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Androids, Sex & Sequels: 15 Things Learned About Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 8, 2012 at 10:57AM

Over thirty years after the 'space jockey' first appeared in "Alien," and after a couple of months of speculation and rumor, Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," his return to sci-fi for the first time since "Blade Runner", and his continuation/prequel/spin-off/whatever to his 1979 space horror classic, finally hits theaters today. It's one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, and is already inspiring fierce debate (The Playlist team are split down the middle on the project, with wildly divided reactions from those who've seen it).
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Ridley Scott, Noomi Rapace, Prometheus
Ridley Scott was committed to making everything as tangible as possible.
While the director's been unafraid of using CGI in recent years, he's still someone who likes to do as much as possible practically. Charlize Theron in particular was amazed by the extent to which the titular ship was realized. "The entire ship was built," she says. "Every button, every wall, every hallway. I think Arthur [Max, production designer] did an amazing job. The [only] green screen that I saw was through the windows. That was it. Even what the monitors were showing like the scene where I’m watching Weyland out in space, he had pre-CGI’d all of that for us on videos so that it was projected for us to watch... I mean, the day that the projectors started showing the scene, I was like, 'Ridley, now you’ve really crossed the line.' You know, I can act, too, a little bit here." [Collider]

Fox were nervous about Rapace being in the lead, and she had to convince them she could act in English.
In some ways, the casting of Noomi Rapace as the lead is an even bolder move than the then-unknown Sigourney Weaver in the original -- while the actress had starred in the Swedish "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" films, she'd never before shot a film in English when she was cast (although she ended up shooting "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows" before "Prometheus"). Rapace relates the screen test she had with Scott, who'd already decided he wanted the actress: "Ridley worked with me as if it was a real scene. He kept saying to me, ‘You don’t have to prove anything, this is not a test for me. You’re my girl. We’re just doing this together so they can see that you can act in English.’” Ultimately, between the test and Scott's reputation, the studio was convinced: Emma Watts, president of production at Fox, adds "I think it’s a hard role to fill, but Ridley was confident in Noomi from the get-go and he has a pretty good track record with casting.” [LA Times]

Noomi Rapace, Prometheus
Noomi Rapace says her physicality was inspired by a cat.
As you might imagine, "Prometheus" is a very physical movie, and one of the most interesting things about the performances is the body language the actors use. Rapace says that one animal in particular inspired Elizabeth Shaw's movement (perhaps in homage to Jones in the original...) "I finished 'Sherlock Holmes' in January and then I had like eight weeks to prep. I remember I told me trainer that I wanted to change my body into like a cat. I want to be like an animal, be able to do whatever is necessary for me to do to survive. You know, if you throw a cat down from a tree they will land on their feet, and they can run if they need to and they can climb," Rapace explained. "So I wanted to make my body be ready for whatever she's going to face, whatever she's going to be confronting out in that, on this journey. Because I think that Elizabeth Shaw has been prepping. She's been going through all those physical tests and prepping probably a couple of years before they went on this journey, and also because I want to be in a condition so I can do as much of my own stunts as they allow me to do." [Shock Til You Drop]

Sex and birth is a key aspect of the movie.
One of the key things that made the original "Alien" so memorable was the highly sexual imagery of the creatures, and that's certainly present in the follow-up. As Damon Lindelof says, "I think ultimately everything thematically comes back to the idea of creation, like the drop which can start an entire branch of this incestuous perverted family tree. We don't have to be pretentious about sex, but there are all different kinds and forms of sex, for lack of a better way to look at, and birthing and creating life, from the beings that created us to the beings we create, and the various roles in fertilization, from the bee to the flower to the pollen. Even those of us who can't generate our own seed. So the entire movie is an exercise in what is the family tree and whose progeny are we. You're looking at one wild, sick, and twisted extraterrestrial orgy! That should be out there. We should brand it like that." [Vulture]

This article is related to: Features, Prometheus, Ridley Scott, Damon Lindelof, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba