WonderCon 2012: 'Prometheus' Panel and Presentation

Saturday, 17 March 2012 18:12 Written by  Rocio Anica
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WonderCon 2012: 'Prometheus' Panel and Presentation

Here’s the thing about Prometheus, the 3D sci-fi movie coming out in June of this year. Prometheus was made by a genius. Its story is connected to, by degrees, one of the most important science-fiction narratives in movie history. In short, hardcore followers of Ridley Scott and the tetralogy inspired by his brainchild, Alien, have been waiting for this moment since it was first announced several years ago.

That anticipation was palpable at the WonderCon 2012 Fox Film Panel. The crowd cheered at length before one of the Prometheus script’s writers and panel moderator, Damon Lindelhof, came out to introduce the trailer. (It was to have been the first time an audience saw the Prometheus trailer, but unfortunately, someone leaked the trailer online 12 hours ago).

The crowd was understandably excited. Sir Ridley Scott is directly responsible for stunning movies of visual and narrative splendor across genres. From Alien (1979) to Bladerunner (1982) to Thelma and Louise (1991), Black Hawk Down (2001) and Gladiator (2000), his mythology is specific, humanistic, and resounding.

Prometheus is such a savory treat for fans of the franchise because it has its roots in the Alien world. Early knowledge about the movie pertained to its earliest conception; it was conceived first as a prequel to Captain Ripley’s terrifyingly terrific journey in space. Ultimately, though, Prometheus evolved into its own storyline. Indeed, Scott has been quoted as saying that the keen Alien fan will recognize “strands of Alien’s DNA” within the storyline which operates within the same universe that Ripley lived in. Michael Fassbender (Haywire), who plays an android named David, as well acknowledges that there is a “definite connecting vein” between the two movies, but it still is its own journey and is shot in 3D. That is to say, ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be epic spectacle of unprecedented significance.

One of the script’s writers, Lindelof, opened the panel by telling an anecdote of the first time he watched Alien, which he had to do behind his father’s back, and he admitted that it terrified him to the point where he was afraid to eat for several days, but still found it profound and deeply poetic.

After the panel, Sir Ridley Scott sat down with Damon and spoke a little bit about the origins of Prometheus.

When asked about when the story started for him, Scott said that it had been years since he’s done science fiction. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but he couldn’t come across anything that was of interest, so he kept coming back to Alien (of course!) and to the genesis of that narrative.

“The film does leave you with some really nice open questions,” he said.

When the trailer was finally unveiled, the audience was not disappointed. With haunting sound design and a cast that includes Charlize Theron (Young Adult, Snow White and the Huntsmen), Michael Fassbender (Shame, A Dangerous Method) and Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), it pulled the audience in and reminded us all why Sir Ridley Scott was knighted into knighthood.

After the 3D trailer, two members of the cast, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender come on stage to discuss with Lindelof and Scott

When asked about the script, Charlize said that she was given two hours to read the script and make a decision about committing to her role. She said that she knew before finishing reading the script, that it was an immediate ‘yes’. 

Of the script, Fassbender had this to say: “Each page there was something new. It was such an intelligent piece of writing, and then, of course, with a master at the helm it was just such an amazing opportunity.”

“That was the first time I saw the trailer, too,” Fassbender added. “So, it looks amazing.”

“What is Prometheus?” Lindelof then asked rhetorically, to segue to the next question. Turning to the actors, “What do you say to your friends and family?

Charlize Theron joked, “I told my everybody that it was a romantic comedy.” She grew serious for a moment, however, to confess that the cast and crew literally couldn’t share with their loved ones what they’re actually doing. “Closest we’re ever going to get to feeling like a CIA spy.”

Michael Fassbender plays a Cybernetic individual, an android named David, who is pretending to be a human. When asked what its like to be a robot, Fassbender replied, “They kind of neutralize each other so in the end you kind of play it straight.” There was no climactic reveal in the story about his character pretending to be something he’s not in the story, though. It was made implicit early on in the movie that David wasn’t actually human. “So, I wanted to have as much fun as possible,” Fassbender said.

In the last half of the panel, the director and two actors received some questions that were sent via Twitter. The first question was about advances in video technology and CG, and if they affected the directorial process. Ridley Scott affirmed that it was different.

“The original alien was played by a guy who was like seven foot six or seven foot seven inches.” Scott admitted that he saw the tall guy in a pub and, being too shy to approach him, he sent a girl to ask him if he would like to be in a movie. That guy ended up being the guy in the rubber alien suit. (Geek shout-out to H.R. Giger for making what changed the history of costume and special effects!) Still, despite this body actor’s height, the special effects head engineer worried about the head of the costume. “He said, ‘How in the hell do you get this on without breaking his neck’? No matter how lightweight you make that box, it’s still heavy.”

Given that, Scott affirmed that it’s very different. “Today, you can pretty do anything you want.”

“That said,” he posits, “It’s not cheaper. It’s more expensive, and its more elongated.”

Sci-fi fans were happy to hear him share his thoughts on revisiting the genre. “Making a science fiction again was refreshing,” he said. “I’ll certainly do another science-fiction film, as soon as possible. I’ve learned with digital animation, you can do anything you want.”

Scott says that the trick is originality, even with technology. “How original are you going to be? Otherwise, it’s more of the same stuff.”

Another question posed: ”There are rumors on the net that Fassbender gives birth to human kind. Are they true?”

Fassbender joked, “Absolutely!”

The best question was toward the end of the panel and directed at Scott. “Was it in any way difficult that you hadn’t worked in the science-fiction genre since the eighties?”

The elegant genius replied with, “No, I’m just damned lucky to do anything in the profession. To come back and do anything, I don’t care what it is, I’m relieved and grateful I’m still allowed to do it. For me, it was a pleasure.”

They wrapped the panel by playing the trailer a second time. And it was just as kick-ass as the first time.

Prometheus opens in theaters on June 8th. 

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