Damon Lindelof Talks Turning an ALIEN Prequel into PROMETHEUS, the Viral Campaign, Revealing Too Much in Trailers and More

     May 11, 2012


I can safely say that Prometheus is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated films of the year.  Beyond the fact that it marks a return to the sci-fi genre for director Ridley Scott and is related to his classic horror film Alien, it looks unbelievably cool.  By now most people are familiar with the fact that the project originated as a direct prequel to Alien, but when Damon Lindelof was brought onboard to work on the screenplay it morphed into an original story that has ties to the Alien universe.

On the heels of 17 new images from the film yesterday, EW has now unveiled an extensive interview with Lindelof in which he addresses exactly how the film changed from a straight prequel to a separate story, how the excellent viral campaign came about, trying not to reveal too much in the marketing material, and he comments on how the title of the film is tied into the story’s themes.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

prometheus damon lindelofLindelof was asked by Scott and 20th Century Fox to read screenwriter Jon Spaihts’ original draft of the script and to provide his input.  During the comprehensive interview with EW, Lindelof revealed what notes he gave regarding Spaihts’ draft:

“I wrote maybe a four or five paragraph email saying here are all the things I love about it, I think there are some incredible set pieces here, I love the fundamental idea behind the movie, I feel like it’s a cool think piece. BUT I think it’s relying a bit too heavily on the Alien stuff that we’ve seen now five or six times in different movies. Chest-bursting and face-hugging and xenomorphs and I just feel that your idea is so strong and the characters can be made so strong that we don’t need any of that stuff. We can present iterations of that stuff in different ways.

That isn’t to say that this isn’t a movie that should be set in that universe, but I look at it more like a story that is running parallel to the original Alien, so that if there was a sequel to this movie, it would not be Alien, it would be Prometheus 2. And then Prometheus 2 is parallel to Aliens. And here’s how we could do that.”

michael-fassbender-prometheus-imageThe marketing campaign for Prometheus kicked off with an incredible teaser trailer, and since then we’ve seen the launch of a truly inspired viral campaign.  Lindelof talked about how those viral videos came about:

“We wanted to generate viral content that starred and featured the characters from the movie. Let’s see if we can talk Guy Pearce and Michael Fassbender into doing some stuff that would speak very directly to the prequel issue. So I pitched the idea of the TED talk, which everybody was responsive to and Ridley was able to convince Guy to do. And that TED talk really speaks to the prequel question because it’s Peter Weyland! And Weyland is a name that is very familiar in all of the Alien movies. And we’re going to tell audiences that he is a part of Prometheus. So here’s another way we are showing them, as opposed to telling them, what the relationship between the two movies is.”

noomi-rapace-prometheus-imageMany—myself included—have lamented the fact that, as of late, Fox has been flooding us with footage and images from the film.  I sincerely hope that they haven’t given away any major plot beats from the story, and Lindelof addressed the fine line that they have to walk between teasing and revealing:

“And I will tell you, the hardest thing to do from the insides of these things is, you and I hate it when you sit in a movie theater and after the trailer, you say, I guess I feel like I just saw the whole movie! So you don’t want to do that. But at the same time, you don’t want to be so vague and precious and pretentious about what you’re working on that you build an expectation that you couldn’t possibly live up to.”

charlize-theron-idris-elba-prometheus-movie-imageFinally, the scribe touched on how the title of Prometheus hints at the larger themes that are explored in the film:

“I don’t want to sound like the movie is a history lesson, but I do think that the primary take away from the myth of Prometheus is that the Gods were nervous about mankind. They were nervous about what they would be capable of if they had fire. Fire was a big piece of technology that they would build off of. And the story of any creation is eventually a child will try to destroy its parents. It’s a very paranoid world view, mythologically-speaking it pops up a lot. Especially for us Star Wars aficionados. So the essential story is: I don’t want to give my kid this toy because eventually he will develop it into a weapon that will kill me. So I will therefore withhold it from him. And what is the price I must exact on somebody who betrays me?”

It’s nice to get Lindelof’s perspective on the viral campaign and how much to reveal in trailers, and I’m very interested to see how the Prometheus myth ties into the full story of the film.  The full interview over at EW is a great read for fans of Prometheus or Lindelof in general, as he also talks about Scott’s influence on his career and how he feels Scott is taking the Alien franchise back after a couple of, shall we say, disappointing entries.


  • Edward Lee

    At this point, I’m only hoping Damon doesn’t f@rt all over this.

  • buzzfunk

    Yeah. I just don’t see how people think he’s a good writer?

    I mean Cowboys & Aliens was one of the worse movies i’ve seen in a long time. It just sucked. As did later episodes of Lost…

    So actually, having this guy involved, we should be worried.

    About Trailers: Plots beats? I mean did you watch the trailers? yeah if you pay attention, its very EASY to piece the story together. Very. They are giving away ‘money’ shots which am assuming are towards the end of the movie….

    I could be wrong….Lets hope I am…

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  • Slice

    As long as there’s no Flash Sideways or John Locke Smoke Monster, he may have punched out some good stuff.

  • Alex

    Funny watching people crap on a very talented writer for purely subjective reasons. Also “buzzfunk” your grammar is atrocious. How ironic.

  • tarek

    “BUT I think it’s relying a bit too heavily on the Alien stuff that we’ve seen now five or six times in different movies.

    I thought there was only 4 Alien movies ? Did he count the AVP crappy movies ?

  • ScaredForMovies

    The Prometheus myth in my view, wasn’t about the Gods being nervous about giving mankind fire because they felt threatened. It was more along the lines that Zeus felt that mankind wasn’t ready for fire. It’s destructive properties are much more a danger to themselves then anything they could do to the Gods. “And the story of any creation is eventually a child will try to destroy its parents.” I don’t really buy that explanation either. Creation Myths are about mankind trying to come to grip with our identity and origins not primarily about patricide. While I don’t necessarily agree with Lindelof’s views on the myth I still think and hope Prometheus is going to be really good. And although Lindelof has done well with TV he is currently 0 for 1 when it comes to movies. And Cowboys and Aliens wasn’t exactly an original idea.

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  • Mike


    Yeah, you are basically right the writer doesn’t really understand the Prometheus story. In the original mankind already had fire and Zeus took fire from them in an act of mistaken retribution concerning Prometheus tricking him into taking a bad sacrifice from man. Basically, the whole story is just Prometheus helping man at the expense of the gods to tick off Zeus. Zeus eventually has enough and severely punishes both man (using pandora) and Prometheus both. In man’s state prior to fire being stolen by Zeus they were actually better off than after they got it back in some versions of the story. The real story the writer is talking about is more the story of Adam and Eve or the Sumerian creation stories not Prometheus.

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  • mrperfect

    Seems Collider censors comments when using potty mouth language, oh well, as I was saying.

    Why the f%$k does this a** clown Lindelof keep getting interviewed and we hear nothing from the original writer Jon Spaihts? How can anyone think Lindelof’s involvement is a good thing for Ridley??!!

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