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December 22, 2011

‘Prometheus’ trailer: Damon Lindelof on Ridley Scott’s riddles

Posted in: Movies

prometheus Prometheus trailer: Damon Lindelof on Ridley Scotts riddles

"Prometheus" (Twentieth Century Fox)

What exactly is Ridley Scott building in outer space? That’s the great riddle of 2012 for the film fans eagerly awaiting “Prometheus,” Scott’s first sci-fi film since 1982’s “Blade Runner.”

Back in 2010, Scott sat on stage at our very own Hero Complex Film Festival and announced his intended return to the universe of “Alien” with a prequel (or two) that would further explore mysteries presented in that 1979 masterpiece of deep-space horror. That ambition took Scott in “a completely different direction” than he anticipated, he would say later, but the result — which is called “Prometheus” and hits theaters in June — still possesses “the original DNA” of “Alien.” What does that mean exactly? Good question, but don’t expect any definitive answers from the new trailer that arrived Thursday; it has plenty of fascinating images (some of them familar to “Alien” fans) but no real clarity about the nature or extent of that “Alien” connection. Take a look…

“Prometheus” stars Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace,  Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba and Guy Pearce  and the script was written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. We reached out on Thursday to Lindelof  to see if he could help us with the riddle of “Prometheus” but, of course, as one of the key writers for “Lost” and for the upcoming “Star Trek” sequel, the guy is pretty good at keeping secrets.

“One part of me sort of wants to be working on something where I can say, ‘This is exactly what this is’ without being secretive or mysterious but I think that with the genesis of this a couple of years ago — when Ridley announced that he wanted to make an ‘Alien’ prequel — that’s where this began and where it’s evolved to is this conversation: Is it or isn’t it [an ‘Alien’ prequel]? And I think this little sort of dance that we’re doing basically existed prior to anybody seeing anything.  Now that people are seeing stuff I think the material kind of speaks for itself. If you’re looking at it through the prism of ‘I want it to be that,’ you’ll notice the way the word ‘Prometheus’ comes up [in a way that resembles the ‘Alien’ classic logo] or look at the production design and the way the whole thing feels. If you’re looking at it from the perspective of wanting it to be something more original, I think the trailer accomplishes that by being pretty cool to people who have never even seen ‘Alien.'”

ridley Prometheus trailer: Damon Lindelof on Ridley Scotts riddles

Ridley Scott at Hero Complex Film Festival in 2010 (Los Angeles Times)

Lindelof added: “It’s accomplishing what we set out to do. I wish that we didn’t have to be so mysterious about it but mystery can be a good thing as long as you’ve got the goods to back it up. In this case, when the movie arrives, one of the most visionary filmmakers in the history of cinema will be putting his cards on the table and I’m just kind of standing behind him with my arms folded.”

I asked Lindelof what surprises he’s encountered while working with Scott and he didn’t have to think long before answering: “The big surprise has been how collaborative he is.  There are some people that, no matter where you eventually get to in your own career, you’ll always look at them as giants and Ridley is on that very short list for me. Steven Spielberg is on that list and George Lucas is on that list and Ridley is the third part of that holy trinity of filmmakers who made a massive impression on me. When I first got the call that he was looking for someone to come in and take a shot at this, it was overwhelming just to be in the room with the guy. But he really was interested in what I had to say and he really cared about what I had to say;  he was really interested in doing something new.”

Lindelof reached for a rock-star metaphor  to explain Scott’s ambitions: “This is a guy that’s been away from this genre for almost 30 years so the idea of coming back to it and just playing the old hits was not really interesting to him. He wanted to make a new album that [lived up to the U2 collection] ‘Joshua Tree,’ but had an entirely different vibe to it. The first couple of meetings was me just sitting there listening to him talk so I could get a sense of what he wanted to do and there were some out-of-body experiences  at subsequent meetings where I realized, ‘I’m talking right now and Ridley Scott is listening to what I have to say and this stuff might actually end up getting directed by him.’ It was pretty trippy.”

– Geoff Boucher

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