The Making Of Prometheus


The last thing the Alien franchise needed was another sequel. Or, for that matter, another mandible-crunching clash with a Predator. Still, after 1997’s divisive Alien: Resurrection, rumours of an Alien 5 were more persistent than a Facehugger with a crush. Sigourney Weaver didn’t help matters, repeatedly pledging her allegiance to keeping the franchise alive.

Just last year she spoke to Moviefone about returning one last time to round off Ripley’s story. “I would have liked to do one last story where we go back to the planet, where Ripley’s history is resolved,” she said. Sadly, the likelihood of that happening is looking bleaker by the year. “I doubt [it will happen] just because the way the industry is,” she added. “While I can’t speak for them, I think for Fox, once you’re 60, you’re not going to be starring in an action movie. I think it’s too bad that that’s the case.” Another reason it’s unlikely to happen? Ridley Scott’s going back to “the planet”, or LV-426, himself, and he’s left Ripley at home…

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So that was Comic-Con 2011

Every year, the San Diego Comic-Con – to embrace geek speak – shoots by faster than a speeding bullet. And the 2011 Con was no different, with four whirlwind days of nerdtastic programming screeching by at a breathless pace. Most of my time this year – as with in 2010 – was spent in the dark and hallowed Hall H, where all number of fantastic panels rolled out stars and exclusive footage. Even films that I had no interest in (uh, Underworld 4…) had their plus points (in that case, an on-form Kate Beckinsale).

Highlights? Clear frontrunner The Amazing Spider-Man took the biscuit with its exclusive clips and exhaustively entertaining panel (Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, director Marc Webb). Snippets showing off Garfield both as Peter Parker and Spidey himself had a more-packed-than-ever Hall H heaving with whoops and cheers, as the webhead reboot proved that Webb had a perfect hold on the dark drama as well as the more comic-book-y humour.

Not only that, but we got our first glimpse at Ifans as the villainous Lizard – replete with the CGI antagonist’s stunning reveal. Sam Raimi’s trilogy clearly has its fans, but after seeing this footage, I’m more than confident that Webb can blow Raimi’s increasingly-dated movies out of the water.

The other main standout of Comic-Con 2011 was the eagerly-anticipated panel for Prometheus. Though director Ridley Scott and star Noomi Rapace couldn’t make it, they still showed fans some loving by speaking live via video link from Iceland, where they were completing the final week of shooting on the sort-of Alien prequel.

In Hall H, writer Damon Lindelof and other star Charlize Theron traded banter, before presenting the first ever footage from the flick. And even though the film’s not based on a comic book, the images chucked our way were a marvel. Scott’s crafted a film that – while not a direct prequel to Alien – is visually and stylistically linked to it. From the sliding Alien-like title card to the set design and music, all Scott’s talk of Alien DNA suddenly made sense.

Charlize Theron was also part of another stand-out panel, this one for Snow White And The Huntsman. Joining her castmates Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin on-stage, the quartet had apparently only met on the plane to the Con, but were already trading barbed banter like pros.

The film hasn’t started filming yet (it starts shooting this week here in the UK), but director Rupert Sanders still managed to wow the crowds by debuting images of the cast in their Snow White costumes…

Not bad, nuh? Equally impressive was the mood piece that Sanders had crafted for Universal to show them his vision for Huntsman. Though it was only shot in three days, the short film contained some stunning images, and hints that Sanders’ version of the fairytale will be both visually rich and forboding in tone.

Elsewhere at the Con, Nic Cage showed off some surprisingly gritty and exciting footage from Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, the cast of Knights Of Badassdom chucked us the film’s first trailer (which hinted it’s on a path to definite cultdom), Steven Spielberg revealed we’re getting a Jurassic Park 4 in the next few years, the Twilight stars unveiled some decent footage from Breaking Dawn, and Kevin Smith hosted his annual ‘An Early Evening With…’ one-man show, soaking up the love from thousands of adoring fans.

So that was Comic-Con 2011. Mad. Restless. Crowded. But just as exciting as ever. Bring on Comic-Con 2012…

For more on Comic-Con 2011, read The 12 Best Things About Comic-Con 2011 over at Total Film, which I wrote with Richard Jordan.

Logan’s Run (1976)

Nowadays, people like to say that life begins at 30. Not so in Logan’s Run, which presents a utopian future (the 23rd Century, apparently) where members of society live entirely for pleasure – until they hit their 30th year and are ‘renewed’ (read: blown into smithereens). Making sure that nobody does a literal runner before their time’s up are ray gun-carrying ‘Sandmen’, among them Logan (Michael York), who’s just been drafted in to go undercover and destroy a rumoured sanctuary for those life-loving rebels.

Hard to believe that Logan’s Run debuted just three years before Ridley Scott’s game-changing Alien. The complete antithesis to Scott’s gritty, grubby sci-fi (at least in visual terms), Run revels in pristine, colourful production design and showy futuristic flourishes.

Not that that’s a bad thing. Logan’s Run is old school sci-fi that strikes a perfect balance between spectacle and ideas. Crucially, unlike most modern day fare, Run’s flash and bang is all borne out of the story (apart from the ray guns, they’re just cool). The film’s stand-out stroll through a Washington reclaimed by nature even pips I Am Legend to the post decades in advance, while echoing that classic shocker ending from the original Planet Of The Apes.

Of course it’s dated – in places quite badly. But while the costume design and fitful bursts of cheesy over-acting are easy giggle-inducers, they also add to the film’s charm. And when you’ve got a hero-heroine pairing as earnest as York and Jenny Agutter, it’s difficult not to get swept into the high camp adventure of it all.

Meanwhile, for those suffering a serious case of CGI and 3D fatigue, Run’s deliciously archaic approach to special effects are a real thrill. From exceptionally-detailed miniatures to beautiful matte paintings and richly evocative lighting effects, Run is a treat for the eyes. There’s also a fantastically grisly set-piece involving a Bondian laser fight and Farrah Fawcett that holds up to the 21st century’s exacting standards.

One of the most interesting things about revisiting old sci-fi is seeing what the filmmakers got right and wrong about the future. While we certainly don’t have ray guns or giant teleporters (yet), Run’s flashy plastic surgery workshop, spliced with concerns about youthful vitality and Big Brother paranoia, show just how relevant the film remains even today. 4/5

Scott in space

“It’s daring, visceral and, hopefully, the last thing anyone expects,” raves Lost and Cowboys & Aliens writer Damon Lindelof. And rave he should; he’s just inked the script for Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s inscrutable new film and the director’s first sci-fi expedition since 1982’s Blade Runner. Originally set up as a prequel to Scott’s own genre-defining ’79 Alien, Prometheus has now (xeno)morphed into its own standalone beast. “While Alien was the jumping off point,” confides Scott, “out of the creative process evolved a new, grand mythology. The ideas tackled in this film are unique, large and provocative. I couldn’t be more pleased to finally return to this genre that’s so close to my heart.” Just what an Alien-inspired sci-fi has to do with the shamed Greek Titan Prometheus is anybody’s guess, though with original Swedish Girl With The Dragon Tattoo actress Noomi Rapace starring, we’re chomping at the bit to find out. Welcome back, Ridders.

Via Total Film

Alien express

Some actors prepare for a film by reading a book or changing their hair colour. For Paul, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost decided to drive across America in an RV. “We did a road trip,” says Pegg. “We did the journey that’s in the film from California down to Miami and had an incredible adventure. A lot of what happened in that trip is included in the film – including meeting an alien.”

Back up, alien? That’s right. Having clashed with zombies and corrupt coppers, Pegg and Frost figured it was high time they took on the universe. Sort of. Like all their other ballistic buddy-ups, Paul – the first film script the pair have pot roasted together – promises a sandstorm of gags, guffaws and gripping drama.

Unlike their other films, this one has a filthy little alien (that’ll be Paul), who’s voiced by Seth Rogen and rendered on-screen by CGI.

“I studied with Andy Serkis for years,” jokes Rogen. “I was thrilled by how funny it was. Then I was told I would be wearing a spandex costume for a week. I was excited to take this technology that many very smart people have taken a very long time developing and pretend to jack-off with it.”

Discovered by Pegg and Frost’s characters when they embark on a Stateside road trip, Paul – a diminutive ‘grey’ who’s sort of a cross between American Dad’s Roger and a fratboy stoner – causes chaos for our intrepid fanboys. Chaos that’s helmed by none other than Superbad director Greg Mottola.

“If I could ever make a movie as good as Shaun Of The Dead I’d retire,” Mottola sighs. With Paul’s cast featuring the likes of Jason Bateman, Kristen Wiig, Jeffrey Tambor and first lady of sci-fi Sigourney Weaver, he may have just made that movie.

Nick Frost Q&A
Pegg’s right-hand man talks road trips and being a thug…

Is Paul the first time you’ve written with Simon Pegg?
We’ve written lots of weird sketches and sitcoms together. But this was the first thing that we saw through to the end. To the climax, if you will.

How was the road trip?
The thing about doing a road trip in America is you draw the route on a big map, and it doesn’t look that far. Then after you’ve been driving for 10 hours the first day you realise you’ve gone a centimetre. It takes so long.

What got you into films?
Meeting Simon when I was 21 years old. Before meeting Simon I was a bit of a thick thug. Now I’m a slightly smarter thug.

Would you ever work with Jessica Stevenson again?
[joking, we think] I’ll say no.

Via Total Film