Jussie Smollett has signed on to Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, the director’s sequel to Prometheus. The Empire star will soon join Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Demian Bichir, and Danny McBride in Australia’s New South Wales where principal photography is expected to be shot. The film is slated to hit theaters on October 6, 2017, and is the second of what will be a trilogy of films.
Smollett has received rave reviews for his role as musician Jamal Lyon on Fox’s hit music drama Empire, which has been renewed for a third season. He is set to guest-star alongside his younger sister, actress Jurnee Smollett, in her upcoming TV show Underground, premiering March 9 on WGN.
Noomi Rapace is not expected to reprise her archaeologist character in Alien: Covenant, but Fassbender will return as android, David. Prometheus is set in the late 21st century and about 30 years prior to the events in Scott’s 1979 movie Alien, which starred Sigourney Weaver. The original Alien was followed-up by three sequels: Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien: Resurrection (1997). Alien: Covenant will take place roughly 10 years after the end of 2012’s Prometheus.
IndieWire posted a nifty blurb about the plot.
“Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in Alien with Alien: Covenant, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with Prometheus – and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world – whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.”
Prometheus earned more than $400 million worldwide, and centers on scientists who follow a star map to a distant world, hoping to discover the origins of humanity but instead they encounter a threat that could cause the extinction of the human race. Variety reports that Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo, and Callie Hernandez have also joined the cast of Alien: Covenant, and Billy Crudup is in negotiations.
— Alien: Covenant (@PrometheusFilms) February 20, 2016
Jussie — and 26 other notable celebrities — recently shared with the New York Times their personal experiences of not “feeling seen, heard or accepted, and how they pushed forward.”
“I had posted something that was very political, and the amount of negative comments was really heart-wrenching,” Jussie explained. “Then, [at a restaurant], this older black dude walked up and said, ‘I didn’t want to bother you, I didn’t want a selfie, I just wanted to let you know that the story line of Jamal’ [his gay character on ‘Empire’] really made it easier for me to talk to my son about his sexuality.’ I needed him at that moment. But apparently he needed the story line at the moment.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 25, 2016
Smollett’s award-winning Empire series has seen his character record with everyone from Rita Ora and Patti LaBelle, to Alicia Keys and Harry Belafonte. However, unlike Jamal, Smollett tells Out Magazine, “I have not been handed a silver spoon. I have not been handed a thing in my life, except love. With that said, it’s been difficult for me for many of the same reasons as Jamal, but I have had to work really, really hard — not just for acceptance, but also for my bread and butter. And that’s why I don’t take any of it for granted.”
Jussie’s father was a Russian-Polish Jew, and his African-American mother primarily raised him and his five siblings.
“My father was far from perfect, but he was okay with changing, with becoming a better man — so I had my dad before he left us,” he tearfully recalls. “I didn’t have him necessarily all through my childhood, the way I would have liked, but I had him in those last years, and for that I’m forever grateful.”
Jussie Smollett was a three-time winner at the 47th NAACP Image Awards earlier this month. He shared wins with the Empire cast for outstanding duo, group or collaboration with Estelle, and outstanding contemporary song with Yazz.
— Jussie Smollett (@JussieSmollett) February 24, 2016
[Image courtesy Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]