At the junket for Robin Hood, Steve asked director Ridley Scott whether the upcoming Alien prequel would be shot in 3D. Scott’s answer: “Absolutely.” However, he mentioned that the problem with shooting in 3D is that you can’t shoot in low light. Since an Alien movie obviously can’t be all sunshine and rainbows, they’ll be working on the lighting issue in post.
Steve’s on his way home from the junket and he’ll update this story with more details. However, it’s good news that Scott will be shooting the prequel in 3D rather than try to convert it in post. It’s even better news that he’s already made the decision and is actively trying to figure out how to make it work for his movie.
Steve here. I’ve updated the story with everything Ridley Scott said about shooting the Alien prequel in 3D. I also asked him if he’s been approached to convert any of his older films – like Blade Runner – into 3D. He said he has been asked, but he’d rather use his energy for something new.
The other big news from the interview is he said he’s developing two Alien prequels! When asked if he was going to shoot both together, he said, “at the moment I’m just trying to get the first one out.” In the next few days I’ll have the entire interview posted, look out for it as it’s a great one. Hit the jump for more:
And just to be clear, this interview was part of a mini press conference I got to take part in for Robin Hood. Also, for a lot more info on the Alien prequel, click here.
Question: Everyone in this room knows what you’re going to do next.
Ridley Scott: Alien, yeah. We’re doing that now. We’re on the fourth draft. It’s alright; it’s pretty good…
There has been a lot of talk about you doing that in 3D.
Ridley Scott: Of course, it’ll be 3D.
Are you going to use the James Cameron 3D cameras?
Scott: No, I think they’ve already moved beyond. Jim said that this technique, which had taken them four years, he’d said that now you could do it in two. Technology’s shifting all the time. I could have converted Robin Hood. They’d said last October, I could have squeezed it under the hammer and got it in as a 3D version of Robin Hood.
But doesn’t it make more sense to compose in 3D?
Scott: It’s not a big deal. People always agonize whether it’s 1.85 or 2.35 and I don’t really give a shit. It’s your eye and how you’re going to fill the frame. If you’ve got an eye, it’s not a problem. If you don’t have an eye, then they turn it into science. You’ve got a lot of conversations going on and that’s why it takes forever and it shouldn’t.
I’ve always heard you want as much light as possible.
Scott: That’s the downside.
But isn’t Alien almost the antithesis of that because the movies have always been about shadow and darkness and hiding things.
Scott: That’s what Jim said. The problem is you’ll have to grade it later. You’ll have to grit your teeth and light it not the way you’d like it. And then later, you’re gonna have to regrade it. Repaint it. In fact, Avatar, when you think about it, is almost a completely animated movie.
Can you now make an Alien movie that has the patience and same style as the first movie and it’ll still work for audiences?
Scott: I think it’ll work. Don’t you?
Yeah. The original still does. But I think audiences are now acclimated to things that have more energy.
Scott: But that’s 29 years ago that film. Now to say, “Do you want to recut it?” at the time, I thought, “Not really. Leave it alone. It is what it is.” But would things move faster today? Yeah. I had no technology at all. I had no digital technology at all. Even the ones that followed started to have tech. Like, digital rails and tracking. I had no computers at all. Alien was literally all physical. Even the spaceship, which would be about as big this table, you’d hang it from a wire and the camera would slowly push in underneath and you’d try and keep it steady as possible with a fan and a lot of dry ice blowing at it to give some sense of movement. That was it. It’s pretty good actually.
With all these movies like Titanic and Star Wars and Lord of the Rings possible going 3D, could you ever see yourself revisiting your previous films and doing a post production conversation? For example a Blade Runner?
Scott: You can virtually order it. I can go to a company saying, “Can you re-3D this?” It’d be quicker if I sat there and did it with them, which I would have. It’s when you’re grading a movie, I’ll sit there with a grader, we’ll flick to one scene, I’ll give ‘em two frames and say, “Like that.” You can do the whole film that way.
Has anyone come at you to consider converting any of your past films?
And your thoughts are?
Scott: Not really. I’d rather save that energy for something new. We could have done this in 3D, but everyone was so hesitant. We didn’t bother because the film’s good enough.
After the interview ended, we went back to asking about the Alien prequel:
You’re developing the Alien prequel, are you developing it as a series of films or a longer storyline?
Scott: It’ll be two. It’ll be prequel one and two. Then Alien 1.
Are you going to shoot the prequels together or shoot them separately?
Scott: At the moment I’m just trying to get the first one out.
While who knows if two films will ever happen, if you’re a fan of the Alien franchise, how can you not be excited.