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

Dec. 22, 2011 | 3:48 p.m.
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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14 Responses to ‘Prometheus’ trailer: Damon Lindelof on Ridley Scott’s riddles

  1. Aaz says:

    Looks like a aliens prequel and not a alien one.

  2. Larry Cantebury says:

    Prometheus = Alien = Boring

    • sensorrhea says:

      Nice trolling, troll.

      The perfect troll comment : it's either clearly not something you really feel or you are revealing yourself to be a moron with no taste.

  3. Archibold says:

    A prequel to the Alien trilogy… I am a fan of most genres of movies, including sci-fi. Watching Alien as a young kid brings back a fuzzy feeling. Unfortunately, the announcement of a prequel to a great movie makes me shudder and cringe. Blade Runner was ground breaking of the time, but was lost translation to someone of my era. Still I can imagine the impact upon its first release. Mixed emotions to say the least, but I had an overwhelming sense of excitement when I read about the new chapter to this classic movie. Don't f*** it up!

  4. Infinite One says:

    The signs are all there! The title logo just like “Alien.” The ship and gunner encountered by the crew of the Nostromo in “Alien.” Weyland Yutani said the signal coming from there was a beacon but Ripley found out it was a warning. Maybe it was a warning to stay off that planet and “Promotheus” is going to tell us why. “Promotheus” could make the world of “Alien” right again after Fincher’s “Alien 3,” Jeunet’s “Alien Resurrection,” and those lame “Alien vs. Predator” movies. But even if it turns out to have nothing to do with Ridley Scott’s “Alien” I still want to get on board with him and see where he takes us.

  5. BackpackRockets says:

    Finally, the origin of the Space Jockey will be revealed! They touched upon the back story of this elephantine like alien in the comic books, but seeing it on screen will be much better. No one should expect some sort of shoot -em up action flick. The original was more of a mystery, horror flick, one in which Ridley created deeply ambient and eerie world. I'm prepared for a film experience that transports you into this unique and haunting vision unlike today where you can figure out the plot within the first 10 minutes, Michael Bay anyone? ha ha

  6. Chris says:

    Glad to see Scott return to SF territory — he's a distinctive filmmaker who brings a gritty tone and dark atmosphere to his movies — Blade Runner, Alien, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Robin Hood (OK, forget Robin Hood — it was bad). So I have high hopes for Prometheus. I don't like prequels because they are typically predictable and ho hum, but the brief trailer gives you a sense of dread even though you know where the story is going. I think this could be the sleeper hit of the year. Already looks better than the Dark Knight sequel…

  7. David says:

    Larry+Cantebury+ Troll

  8. ChillaKilla says:

    I understand that considering the "Alien" canon, the idea of a prequel is revolting. BUT… Let's look at the facts. 1.) This is Ridley Scott, a man responsible for some of the best sci-fi films of all time, 2.) NOBODY is saying this is a prequel and thus I have to allow Mr. Scott the freedom of innocent until proven guilty, 3.) Mr. Scott has surrounded himself with a brilliant team capable of producing work that transcends what we would expect from the genre (or already some-what established storyline), see writer Damon Lindelof's work on Star Trek – a movie that was far better than could have been expected (and for J.J. Abrams a similar situation that Mr. Scott currently finds himself in, though let's be truthful, J.J. Abrams is no Ridley Scott). So for the sake of what could be a welcome breath of fresh life into one of the great sci-fi franchises, I think I will wait for the release and give Mr. Scott what he is due after years of great work – an honest assesment following a viewing of the entire film.
    P.S. On an emotional note – I"M STOKED!!!!!

  9. geoff says:

    It's got the original Alien ship in it upright then it falls to the position it was in in the first Alien movie. I was hoping it would be about something completely different.

  10. JAM says:

    All this movie does is take place in the Alien universe….minus the aliens. Seem more to do with the space jockey than anything. I'm in. Ridley has never disappointed me. Master of suspense.

  11. Jerky says:

    Ridley Scott and sci fi = very interesting. You can have all the crap movies that libtard Hollywood churns out like feces from a backed up sewer. but I will see this film.

    The writer comparing Ridley Scott to banal rubbish U2 turns out??WTF is with that?

  12. Pug says:

    I can't wait! Always was a huge Ridley Scott fan and this movie is exactly what I have been waiting for! Something that hopefully will keep me on edge of my seat. I just hope it's not the last in the series! I was very young when the first one came out and believe me I still watch it to this day.

  13. larry talbot says:

    You guy's missed my favorite Scott movie…The Duelists!!

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