If it’s Code Amber at Prometheus HQ, some may be wondering what release day will look like. Half expecting actual aliens to usher me to my seat when I finally get to see this film, right now it’s probably best to accept we’re deep in metamarketing land. Creative minds at Twentieth Century Fox and Scott Free Productions are currently making The Hunger Games pre-release build look like an indie campaign. Yet no-one minds, because it’s all being done so superbly.
Months of teasers, trailers, two virals, stills galore ( with new ones coming online today), Wondercon, TV spots, star map apps and secret passwords – and we’re still a whole month and a bit away from opening day. Now, Scott and his cast are going mobile. Last month it was Anaheim and more recently London, but today it was Paris’s turn get “Wondered.”
At London’s Leicester Square Vue cinema yesterday, and Paris’s Cinema Gaumont Marignan today, 13 minutes of 3D preview footage were shown to invited media and select fans. Q and A’s with 75-year old veteran director Ridley Scott and cast members Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace took place at both.
Backstory: Set 37 years before the events on Alien’s LV-426, and at least 60 years after Peter Weyland’s TED speech, Prometheus follows a mixed team of 17 scientists, astronauts and corporate observers, on their quest into deep space. That quest – set in motion by the discovery of similar archaeological artefacts in multiple locations on Earth and the implications these have for humanity’s origin itself – is Prometheus’s bold storyboard.
Beginning in 2089 on Scotland’s Isle of Skye with a scene featuring archaeologists Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw) and Logan Marshall-Green (Charlie Holloway), making one such artefact discovery, the footage then fast forwards 4 years to 2093. A scene showing Weyland Industries rep, Charlize Theron (Meredith Vickers), doing push-ups before addressing the ship’s android David (Michael Fassbender) with the lean inquiry “Were there any casualties?” sets the tone for Theron’s character.
After the rest of the crew are introduced, Rapace and Marshall Green are seen describing the mission in a crew briefing. Reportedly, this was then followed by stunning 3D scenes of Prometheus landing on LV-223, then snippets of mayhem, some already familiar from the trailer debut at Wondercon last month. After the screening, Scott and the actors spoke about the destination origin premise of the film, and what inspired and challenged them during filming.
In London, Scott said not only would the “who is the space jockey?” question be answered, but that it was the jumping off point for the film. Scott also spoke about his ongoing battle with MPAA for a harder “R” rating for Prometheus. Whether it’s some strange unspoken policy or not, it is true that many films are currently being given PG-13 ratings in an obvious push to bring in as wide a demographic as possible.
In typically blunt style, Scott told the London audience, “It’s how they [studios] get their money back.” Scott added that the criteria for ratings was “inconsistent”, pointing to one recent decision to give an unnamed film a PG-13 rating as “fucking ludicrous”. Indications the MPAA will have a fight on their hands came when Scott responded to a question about Prometheus’s connection to Alien. Revealing that the final minutes of the Prometheus contained, “a scene that’s an equivalent of that [infamous chest-burster moment]”, Scott apparently then looked over at Rapace and said “It’s your scene.”
In Paris today, Scott opened up (no pun intended) further about that scene, saying. “The DNA attached to the original ‘Alien’ occurs in about the last eight minutes of this movie.” For her part (and it’s not known whether she was talking specifically about that scene), Rapace told the Parisian audience that one scene in particular was, “rather distrubing, quite twisted, like nothing I’ve ever done before. It was really physcial, mental, it messed me up a lot.”
Coming from an actress who appeared in the visceral, Swedish version of “The Girl With …” series that’s a pretty telling admission about the nature of Prometheus. Which, of course, is exactly what we’re all hoping for. If you’re looking for sci-fi lite or one-liners with your warp drive, go see Battlefield or Lockout. Because this summer Ridley Scott and the crew of Prometheus are bringing the hard stuff – plus a whole lot of wonder.
Prometheus opens June 1 in the UK and June 8 in the U.S.