SDCC 2011: Fox Screens First Footage at the 'Prometheus' Panel

Thursday, 21 July 2011 14:48 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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SDCC 2011: Fox Screens First Footage at the 'Prometheus' Panel

"Would any of you guys like to talk about Prometheus?" So asked Damon Lindelof to about 6,500 curious souls today.  Mysterious, high profile projects don't get much more mysterious or high profile than Prometheus, Ridley Scott's first science fiction film since Blade Runner in 1982.  The screenplay by Jon Spaihts started out as a direct prequel to Scott's 1978 masterpiece Alien, then, in subsequent drafts by Lost showrunner Lindelof, it mutated into a less conventional prequel set in the Alien universe.

20th Century Fox, the studio behind Prometheus, decided to bust out the big guns for the film's panel at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.  Damon Lindelof himself moderated the whole Fox event, and he introduced supporting castmember Charlize Theron in person and also had a video chat with Ridley Scott and star Noomi Rapace, who are currently wrapping up principal photography in Iceland.  That's not all, though; Lindelof kicked off the panel event by introducing the very first footage from Prometheus.

This footage kicks off with a quick sort of greatest hits retrospective on Ridley Scott's most well known films, including glimpses of Blade Runner, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, Hannibal, Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, American Gangster, and, of course, Alien.  In fact, the whole footage presentation is done very much in the style of the behind-the-scenes documentaries included on the Alien quadrilogy DVD, with Scott on set discussing the film intercut with the first look at some gorgeous imagery and action.

The footage is divided between the futuristic, human-inhabited set and the some cavernous, H.R. Giger-style derelict environs with some pretty familiar egg-like shapes.  Both are very reminiscent of their counterparts in Alien, though they're also slicker and more overtly sci-fi.  The space-suits, for example, very much recall those worn by the crew of the Nostromo, yet also features headpieces that are distinctly and strikingly curved. The familiar setting containing the space-jockey in the original film is seem clearly, but without a space jockey.

There are no xenomorphs on hand, but there is clearly some strange, gooey biology on display.  Rather than setting up a haunted house thriller, the footage suggests a fear of infection and internal corruption.  While the focus has been on the science fiction aspects of the film, what we saw today suggests that Scott is very much making an intense and scary movie. Scott himself confirmed this, saying, "I just want to scare the shit out of you.”

Also worth noting, the footage definitely contained video feeds assigned to each character as they explore the surface of an alien world, very much like the video feeds of each marine in James Cameron's Aliens.

While we didn't see any phallus-headed aliens, the human cast certainly got their due.  Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender are all featured prominently.  Fassbender in particular makes a big impression, based mostly on a strange blond hairstyle and disconcertingly smooth, shiny skin. 

After the thoroughly impressive footage, Lindelof chatted with Theron, who talked about how she found herself involved with the film and developing her character after George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road was delayed.  She talked about her role as Meredith Vickers, of whom she said, "She's a suit," and explained, "She runs a tight ship."  Theron also teased a bit, saying that Vickers is not as simple as she seems, saying, "In the third act, you really strip her from her skin."  We'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not this is figurative language.

The two the humorously introduced Ridley Scott live from Iceland, where he's finishing up principal photography with material that will comprise the very beginning of the film.  Scott maintained the jokey tone established by Lindelof, but then got into the ongoing discussion about how much of a prequel Prometheus is, repeating his explanation that it contains DNA of the first film, while also being an original story.  "In the last few minutes of the movie" he said, "You'll understand what I'm talking about."

When Lindelof asked Scott about shooting in 3D for the first time, Scott emphatically declared his love of the format, stating that he intends to utilize the technology on his projects from here on out. "I love the whole process," he said.  "3D opens up the universe of even a small dialogue scene."

It's been consistently suggested and sometimes stated outright that a certain member of the film's ensemble plays an android in the tradition of Ash (Ian Holm) in Alien.  After joking about if either man is, in fact, a replicant, Lindelof asked Scott about robots in Prometheus.  Scott replied simply, "There may be two."

Scott went on to talk about that rather formidable ensemble, saying, "The cast I've worked with on this particular film has been as good a time as I can remember."  He then revealed Noomi Rapace revealed standing right next to him on location, looking quite cold.  "I just came back from space like two weeks ago," she said, explaining that the production has been going since March and has been physically grueling but informative and revelatory.  She also confirmed her frigidity, mentioning, "It's so cold my nose just started dripping."

The duo of Damon Lindelof and Ridley Scott also covered the fact that the film is likely to have a PG-13 rating due to commercial realities.  Scott was not bothered by the possibility, basically stating that he shot both an R and PG-13 rated version of certain images.  "I always make sure we have both options," he said.  "You're crazy not to do that."  He summed it all up in typically forthright fashion, saying, "We've fundamentally covered our ass."  Apparently, once he has a working cut, he and Tom Rothman of FOx will figure out how to proceed, ratings-wise.

Prometheus is scheduled for June 8, 2012.

And because IAR loves you, here's the first official image from Prometheus, which Fox dropped today:

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