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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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Prometheus Explorers, Fassbender, Rapace
The surgery scene -- the gruesome highlight of the film -- was shot on a closed set.
Just as "Alien" had its legendary chestburster scene, "Prometheus" has a gruesome surgery set-piece where Elizabeth Shaw tries to remove the fast-growing mutant fetus that she's conceived with Holloway. But in order to protect Rapace, and the secret, Scott says the scene was "private, no one witnessed that" -- it was shot on a closed set, with a minimal crew. Nevertheless, Rapace admits that it gave her bad dreams for two weeks afterwards, and anyone who's seen the scene won't be surprised. [This Is Cornwall]

Guy Pearce thinks he got the part because of his role in "The King's Speech."
The Australian actor knew he'd been in consideration for parts in Scott's films in the past, but only met the director a few years back. "He came to a screening of 'Hurt Locker.' I think that was the first time I met him, a couple of years back. We had a lovely chat, just a brief chat, and I think there might have been jobs in the past where my agent might have said, 'Ridley is doing… If you’re going to be around, it might be good to go and meet [him],' but I can’t remember. Maybe 'Black Hawk Down,' but nothing that I have auditioned for or nothing that ever got close or even seriously considered or even things that came my way." But the actor says that it was his turn in the Oscar-winner "The King's Speech" that won him the part in "Prometheus." "I think Chris, my agent, was really just going 'Let’s just get you in front of Ridley and see if he thinks there’s something.' And Ridley was a fan of 'King’s Speech.' So we actually talked about that a lot and you know I think he probably thought there was something in what I had done there that might actually work for Weyland, but he didn’t talk to me about Weyland at all and then we suddenly got an offer." [Collider]

Guy Pearce Ted Talk Prometheus
Pearce plays the elderly Peter Weyland because of a scene that ended up being scrapped from the finished film.
Those understandably puzzled by the casting of 45-year-old Guy Pearce as an elderly man in the film should know that there was initially rhyme and reason to the decision: originally, you would see Peter Weyland in the film as a young man within a virtual reality dream on the ship. Damon Lindelof explains: "Originally in the draft there’s a scene in the movie where we see David with his headset on and he’s talking to someone, and we don’t know who it is. And we decided not to shoot the other side of that scene, where we see the inside of that dream, and basically David takes a jet ski out with a beautiful woman in a bikini, to a yacht, and on the yacht is Weyland – played by Guy, without old-age make-up: this is his dream. They have a scene together and in it David says, 'The engineers are dead, they’re all gone, mission failure,' and Weyland says, 'Go back and try harder.' We rewrote it so that we were going to play Weyland’s identity closed, give the audience a sense that David was talking to someone on the ship but not view them. But we had already shot the scenes with Guy in the old-age make-up. So we were like, 'Are people are going to wonder why we cast Guy Pearce to play an old man, unless we represent him as Guy Pearce?' So that basically tapped into a piece of viral we had already been talking about, [the TED talk]." [T3]

There should be at least one more viral ad on the Blu-Ray.
One of the highlights of the marketing campaign have been the viral ads, featuring Guy Pearce, Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace in character. According to producer Michael Costigan, they came from the filmmakers, rather than the marketing team, and more may surface on the home video release: "What’s so satisfying about the process is that some of the things a director looks to do, those viral films allow you to kind of explore some different ideas... Different ideas would pop up, that you knew, in building the mythology for this movie, it’s a two hour movie, there’s a limit to how much can make it into the film, and so different ideas were accrued over time, and we logged them. We started making those movies while we were shooting the film... I would hope, if there’s anything additional on the Blu-Ray, it should be more of those." And writer Damon Lindelof gives a hint as to what one of the others might be: "There was one other piece, that's in the movie... there’s a message that they’re transmitting to the Engineers, with the girl playing the violin, and David and Holloway have the scene [in the movie] where they haven’t responded to the message. That's another piece of viral which we may or may not release." [HeyUGuys/T3]

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