Damon Lindelof Talks PROMETHEUS, LOST, Ridley Scott, What He Added to Jon Spaihts’ Script, and the STAR TREK Sequel

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With Prometheus opening this weekend, 20th Century Fox held a massive press junket in London last week where I was able to interview most of the cast and director Ridley Scott.  Here’s my print interviews with Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender and Scott, and here’s my on camera interviews with Charlize Theron and Guy Pearce and Logan Marshall-Green.  For more on the film, here’s four clips and five minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and Matt’s review.

During my interview with screenwriter Damon Lindelof we talked about getting to watch Ridley Scott direct, what he added to Jon Spaihts‘ original script, how he got an executive producer credit, the Star Trek sequel, and a bit on Lost.  Hit the jump to watch.

Finally, I’m happy to report that Prometheus was great. Unlike most Hollywood movies that get watered down for mainstream acceptance, Prometheus is the type of big budget sci-fi that studios rarely make. I definitely recommend seeing it in a theater. Also, the 3D is fantastic. Here’s today’s interview.

prometheus damon lindelofDamon Lindelof

  • A Lost question from Matt Goldberg. He wanted to know why did pregnant women always die on the island between the Dharma initiative’s downfall and Claire giving birth to Aaron
  • What was it like being an executive producer on Prometheus.  Talks about how much he was geeking out that he got to be on set with Ridley Scott and watching him direct.  Also explains how he became an executive producer much later in the making of the film and the differences between being a writer on a movie and a writer on TV.  Says “I’m getting paid to write fan fic.”
  • Talks about Jon Spaihts’ version of the script and what he did.  Also explains that the big ideas of Prometheus were in Spaihts’ script but Lindelof added more of the back story on the Space Jockey. He also explains that Spaihts’ was hired to write a Alien prequel and Lindelof was brought in to bring up the other side of the script
  • What was his first day like on the set of the Star Trek sequel





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  • Vinyard

    Why couldn’t Fox have just given the writing duties solely to Spaihts?
    The film – from the point of an Alien fanboy/geek – would have been just as fulfilling.
    Every script Lindelof has worked on – so far in conjunction with others – has not turned out, what seems to be, any better than if he were not a part of the screenplay.
    In other words, I actually believe Lindelof is brought on to make a screenplay worse: it seems studios don’t want geeks really enjoying their beloved franchises; instead the geeks and hard-core fans are left disillusioned.
    There are no other screenwriters out there with the ability to write solid, coherent screenplays? None? I’ll answer this… BULLSHIT. There are.
    When Lindelof says, that as a screenwriter, the thing he absolutely “hates” is doing “research” on a script, I cannot help but feel angered.

    • interestinggg

      you totally figured it out bro. big ass conspiracy.

      • Kindly Ol Dr Foot

        Ironic you say that considering some of the scientific bait and switch in this movie. Charlie’s instruments tell him the air in the Space Jockey ship is breathable so he starts taking off his helmet, and his girlfriend -the religious scientist- calls him crazy. He then calls her a skeptic, implying maybe that he’s the superstitious one. That’s not intriguing writing, it’s chicanery.
        Convoluted interpretations of why it went wrong might be appropriate, since that’s how it went wrong.

  • josheli

    Hmmm….

    That was a lot of talking in circles. But it seems that the blame is being placed on Ridley for such a piss poor narrative.

    It very well could be the case. But some of the characters….oh wait…MOST of the characters in this movie are completely void of logic. I mean…stuff in this movie happens JUST TO HAPPEN. And I think any person with common sense would understand that.

    I say movie with a bit of pain. This thing is trying to be a FILM! Something to be taken seriously! Something to be carried through the ages.

    It does ask important and thought provoking questions, “no doubt,” as David would say…but it falls flat on it’s face.

    I don’t care that it doesn’t answer any of them! Bladerunner didn’t really answer the questions it initially asks…but at least it had the balls to stick to a coherent character development!! This is just sad!!!

    Damon….I loved LOST….but man, shame on you.

    Shame on Ridely.

    Shame on this whole thing.

    You really could have had something special here. And MAYBE with a 3 hour cut of a movie you DO have something special. But what you gave us was just the most amazingly beautiful empty unanswered waste of time….

    And I left the commas out on purpose.

    That’s all.

    • amy brown

      Hi
      It seems everyone wants to be critical because that seems to be the accepted way to be but I suggest (mildly) that the movie, Prometheus, is a monumental picture – There is no way anyone but Ripley Scott could envision something as layered and multidimensional that answers many questions and yet creates even more – therein is the genius of a great film maker. I watched the movie the first time and I was depressed the entire next day, then watched it again and feel somewhat uplifted. Can’t wait to see it again to answer all the multiple questions that keep popping up. Sheer enjoyment and genius!

  • Damon lindelhof

    One of the best sci fi films I have seen in years. Balls to the wall laugh out loud funny and scary as hell. Can’t wait to start working on the sequel. Plan for David and Shaw to mate and have robot children who become the engineers.

  • ti

    Cowboys & Aliens: Badly written mess
    Promethus: Badly written mess
    Star Trek 2: Guess What

  • ti

    *Prometheus

  • rooster

    You suck Damon! your ruined it……you ruined it.

  • _____ we are LEAVING

    Re that idea that stuff happens just to happen, yeah it’s caught in a lot of scifi movie conventions but maybe not so much by Alien as by Blade Runner.
    It tries to say something about life. BR boils it down to replication but the deus ex machina so to speak is empathy making it more than the sum of its parts. Did Dr Shaw’s cross, or anything else in Prometheus do that? No. It was chaotic, not quite a mess, but loud and flashy with gross scares that were almost funny. Having Ridley Scott direct doesn’t help any more than him having this script hurts his previous efforts.
    Also re the critics: they’re not ALL paid off (ha ha… right?) so maybe it’s BR disrupting this again. They don’t want to repeat the mistake of those who dismissed a cult film that’s been voted one of the best of the genre for decades since it bombed.
    I don’t know, it’s just my take. But I can’t really recommend Prometheus.

  • Matty

    Don’t really understand all the interweb hate on Prometheus. I thought it was cool! Sure, the end left a lot unanswered/ up in the air but it was so fun to watch! It reminded me of a homage to Alien rather than an addition to Alien.

  • Jd

    Wanna know what’s great, watching a red robin commercial 40 times because your video won’t play on a tablet. Please fix. Hopefully it’s working by the time I get back from eating the cheeseburger I’ve been programmed to desire.

    • Bad monkey

      Enjoy your heart attack.

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  • Nick Hart

    saw prometheus tonight, felt my respect level for lindelof dropping throughout it. once david gives charlie a drink i felt like there was a very distinct tipping point of too many questions already asked to be answered in a logical fashion, and it just spiralled out of control very quickly after that. sure it was an entertaining spiral, but to what end? a cliche, anticlimactic ending mostly featuring stuff that was shown in all of the previews with a couple of incredibly heavy-handed references to the original alien, while still not even bringing the story full circle. if the sequel to this is incredible, and bridges all the right gaps, i will gain a lot of my respect back, but i really think lindelof’s mysteries on top of mysteries approach was not really suited for this movie.

  • Voc007

    Wow, that interview brings tears to my eyes. But explains a lot.

    There was a script with aliens in it. They removed the guts of it and what we had left was a movie with no plot where the characterless crew do uninteresting stuff without conflict or drama. People’s actions don’t make sense, there are no consequences to actions and the dialogue is like air.

    All we are left with are those “big” ideas and questions – and they ARE NOT a plot and alone do not make a movie. C’mon, it’s screenwriting 101!!

    • Bad monkey

      What ideas? C’mon it’s commenting 101!

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  • Lance

    I don’t think this movie is as bad as some here are making it out to be. I think the main reason some people are upset is because there weren’t more aliens running around, and there weren’t any colonial marines to take care of them.

    The film’s not perfect by any means. But I’d rather have twenty films like this that reach too far and maybe fall short a little, than a single reel of another Aliens Versus Predator type film, which cheapened the franchise. Whatever else Prometheus might be, it doesn’t commit that sin.

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  • zvadf

    mysterious for the sake of mystery, nebulous because it might be cool; Black Goo = Black Smoke Monster; “Big things have small beginnings” but you usually don’t know they are big until they are.

  • Michael

    I´d like to go bit deeper into the matter, beyond a reaction to what people might have expected when marketing departments trumpeted an “Alien Prequel” into the air and how its going to be fulfilled or not, actually I give a shit for that aspect. A movie is carried by the main characters intentions, and if “she” survives her efforts to get where she wants to be… We´ve got a believer here, who is a visionary explorer, not afraid of anything, in contrast to a innocent android who gets demonical because he just “can do”- both of them have the same goal, and they survive because they know what they want.Talking about that, this is the only critical aspect that occurs to me: I would have enjoyed the film much more, if Mr. Lindelof would not have tried to multiply the lead roles into talking heads. That ´s TV, and it does not belong to the big screen with its heavy density and fantastic athmosphere. So he is doing great by “passing the baton” to someone who narrates with pictures, and not in a hundred corresponding dialogues which fight to represent two hundred character relationships. This is about a girl which does not fear anything (the only parallel to the first alien movie), and who wants to find out, if there is a intentional sense in our very existence- and which one. That is what the film is about. And I can´t wait to see, if Elly and David learn to team up on their way to enlightenment. David has been overwhelmed by her shere power- I mean, you get second place and better learn, if you find yourself being carried in a powergirl´s handbag, don´t you?

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