site of Weyland Industries (837.53 million employees), with an ad for its new line of David androids and a 2023 TED talk by Weyland in which he rattles off technological achievements, including the ability to make robots indistinguishable from humans. “We are the gods now,” he announces.

Uh oh.

It’s not much of a spoiler to say that things don’t go well. In Greek mythology Prometheus, after all, was chained to a rock and had his liver eternally pecked out for the crime of stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humans.

On the phone from London, where the film was mostly shot, Mr. Scott described it as “ ‘2001’ on steroids.” He said he liked Stanley Kubrick’s notion of “a police agency in the universe that will give a ball of dirt a kick.”

“God doesn’t hate us,” Mr. Scott added ominously. “But God could be disappointed in us — like children.”

The star map leads to the same planet that the ship in “Alien” will visit 30 years later, but Mr. Scott said “Prometheus” was not a prequel to that 1979 movie, which was a kind of haunted-house story featuring the crew of a space freighter being picked off by a monster that makes its debut by bursting out of someone’s belly. Moviegoers, he has said teasingly, will be able to discern the DNA of “Alien” in the new movie, but whether he means the gritty dystopian setting or the gooey stuff of life itself — or both — time will tell.

After five sequels and a series of comic books, Mr. Scott said he figured the franchise was finished, comparing the monster with a joke gone flat from too many tellings. Three years ago, eager to get back to science fiction, he thought there might be a way back into the “Alien” world, to “rescue” the franchise, as he put, it by picking up a loose thread from the original movie that had been neglected.

In the first film the unlucky freighter crew finds a derelict spaceship, and in the pilot’s chair is a giant humanoid being with an exploded chest. In the very next scene a strange egg opens up and wraps itself around the face of a crew member, played by John Hurt. “Once John Hurt looks into that egg, the film took off,” Mr. Scott said. But he was surprised nobody ever asked him about the “space jockey,” referring to the being in the pilot’s chair, which he called a “very obvious and glaring question.”

“Who was he? Why did he land there? Was he in trouble?” Mr. Scott wondered. And why was he carrying a cargo of such “wicked biotechnology”? Mr. Scott acknowledged that he himself did not know the answers and thought that James Cameron, who directed the first sequel, “Aliens,” would address the question. “Jim is more of a logician.”

But the enigma remained. He pitched the idea to Fox, but in the process of developing it, he said, “a grand new mythology” emerged.

That mythology is Mr. Scott’s own particular mash-up of high and low culture. On the one hand, he said, he was inspired by the current quest to look for life beyond Earth, under the sands of Mars and in the oceans beneath the ice covering Jupiter’s moon Europa.

“I think, wow, this is a pretty useful basis for my film,” Mr. Scott recalled.

At the other end of the credibility scale is the pop archaeologist Erich von Daniken, who argued in books like his 1968 “Chariots of the Gods” that there was archaeological evidence in the form of things like the Nazca lines in Peru that we had received visitors from outer space. His claims gained no traction among professional archaeologists, but, Mr. Scott said, “to me it all made sense.”

In news conferences and in conversation Mr. Scott has evinced sympathy for the notion — popular in some circles, including the Vatican — that it is almost “mathematically impossible” for life on Earth to have gotten to where it is today without help.

“It is so enormously irrational that we can do this,” he went on, referring to our conversation — “two specs of atoms on a carbon ball.”

“Who pushed it along?” he asked. Have we been previsited by gods or aliens? “The fact that they’d be at least a billion years ahead of us in technology is daunting, and one might use the word God or gods or engineers of life in space.”

And would we want to meet them again? Mr. Scott’s countryman the cosmologist Stephen Hawking has suggested that we should be careful Out There. “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,” Dr. Hawking said.

Mr. Scott agreed: “Hopefully they won’t visit.”

As the movie suggests, however, we might not be able to resist visiting them, whether they like it or not.

Behind the Prometheus legend is the idea that “the gods want to limit their creations; they might want to dethrone God,” said Mr. Lindelof, best known as one of the creators of the television series “Lost.” (He wrote the final “Prometheus” screenplay, revising a script by Mr. Spaihts.)

Mr. Lindelof said he had almost driven off the road when Mr. Scott first phoned: He was given two hours to read Mr. Spaihts’s script while a guard waited outside. He described the process of working with Mr. Scott as “you do everything you can to prevent him from thinking you’re an idiot.”

The dilemma with science fiction, he said, is that the questions it raises can be more engaging than the answers provided.

“I hope no one thinks we are overly pretentious,” Mr. Lindelof said. “We set out to make something entertaining and thrilling to watch, not a band of people sitting around talking about the meaning of life.”

In keeping with its Promethean theme the movie is laced with generational conflict, Mr. Lindelof said. There is, for example, the robot David. “Hey, a bunch of humans seeking out their creator,” Mr. Lindelof explained. “David knows exactly who created him, and he is not impressed by his creator.” He can see, hear and think better than humans and is stronger than they are too.

Nor are all the humans so impressed with David: Vickers refers to him as “a toaster,” ordering him out of the room. But Weyland describes the android as the son he never had, saying David has everything he would ever want in a son, except for a soul.

David smiles.

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Post by Admin on Thu May 24, 2012 11:21 pm

Ridley Scott interview
Director Ridley Scott tells Cath Clarke why he's making a science fiction comeback
Read more about 'Prometheus'

The official synopsis of the film, which stars Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender, describes it as ‘a journey to the darkest corners of the universe'...

‘Sci-fi films are as dead as westerns. There’s nothing original. We’ve seen it all before. Been there. Done that.’ So said Ridley Scott in 2007 and sounding absolutely, categorically final, which he was about it. Five years later the 74-year-old director blusters a bit gruffly when I remind him of his death-knell speech: ‘Errm. Did I?… I wish I hadn’t said that.’ He’s just given a press conference in a Leicester Square cinema unveiling 11 minutes of his new sci-fi film. Yes, sci-fi – and not just any old sci-fi. Unless you’ve been on Mars, you can’t have missed the juggernaut of hype and expectation behind ‘Prometheus’ – which started life as a prequel to ‘Alien’.

So what changed his mind? ‘I suddenly had an idea.’ Scott’s arms are crossed over his chest and his posture is poker-straight (his dad was a military man). ‘No one had asked the question: who is the big guy on the chair?’ He’s talking about the nine-foot creature (fanboys call him the Space Jockey) whose fossilised corpse is discovered by the crew in ‘Alien’, but who featured in none of its three sequels. Scott says he started wondering about the creature and its kind a few years ago: who are they? Why are they there? ‘If I got underneath that, would it be enough to unearth a new story?’ Predictably, the more he burrowed into the new story, the less inclined he became to tie it to ‘Alien’. Now, he says, the connection is ‘barely in its DNA: you get it in the last seven minutes or so’.

‘Prometheus’ is set late in this century, when two archeologists (one Christian, the other atheist) discover what they believe is a clue to the origins of human life: the same cave paintings in ancient ruins in different countries. The paintings turn out to be cosmic maps, and the pair embark on a mission aboard the starship Prometheus – named after the Greek god who was punished for giving humans fire (nastily too: his liver was pecked out by an eagle every morning, only to grow back that day). So we don’t need the trailer – with its desperate disembodied howl: ‘cut it off!’ – to tell us that this meeting with our makers may not end in a warm glow of halos.

Scott comes across as every bit the Hollywood survivor: a man who’s had to fight his fair share of corners. In a career of highs (‘Alien’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Gladiator’) and lows (‘GI Jane’, ‘A Good Year’), he’s watched studios carve up his films and critics misunderstand them (they blasted ‘Blade Runner’: ‘No one knew what the hell I was doing. No one got it. And then they ripped it off’). A ‘helmer’ in the truest sense of the word, Scott steers epic tanks of movies. How does he stop them careering out of control? ‘By casting very strong actors. I think I’m pretty good at casting. I take my time. Because everyone has to defend their island. They’ve got to be able to survive the process.’ He talks like this, in short, snappy sentences – his accent mixing Teesside (where he grew up) with Americanisms (he lives in LA). He was knighted in 2003, but earlier gave a journalist a ticking off for calling him ‘Sir Ridley’. He’s plain Ridley.

He won’t call ‘Prometheus’ a prequel (‘I think I’ve been quite successful in resurrecting a notion but going off at a new tangent’). But he’s craftily given us plenty of enticing nods to ‘Alien’, not least in the casting. Noomi Rapace, playing one half of the archeologist duo, looks every inch a heroine in the Ripley mould. Scott watched her twice as kick-ass feminist avenger Lisbeth Salander in the original ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ before meeting her. (Though she may not be so tough in real life – she had to get Michael Fassbender to open her mineral water bottle at the press conference.)

Fassbender plays an android, David (the ship’s butler), and he’s the character Scott is most enthusiastic talking about. There’s a great scene, he explains, where David is pouring a drink for a tipsy crewman, who’s ribbing him about not being human: ‘Are David’s feelings hurt? Is he pissed off? How far is he away from being dangerous?’ And how far from being human, presumably – if he’s feeling human emotions? ‘Exactly right. And it evolves beautifully at the end.'

Androids with soul-envy. It’s a paradox at the heart of Scott’s two modern masterpieces: ‘Alien’ and ‘Blade Runner’ (his most personal film: made after the death of his older brother, it’s filled with loss). Like the gods, androids are stronger and smarter than humans, yet they long for human flaws, to feel what we feel. God occupies the director’s thoughts more than He used to, says Scott, who’s an agnostic, converted from atheism. ‘You could have ten scientists in this room. You could ask them all: who’s religious? About three to four will put their hands up. I’ve asked these guys from Nasa. And they say: When you get to the end of your theories, you come to a wall… you come to a question. Who thought up this s$#!?’ Scott was turned off religion by his Church of England upbringing (‘altar boy… terrible burgundy wine… all that stuff’). Now? ‘Now my feeling goes with “could be”.’

Next up for the self-confessed workaholic is another future-set film, a ‘Blade Runner’ sequel. Does he stay on top of new technology to keep up? Not massively. ‘I’m not avid. I flick through Scientific American and National Geographic.’ And what about the future? Does he buy into the ‘doom and apocalypse’ vision of what lies ahead? ‘No. I try to be positive. I’m fundamentally a positive person. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing some of the insane movies that I do.’

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Post by Admin on Thu May 31, 2012 8:08 pm

Ridley Scott Opens Up About 'Prometheus,' Kick-Ass Women, and 'Blade Runner 2'
May 17, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
It’s been 30 years since ‘Blade Runner,’ but legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott has finally returned to sci-fi with ‘Prometheus.’ The director opens up to Marlow Stern about his mysterious new film and it’s connections to ‘Alien,’ his proclivity for kick-ass female leads, the ‘Blade Runner’ sequel, and more.

No project is off limits to Ridley Scott. Over the course of his 35-year filmmaking career, the English auteur has dazzled audiences with his thrillingly diverse oeuvre, tackling everything from science fiction (Alien, Blade Runner) and sword-and-sandals epics (Gladiator) to modern warfare (Black Hawk Down). He is probably the closest thing to this generation’s Kubrick.

Another thing that sets Scott apart is his reliance on strong women. He created the modern Hollywood action heroine with Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, in 1979’s Alien, and has continued to champion strong female protagonists in films like Thelma & Louise, G.I. Jane, and Hannibal.

After 30 years, the acclaimed director has decided to return to the genre where he made his name with one of this summer’s most anticipated films, Prometheus. The film follows the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as they explore an ancient alien civilization in order to trace the origins of the human race and, in fitting fashion, a kick-ass female character, the archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), takes the lead. Accompanying her on the mission is David, an android (played by Michael Fassbender), and Meredith Vickers (played by Charlize Theron), a villainous Weyland Corporation employee sent to monitor it.

In an in-depth interview with The Daily Beast, Ridley Scott opens up about why it took him so long to return to sci-fi, the mysteries of Prometheus—and its connection to the Alien franchise, why he loves featuring bad-ass women, his upcoming biopic with Angelina Jolie, and much more.

This is your first go at sci-fi since Blade Runner in 1982. Why did you finally decide to return to the genre?

Funny enough, the reason why I didn’t do sci-fi sooner is I was engaged in other things, and I would’ve always been involved if someone came around and had a good idea. For Prometheus, I came back to a very simple question that haunted me that appears in the first Alien, and no one answered in subsequent Alien films: who was the ”Space Jockey”—the big guy in the seat? If you really go into that, it becomes the basis for a pretty interesting story. When I went to the studio, we didn’t know if it was going to be a sequel or a prequel.

Were you initially reluctant to make another Alien film considering how the brand’s been treated in the years since, with films like Alien vs. Predator and Alien: Resurrection?

Listen, you do whatever you gotta do to keep something going, and I don’t do that. I tend to make the film and move on. Ironically, here we are over 30 years later and I think you might not even argue it’s a prequel. Once you start into the evolution of the story, it moves so far away from Alien that there’s only the mere DNA of the original in Prometheus.

Are there any similarities between Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace), the protagonist in Prometheus, and Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) from Alien?

The similarity between Elizabeth Shaw and Ripley is only by definition—that there’s a female in the lead. I wasn’t looking to repeat anything. I came across Noomi by accident when I was watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo about two years ago and was pretty taken with this little punk in the lead who seemed to own the street. As a protagonist, she’s a very physical woman who’s almost as agile as an acrobat and keeps herself enormously fit. She’s also got a real brain in her head. No one’s going to be disappointed in this one. It’s odd because Sigourney is about six feet and Noomi is about five-foot-five, but you don’t notice the difference on screen! And she sure does kick some ass in this movie—again and again. Her character evolves in a very clever way.

You’re often credited with giving birth to the modern Hollywood female action hero with the Ellen Ripley character in Alien. She was a new breed of woman onscreen—an androgynous ass-kicker.

Ripley was androgynous, and she didn’t emerge until she shouted at Yaphet Kotto to “Shut the f--k up!” and that was well into the second act. This rather pretty woman who everyone assumed in the first act was going to be one of the first ones to cop it gradually starts to take up the mantle, and the weapon. To me, it’s always organic and not a specific decision to make her female, but afterwards, there’s always 20/20 hindsight, isn’t there? I read with slightly raised eyebrows the surprise and the power about having a female lead instead of a male lead, and it refocused my awareness about what we’ve done. It was a calculated risk as well in a film that’s fundamentally a traditional “who’s going to be the last one standing in a big, dark house.” In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which was significantly frightening for me at that particular point cause I looked at it just prior to making Alien, that girl was still standing at the end covered in blood, but she’d survived rather than won. The difference with Ripley was that she had won and survived.

What draws you to these strong female protagonists?

I’m used to very strong women because my mother was particularly strong, and my father was away all the time. My mother was a big part of bringing up three boys, so I was fully versed in the strength of a powerful woman, and accepted that as the status quo. I think there are a lot of men who feel they’re being emasculated by having the woman be in charge; I’ve never had that problem. All the relationships in my life have been with strong women, from childhood. The relationship I’ve had in my life for the past 30 years is with a very strong Costa Rican woman. Oddly enough, I find it quite engaging to be working with a female when I’m directing. It’s kind of interesting.

There’s such a rich history of female leads in your films, from Alien and Thelma and Louise all the way to G.I. Jane and Hannibal.

The evolution of taking the side of the woman, as far as my career’s concerned, is epitomized by Thelma & Louise. The budget was very slender—about $15 million—because nobody wanted to make it. I first came on as producer, and I was selling the notion to four or five male directors—this was made over 20 years ago, so there weren’t many female directors to do it—that the movie should be an epic about two women on their journey for freedom. One director who turned me down said, “I’ve got a problem with the women,” and I said, “Well you’re meant to, you dope!” So I thought that I should direct it myself.

Have you found it more or less difficult to get a project green-lighted with a female lead these days?

It’s far more considered normal to have a female in the lead, and yet, studios will always look at the bottom line and the value of a female lead versus a male lead globally, because none of the budgets for these films are getting any smaller, so they have to take into account the bottom line from a business standpoint. For Prometheus, it was already written in there that the lead probably ought to be female, and that the two central characters in it would have a relationship—Noomi Rapace and Logan Marshall Green. They have two headsets in terms of the way they look at life and evolution, in that: one believes in God and the other doesn’t and one believes we were a petri dish at some point in time, and another believes we were somehow created. That’s the yin and the yang of it.

And your next project, after the Cormac McCarthy adaptation, The Counselor, also boasts a strong female lead.

I’m working on a project with Angelina Jolie called Gertrude Bell, which is a very interesting period piece of a woman in the 1900s whose tramping ground was very much part of Mesopotamia, which we now know of as Iraq. She’s involved with a person called King Faisal, and she was partly instrumental in seeing him to the throne of Iraq. She’s an important political figure.

What about the rumored Blade Runner sequel?

Funny enough, I started my first meetings on the Blade Runner sequel last week. We have a very good take on it. And we’ll definitely be featuring a female protagonist.

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Post by Admin on Fri Jun 01, 2012 5:43 pm

1 June 2012 Last updated at 05:02 ET

Prometheus sees Ridley Scott return to Alien world
Comments (275)
By Kev Geoghegan Entertainment reporter, BBC News
Prometheus Noomi Rapace plays Shaw, the Ripley-esque female protagonist

British director Sir Ridley Scott has returned to the Alien franchise more than 30 years after warning cinemagoers: "In space, no-one can hear you scream".

It was a terrifying tagline right up there with: "Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water" or "From the producers of Xanadu...".

But the catalyst for the new film Prometheus is not the sleek, razor-jawed H.R. Giger-designed xenomorph of the first movie and its sequels but rather a huge, unnamed figure who is only briefly glimpsed on screen.

"I was thinking about it afterwards when I was doing interviews and what's interesting is that nobody asked about him," says director Sir Ridley Scott referring back to his original 1979 breakout hit.

The huge figure in question has come to be known by fans as the "Space Jockey" - the lone pilot of a derelict spaceship investigated by the crew of the Nostromo - which featured Sigourney Weaver in her most famous role as Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley.
The "Space Jockey" makes his first and only appearance in Alien (1979) The "Space Jockey" was never formally introduced in the original 1979 film

The mummified figure, which looks at least twelve feet tall, sits at a set of controls with a large hole in its chest - a grim portent of the action to follow.

"I watched the further three Alien movies and it never came up," Sir Ridley adds.

Set around 40 years prior to the first movie, it features Girl With The Dragon Tattoo's Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba, star of The Wire and Luther.

The film takes its name from the Greek mythological titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the mortal world, only to be punished by having his liver torn out and eaten by an eagle day after day for all time.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote

Even Stephen Hawking says he hopes they don't turn up, because they're going to be smarter than we are ”

Ridley Scott on extra-terrestrial life

It is also the name of the film's spaceship, carrying a team of scientists on a mission into deepest space to find the origins of mankind - following a map of star constellations found in cave paintings and carvings from ancient civilisations across the world.

It is the fundamental question of where man came from and how we evolved, which most intrigues the 74-year-old director - whose other films include Gladiator and Blade Runner.

"You go into the internet and get right into entomology, beetles, the design of underwater creatures and the more you see, the more you think, why did these evolve this way?" he says.

"I think it was John Updike who said something like, 'We've been here for about three billion years, why did nothing really significant happen to us physically until about 70,000 years ago?"

"Is he saying maybe there was something half a billion years ago which was a civilisation equal to ours? If you had a cataclysmic event, there would be nothing left but atoms, particles, therefore could we have existed before and if we did, who or what destroyed it.

"But also, who created us and who kicked it all off again."
Prometheus Michael Fassbender (right) is the ship's Peter O'Toole obsessed android David, who may have his own agenda at work

Sir Ridley has touched on fundamental questions about humanity in his previous films - most obviously the sci-fi Blade Runner, which sees Harrison Ford hunting a gang of genetically-engineered beings seeking answers from their human creators.

Other themes revisited in Prometheus question whether life exists elsewhere in the universe and what happens to us after we die.

During his extensive research ahead of the film, Sir Ridley says he discovered that not even in the science world is there overwhelming agreement.

"I had a really great lunch with about 12 scientists and half of them believed in God and the other half roared with laughter said: 'Cobblers'."

This is reflected in the relationship between Rapace's scientist Elizabeth Shaw and her partner, who have fundamental differences in their beliefs - Shaw wears her late father's crucifix and still chooses to believe in a higher power while Holloway remains the cold pragmatist.
Prometheus Charlize Theron plays Vickers, a corporate presence on the ship, while British actor Idris Elba (right) is the captain

Sir Ridley himself believes "it is getting entirely ridiculous to believe that in this galaxy we're the only lifeform".

Referring to planned exploration of Europa - a moon in orbit around Jupiter, he continues: "They are sending probes into Europa, the ice giant which has water at its core and they believe could contain life. So, suddenly the whole thing's changing and now they're acknowledging that."

With a budget reportedly in the region of around $130m (£84m), the new 3D blockbuster is on a much grander scale than Sir Ridley's Alien - only his second feature film - and its comparatively shoestring budget.

The grimy, claustrophobic and cold-looking spaceship Nostromo gives way to a much brighter, more advanced-looking model which creates some issues.

Huge leaps forward in film and computer-generated technology means Sir Ridley Scott and his production team can do much more than they could four decades ago.

The ship boasts some very natty state-of-the-art hardware such as 3D holograms and projections.

Though the director dismisses any perceived gap in the technology today within the confines of what he had created in 1979, saying the very nature of the film asks viewers to suspend disbelief: "We're so far in deep space that the idea of us getting out there you kind of sidestep that real question."
Rafe Spall and Sean Harris (right) on set and Noomi Rapace The film was shot at Shepperton Studios in Surrey and on location in Iceland and the Isle of Skye in Scotland

One of the most anticipated films of the year, reviews have, so far, been mixed.

Prometheus has been released in the US as an R-rating, meaning viewers under the age of 17 will need to be accompanied by an adult. In the UK it is a 15 certificate.

The film is violent and tense but Sir Ridley - who has been an outspoken critic of the current rules of film ratings - insists he cut as much he could to open the film to a wider audience.

"It has to be be about the movie, so I've made concessions. There's a moment where you don't want to harm the movie.

But he acknowledges its a case of simple economics and getting an 18 certificate "could be the difference of $80m or more".

"It isn't real - I have monsters. Like the monsters in Lord of the Rings, for kids they were pretty scary but they got a PG-13 because their blood was black, that's rubbish".

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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:57 am

Dialogue: Sir Ridley Scott Explains 'Prometheus,' Explores Our Past, and Teases Future 'Alien' Stories
By Sean O'Connell Jun 05, 2012

Sir Ridley Scott appears to be feeling reflective. After directing a string of impressively original features that include American Gangster, Kingdom of Heaven, the underrated Matchstick Men and Black Hawk Down, Scott is revisiting his earliest classics. He’s prepping a sequel to his seminal sci-fi thriller Blade Runner, according to reports. And this weekend, Scott unleashes a meditative companion piece to his pioneering horror masterpiece, Alien.

Don’t excuse nostalgia for Scott resting on his laurels. Prometheus asks some very big questions about life, existence, the afterlife, and the alien influences on our home planet. It also boasts breathtaking performances by Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace. But it’s with those philosophical and religious mysteries that I chose to start with Scott for our exclusive one-on-one interview.

Be warned! Scott was very open and specific about Prometheus. As a result, there is a lot of detail in this interview that you might not want to know until after you’ve seen Prometheus. Please proceed with caution! Thank you, first, for giving us a film that we need to contemplate and discuss and argue about for days without ever really coming close to answering all that it asks. It feels like it has been too long before we’ve been treated to a meal such as this.

Ridley Scott: Thank Christ! I think that’s great. The film asks very big questions about where we come from as a species, and where we go when we die. It’s not possible to deliver concrete answers, but I’m hoping you can tell me how, in the planning stages of the script and story, you came to decide which open-ended, philosophical questions you would at the very least attempt to answer definitively.

RS: Well, from the very beginning, I was working from a premise that lent itself to a sequel. I really don’t want to meet God in the first one. I want to leave it open to [Noomi Rapace’s character, Dr. Elizabeth Shaw] saying, “I don’t want to go back to where I came from. I want to go where they came from.” So that was always going to be the natural ending for this film?

RS: Totally. And because they’re such aggressive f**kers … and who wouldn’t describe them that way, considering their brilliance in making dreadful devices and weapons that would make our chemical warfare look ridiculous? So I always had it in there that the God-like creature that you will see actually is not so nice, and is certainly not God. As she says, “This is not what I thought it was going to be, and I think we should get the Hell out of here or there won’t be any place to go back to.”

That’s not necessarily planted in the ground at the tail end of the third act, but I knew that’s kind of where we should go, because if we’ve opened up this door -- which I hope we have because I certainly would like to do another one – I’d love to explore where the hell [Dr. Shaw] goes next and what does she do when she gets there, because if it is paradise, paradise can not be what you think it is. Paradise has a connotation of being extremely sinister and ominous. We’re not going to get a slow build in this second film, then. These guys are volatile from the start?

RS: In a funny kind of way, if you look at the Engineers, they’re tall and elegant … they are dark angels. If you look at [John Milton’s] Paradise Lost, the guys who have the best time in the story are the dark angels, not God. He goes to all the best nightclubs, he’s better looking, and he gets all of the birds. [Laughs] So Milton was one of your influences for the Engineers?

RS: That sounds incredibly pretentiously intellectual. But in a funny sort of way, yes. I started off with a title called Paradise. Either rightly or wrongly, we thought that was telling the audience too much. But then with Prometheus – which I thought was bloody well intellectual – that wasn’t my idea. It was Fox’s notion, It came from Tom Rothman, who’s a smart fellow. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a good idea. This is about someone who dares and is horribly punished. And besides, do you know something? A little bit of an education at the cinema isn’t such a bad thing. Do you worry that you’ve lost the element of surprise that worked to your advantage with the original Alien? By now, we’ve seen numerous movies in the Alien universe, and like it or not, audiences are coming in with an expectation that deflates tension and suspense. Did you feel the need to pull the audience in to the story in a different fashion this time?

RS: I was hoping I had with the fact that you have a sequence at the beginning of the film that is fundamentally creation. It’s a donation, in the sense that the weight and the construction of the DNA of those aliens is way beyond what we can possibly imagine … That is our planet, right?

RS: No, it doesn’t have to be. That could be anywhere. That could be a planet anywhere. All he’s doing is acting as a gardener in space. And the plant life, in fact, is the disintegration of himself.

If you parallel that idea with other sacrificial elements in history – which are clearly illustrated with the Mayans and the Incas – he would live for one year as a prince, and at the end of that year, he would be taken and donated to the gods in hopes of improving what might happen next year, be it with crops or weather, etcetera.

I always think about how often we attribute what has happened to either our invention or memory. A lot of ideas evolve from past histories, but when you look so far back, you wonder, Really? Is there really a connection there?”

Then when I jump back, and you put yourself in a situation of a cave painting, you see that someone 32,000 years ago is showing me a little man sitting in the darkness, using a candle light that is fat from a creature he killed and ate. And in the darkness are two or three other family members whose body heat is warming the cave. But he has discovered that from a piece of this black, burnt stick, he has discovered that he can draw pictures on the wall.

In essence, you have the first level of emotion and a demonstration of entertainment, right? Because he’s drawing brilliantly on the God damn wall. Now, you put yourself into that context, it’s 100-times bigger than Edison. And people don’t go back to the basics and ask, “Holy s$#!, what gave him that knowledge, that jolt to not scribble on the wall but draw on it brilliantly?”

If you go back and look, a completely underrated film is Quest for Fire. That was one of the most genius, simplistic but incredibly sophisticated notion of what it was. The evolution of that was just fantastic. And that got me sitting back on my ass thinking, “Damn! What a fundamentally massive idea.” You throw religion and spirituality into the equation for Prometheus, though, and it almost acts as a hand grenade. We had heard it was scripted that the Engineers were targeting our planet for destruction because we had crucified one of their representatives, and that Jesus Christ might have been an alien. Was that ever considered?

RS: We definitely did, and then we thought it was a little too on the nose. But if you look at it as an “our children are misbehaving down there” scenario, there are moments where it looks like we’ve gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire. And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, “Lets’ send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it. Guess what? They crucified him.

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Post by Admin on Sun Jun 10, 2012 1:51 pm

June 4, 2012, 12:09 PM
Q+A: Ridley Scott's Star Wars

The director on Prometheus, what he thinks about God (not so pleasant) and aliens (a little more so), and his next movie

By Eric Spitznagel

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If I could pick just one word to describe Prometheus, Ridley Scott's highly-anticipated quasi-prequel to his 1979 sci-fi classic Alien, it would be this: gooey. To be honest, you'd be a little disappointed if it were anything else. Those who'll be waiting in line to see it this weekend should not only expect gelatinous space-worms bursting out of the throats and/or torsos of their screaming astronaut victims (and in 3-D, no less); they're likely looking for it. I recently called Scott, the granddaddy of cinematic alien slime, while he was in London for the movie's UK premiere. We talked about the evils of religion, Star Wars, why he'll never be a space tourist, and his plans for a Moses biopic.

ERIC SPITZNAGEL: I got kind of an Old Testament vibe from Prometheus.

RIDLEY SCOTT: Great. Then I've done my job.

ES: So that was intentional?

RS: Oh, yes. I'm really intrigued by those eternal questions of creation and belief and faith. I don't care who you are, it's what we all think about. It's in the back of all our minds.

ES: In the Old Testament, God is kind of an asshole.

RS: Yeah, he was pretty hard on us, wasn't he?

ES: Humanity's creators in Prometheus aren't much better. The "Engineers," as they're called, are really prickish and hostile. Are they a metaphor for your feelings about God?

RS: Me, personally?

ES: Yeah. Do you believe in a supreme deity who's sadistic and cruel and maybe hates us?

RS: Well, that's not me. That's Paradise Lost.

ES: You think Milton got it right?

RS: I don't think so literally, but it seems analogous sometimes. The only guy in Paradise Lost having a good time is that son-of-a-bitch dark angel.

ES: My favorite part of Prometheus is when a battered and bloody Noomi Rapace reaches for her crucifix necklace, and the decapitated robot head says to her, "Even after all this, you still believe." In that scene, are you Noomi or the robot head?

RS: That's hard to say. [Long pause] I do despair. That's a heavy word, but picking up a newspaper every day, how can you not despair at what's happening in the world, and how we're represented as human beings? The disappointments and corruption are dismaying at every level. And the biggest source of evil is of course religion.

ES: All religions?

RS: Can you think of a good one? A just and kind and tolerant religion?

ES: Not off the top of my head, no.

RS: Everyone is tearing each other apart in the name of their personal god. And the irony is, by definition, they're probably worshipping the same god.

ES: You know what would be awesome? You need to make a film adaptation of a Bible story.

RS: Oh, yeah.

ES: Maybe the Virgin birth? No movie's ever told that story with enough gloopy, viscous afterbirth.

RS: No, I've got something else in the works. I'm already doing it. It's called Moses.

ES: You're kidding.

RS: Seriously, seriously. It's going to happen.

ES: With all apologies to Charlton Heston, that sounds like it's going to be the most amazing film about Moses ever made.

RS: It is. I probably shouldn't have let that slip out. I'm not supposed to say anything.

ES: Who am I going to tell?

RS: It's definitely in the cards, though. What's interesting to me about Moses isn't the big stuff that everybody knows. It's things like his relationship with Ramses [II, the pharaoh]. I honestly wasn't paying attention in school when I was told the story of Moses. Some of the details of his life are extraordinary.

ES: Do you believe in aliens? Is there life outside our planet?

RS: Yes, absolutely. Without any question.

ES: You're that convinced?

RS: I'm that convinced. And that's not just me letting my imagination run wild and all that bullshit. Just stare up at the stars at night, and you'll have those corny thoughts like we all do. How can you look at the galaxy and not feel insignificant? How on earth can we be it? It doesn't make sense.

ES: But believing in aliens isn't all that different from believing in a divine creator. It's not like there's evidence. It's still about faith, right?

RS: It doesn't matter how much faith you have or don't have. I just don't buy the idea that we're alone. There's got to be some form of life out there.

ES: Well, there doesn't have to be. It'd be nice.

RS: We'll find out soon. That probe that's landing on Mars this summer... What's it called?

ES: Curiosity.

RS: Yeah. [Laughs] Great name, by the way. They're going to get in there and look at the ice particles, correct?

ES: I really don't know much about it.

RS: I think that's what it is. They're already speculating that they might find life. Or an early stage of life, like dormant particles. I wouldn't call it bacteria, but a life form.

ES: We're getting closer to space tourism becoming a reality. Have you bought a ticket yet on the Virgin Galactic?

RS: Good God no. No, no. Not a chance.

ES: You have no interest in being an astronaut?

RS: Nothing could interest me less. I'd much rather have a martini and go to a nice restaurant.

ES: You could do a lot more than that with the money. Tickets on the Virgin Galactic are $200,000.

RS: Really? That's f#%@#&! absurd. I'm just not their target audience for this. The idea of flying in general does not appeal to me. I can barely understand why people want to fly at all, other than that it's occasionally necessary.

ES: You wouldn't be in London right now if it wasn't for air travel.

RS: And I'm not delusional. I know it's a good thing. But I don't understand flying as a recreational activity. I understand glider-flying. I understand doing a loop-the-loop in a biplane. But I don't understand getting in a plane with no real destination and just sailing around in the air for two hours and then landing. That's insanity to me.

ES: In Alien and now Prometheus, you make space travel seem like a nightmare. If your movies are to be believed, it involves long stretches of boredom and sadness, punctuated with moments of extreme violence and terror. Do you think that's what it's really like?

RS: Totally. [Laughs] You're actually a sentimentalist. If you're doing any serious space travel, going any respectable distance, you have to be put into a coma for the journey.

ES: You mean cryogenics?

RS: That's right. I don't know if the technology is even close to being practical yet, but I know I don't want any part of it. I think going into space would be like going deep into the ocean, like 5,000 meters down. When you go down that far, it's just awfully black. There's not much there except mud and some particles. I imagine space would be a similar thing. The only difference is you're hoping to bump into some sort of intelligent extraterritorial being.

ES: And then you have the question of, are they the good kind of E.T., or the bastard kind?

RS: Exactly.

ES: Do they want to be our friends, or burrow through our intestines?

RS: I don't know. But if they're out there, they're definitely superior to us.

ES: Why are you so sure?

RS: Well, by definition — the distance they must have traveled to get to us — they're obviously way ahead of us in terms of intelligence.

ES: Were you at all reluctant to revisit Alien with a prequel? There are so many ways it could've backfired.

RS: It was challenging, but it's also a very happy thing to do, because people love the series so much. It's nice to reawaken that old enthusiasm in an audience. It's kind of what we do as filmmakers. It's why people read books about characters or situations they're already familiar with. It's why there were six Star Wars films.

ES: But right there, the Star Wars prequels — that's a pretty convincing cautionary tale for how a prequel can blow up in your face. George Lucas probably should've left well enough alone.

RS: Well, all I can say is that, of all the movies, my favorite was the first one. The original Star Wars.

ES: Not Empire Strikes Back?

RS: No, no, no. Star Wars was head and shoulders above everything else.

ES: I'm speechless. I don't think I've ever talked to anybody who believed that.

RS: It really is true. It's the best in the series by far.

ES: For what reason? The story? The simplicity of the special effects?

RS: All of it. It had some nice characters, and it was very tangible. The story was very clear and concise, and the special effects were modest. I think they still hold up. They're not show-off-y.

ES: Lucas went a little overboard with the special effects in the prequels. How do you find that balance between having fun with movie effects and not giving your audience a headache?

RS: You just need a good story. Usually, when special effects get in the way, it's because the story isn't strong enough. If you don't start with a strong screenplay, it's easy to fall back on special effects, thinking it's going to carry you. But it never works. It's just tiresome.

ES: Is there any way you'd consider remaking the Star Wars prequels?

RS: Why would I do that?

ES: I don't know. So they'd be good?

RS: [Long pause] I don't think so. The first Star Wars is fine. If you're looking for that kind of thing, just watch it again.

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