Prometheus: Loving the Alien

Scott revives Alien DNA

STEPHEN APPLEBAUM, The West Australian June 6, 2012, 11:33 am

After months of anticipation fuelled in part by a clever viral marketing campaign — featuring characters from the movie, including Guy Pearce's shady billionaire businessman Peter Weyland — Ridley Scott's Prometheus is here at last and promises to be one of the year's biggest hits.

The large-scale 3-D movie marks the genre-hopping Scott's return to the world of Alien, the landmark space shocker which made his name in 1979. It's also his first sci-fi film since 1982's groundbreaking Blade Runner.

Holding court in a London hotel, the 74-year-old says he might have come back to the franchise sooner but was simply too busy to think about it.

"It was only when I realised that Alien was done, cooked, finished, that they hadn't answered the big question," he says.

And that is: what is the meaning of the giant alien with a hole in its chest in the original film?

"So I thought about the big question for a bit, and put it down on that much paper," he adds, holding up a scrap not much bigger than a Post-It, "and went to Fox."

Wisely, Scott wasn't following on from the sequels and spin-offs, which descended into an embarrassing mash-up of Alien and Predator. Instead, he went back to before the movie which brought H.R. Giger's killer xenomorph to an unsuspecting public.

"The alien is no longer frightening, that's the problem," he says. "So I told them 'You have to go down a different route'. They bought into the idea, and here we are."
Where Alien featured no stars — Sigourney Weaver would became one on the back of her performance as Ellen Ripley — Prometheus positively glitters, with Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce and Noomi Rapace (the original Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

Vulnerable and feisty, the latter's Dr Elizabeth Shaw — a woman of science with a strong religious faith — is essentially the new movie's Ripley, and another of the Thelma and Louise director's strong and resourceful females.

Weaver's character was originally written for a man. But when someone suggested turning Ripley into a woman, Scott simply thought, why not? "I never think about the segregation of the sexes," he says. "I've got five companies and they're all run by women. What does that tell you?"

It is perhaps no accident then that the hard-nosed Weyland representative heading the mission this time around is played by the statuesque Theron. The actress seems to specialise in strong women — her character doesn't think twice about incinerating a fellow crew member - but don't tell her that.

"I think in cinema we have been made to believe that women are weak and vulnerable or they're really strong and the thing is that we're all really capable of the same amount of strength," she says.

"So I never tackle these roles and go 'This is a strong woman'. I mean, men don't get that ever. Nobody ever looks at a man and goes 'Wow, you're playing such a strong man'."

Her character is certainly stronger than Pearce's doddery billionaire. Although young in the viral campaign, he is old and decrepit in the movie, his youthfulness hidden under five hours' worth of make-up.

Pearce, 44, admits he was surprised when he was asked to play the role.

"But Ridley very complimentary said to me 'Well, you're a chameleon. You can play anything'." he laughs.
"But I would have done anything in this film, to be honest, just to be part of it and get to work with Ridley."

As good as the rest of the cast are, Prometheus is arguably Michael Fassbender's film.
As David, he follows his all-too human sex addict in Shame with a scene-stealing sinister, funny and mysterious supporting turn as a blond robot fascinated with Lawrence of Arabia.

Hailed as the cast joker, the Irish-German actor admits that he felt pressure coming to the project just three weeks after wrapping up Shame in New York.

"But that keeps a healthy amount of fear in you and then I go home and make sure I do my homework every night," he says. "You then just have to go, f... it. If you're going in with that fear every day, I can't imagine it would be fun. And it should be fun."

Urged by Scott to watch Dirk Bogarde's performance in The Servant, Fassbender keeps us and the other characters off balance. "You look at David and go 'Is he taking the piss?' He (Scott) said to me early on that he wanted that ambiguity."

However, even the actor admits: "I don't really know what's going on with David. I was just sort of messing with you guys."

Asked if he is concerned about what fans will think of Prometheus, Fassbender says he's already had experience of a "very loyal and very vocal" following with X-Men: First Class.

"You respect that," he says. "And then you have to disrespect it because you want to make some bold choices and risky choices.

"If you're worried about it and not fully focused on (what you're doing), you've got one foot here and one foot there and the film will be neither here nor there."

From The West Australian, 6th June, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil