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When the first Alien movie was released in 1979, directed by Ridley Scott, it was considered groundbreaking. What was not to like? The film centered on Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ripley, who, along with group of scientists in space, comes face-to-face with an alien creature that doesn’t want humans around. Then came its sequels Aliens (1986), directed by James Cameron, and then Alien 3 (1992) directed by David Fincher, and Alien: Ressurrection (1997), proving that time and again, stories on these mysterious creatures never get old. Now, going back to its roots, original director Ridley Scott is bringing us more of the alien fascination we love in Prometheus.
When the idea was floating around about a possible sequel, Scott and writers Jon Spaihts, Damon Lindelof, were adamant about making the film stand on its own, and began to look at more like a prequel. According to Scott, though, the film shares “strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak.”
According to one of its stars, Charlize Theron, who plays researcher Meredith Vickers, audiences will be in for a surprise. “It’s not trying to continue a story,” Theron said while on set. “I think that it’s different in a lot of ways. The DNA feels similar but as a story, it stands on its own. With anything in this genre you don’t want to regurgitate the same thing and I think that’s what people will be the most satisfied about that this movie, that Ridley didn’t just go back to his Alien days. He is giving us something very, very original.”
In Prometheus, a team of scientists aboard the spaceship Prometheus go on a quest to find the origins of humans based on a star map discovered among the remnants of several ancient Earth civilizations. Led to a distant world and an advanced civilization, the crew seeks the origins of humanity, but instead discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race. As they test their physical and mental limits on a distant world, they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery.
“What’s our purpose, is always a question humans ask,” says Michael Fassbender, who plays the android David, on our curiosity for what may be out there in the universe. “Humans have always looked up into the stars and decided there were gods up in the skies sort of dictating how they would live their lives. It’s always something that humans have been driven and sort of obsessed by. So in the movie, to actually confront it and come up with this theory that in fact we’re just an experiment is interesting.”
So who are the major players in Ridley’s latest epic alien adventure? Here, the cast talks about their characters and what it was like filming this sci-fi journery.
An archaeologist. Rapace described Shaw as a believer “in God” with a “very strong faith,”but that “things happen and she changes into more of a warrior.” To aid her method acting she developed a complete backstory for Shaw in her head, and worked with a dialect coach to help achieve an appropriate British accent, she also had her make-up artist apply extra blood and sweat during filming to more accurately portray her character. Rapace noted, “I was out there filming for about six months and it was super-intense, my body was in so much pain sometimes but it was absolutely amazing.”
Michael Fassbender as David:
An android designed to be indistinguishable from humans. The ship’s butler and maintenance man, it begins to develop “its own ego, insecurities, jealousy and envy.” Fassbender says: “David’s views on the human crew are somewhat child-like. He is jealous and arrogant because he realizes that his knowledge is all-encompassing and therefore he is superior to the humans. David wants to be acknowledged and praised for his brilliance.”
Writer Damon Lindelof stated that the character provides a non-human perspective on the film’s events, saying “what does the movie look like from the robot’s point of view? If you were to ask him, ‘What do you think about all of this? What’s going on? What do you think about these humans who are around you?’ Wouldn’t it be cool if we found a way for that robot to answer those questions?”
In developing his character, Fassbender avoided watching the android characters of Alien and Aliens (1986) respectively, and instead observed those in Scott’s 1982 science fiction film Blade Runner. He drew further inspiration from the “funny walk and economy of movement” of Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and the performances of; David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Dirk Bogarde in The Servant, and Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia.
Idris Elba as Janek: The captain of the Prometheus.
Elba describes the character as “a longshoreman and a sailor,” with a military background. He says, “[being the captain is] his life and the crew is his responsibility,” and said “he’s a realistic, pragmatic character. He has to get involved. . . in a film with huge ideas, you need a character like this, who can go ‘Wait. . . why are we doing this?’”
Logan Marshall-Green as Charlie Holloway: An archeologist and Shaw’s love interest.
Marshall-Green describes Holloway as the “X Games type scientist,” explaining that he likes the character’s “leap-before-looking” philosophy and who is willing to go the edge.” Marshall-Green says: “he goes to the extreme in everything he does, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse of the [Prometheus crew]. I think what drives him is the thrill of the search.” He contrasted Holloway to Shaw, saying “she’s the believer. I’m the scientist. I’m the skeptic. I’m the atheist”.
Charlize Theron as Meredith Vickers: A Weyland Corporation employee, sent to monitor the expedition.
Theron describes Meredith as “a suit who slowly sheds [her] skin through the film,” who is also as “somewhat of a villain . . .[who] definitely has an agenda.” Theron also says, “Vickers is pragmatic, and desperately wants to control the situation.” Scott wanted the character to lurk in the background of scenes watching other characters instead of being the focus. Theron stated that it helped layer her character because “you’re just so suspicious of her, instantly.”
Prometheus opens Friday, June 8 and stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Gree, Sean Harris and Rafe Spall.