Ridley Scott’s Prometheus has had a bit of a complicated history. Initially the film began as a straight-up prequel to Scott’s Alien and was going to act as his first sci-fi film in 25 years. However, after Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek) was brought in to do some rewrite work on John Spaihts’ script, the project was suddenly referred to as “an original story,” though Scott maintained that fans would be able to spot “strands of Alien’s DNA” in the new film. Confused yet? Well recently Lindelof appeared on the brilliant Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show and spoke at length about the genesis of Prometheus and its connection to the Alien universe. Hit the jump to read what he had to say.
Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show is a web-based series of lengthy and uncensored interviews. His guests include Jon Hamm, Matthew Perry, Dana Carvey, Jason Reitman, Rob Reiner and many, many more. The low-key environment and no time-limit format provides for some incredibly intriguing and candid conversations, as was the case with Damon Lindelof’s appearance this past weekend.
The good folks over at SlashFilm have transcribed Lindelof’s comments regarding Prometheus, in which he begins by explaining what he thinks the best approach for a prequel should be:
“It started as an Alien prequel. That is what everybody wanted it to be. Obviously, Ridley Scott has not made a science fiction movie in 25 years, since Blade Runner, so the idea that he’s returning to this genre is huge. But there is a real issue which is — what is the state of the Alien franchise at this point in our lives? There has been Alien vs. Predator and all these things, and its been completely and totally diluted. I’ve always felt that really good prequels should be original movies. And the sequels to those prequels should not be the movie which already exists because, with all due respect to anyone who makes a prequel, but why would you ruin the greatest twist in the history of cinema, “Luke, I am your father”, by showing me three movies which basically spoil that surprise. You can do movies which take place before Star Wars, but I don’t need to see the story of the Skywalker clan. Show me something else which I can’t guess the possible outcome of. There is no suspense in inevitability. So a true prequel should essentially proceed the events of the original film, but be about something entirely different, feature different characters , have an entirely different theme, although it takes place in that same world. That was my fundamental feeling about what this movie wanted to be.”
“And truth be told, it wasn’t script doctoring in the strictest sense because the draft that existed before I came on was written by this guy named Jon Spaihts and it was very good. And there were a lot of things in the movie, Prometheus, which were Jon Spaihts and I feel like somewhere in the media reconstruction of this story, the tale is that I come in, I pitch an entirely new story, and its so original that everything else gets thrown out and that’s what we’re doing. In my brain, that’s not exactly what happened. But I also do feel that this movie is the movie I would want to see as a fanboy, take place in that Alien universe, which precedes the events of the original Alien, but is not necessarily burdened by all the tropes of that franchise with Facehuggers and Chestbursters, and all that stuff that I love…but its sorta like, we’ve seen it before, can we do something different this time? And thats the movie that Ridley wanted to make. And when you’re working with an auteur, you basically just shut your mouth and listen and try to transcribe and channel the vision of that person, and get out of the way.”
So it sounds like Lindelof is taking a similar approach to the way he tackled Star Trek: creating a prequel-ish film based on an existing franchise, yet still enabling the new film to keep the audience on their toes. He and the screenwriting team on Star Trek did a bang-up job, so hopefully Prometheus is just as fresh.
For those unaware, Prometheus stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Idris Elba. The film hits theaters on June 8th, 2012 in 3D.
Here’s the full interview. Thanks to TrekMovie for the time index.
- [23:00] Intro of Lindelof
- [26:00] Lost, including criticism of finale (and talk about other show finales), and “feud” with George RR Martin
- [50:00] Inspirations, including (George Lucas & Stephen King)
- [59:00] Early writing and time at NYU
- [1:07:00] Early life in Hollywood
- [1:15:00] More on Stephen King and King film/TV adaptations
- [1:26:00] Admits likes Star Wars more than Star Trek (in series of This v That questions)
- [1:27:00] Genesis Lost and his starting his JJ Abrams collaboration, and becoming showrunner, and even more Lost
- [2:10:00] Cowboys & Aliens and working with Jon Favreu, and collaborating with Orci, Kurtzman and other writers (on C&A)
- [2:18:00] Prometheus (and working with Ridley Scott) and its connection to Alien franchise
- [2:24:00] How the writer’s strike allowed him to produce Star Trek while also working on Lost
- [2:25:00] More on Ridley Scott and Prometheus [fun fact: took 2 weeks to write first draft of script]
- [2:34:00] Talks briefly about newly announced 1952 project with Disney, clarifies he won’t be working on it until after the Star Trek sequel
- [2:38:00] Wrapping up and outro
- [2:43:00] Damon playsLarry King Game (doing bad Larry King impression)