Sir Ridley Scott, the renowned filmmaker who reinvented the science fiction film
genre, offers his signature brand of action, thrills, scares, and much, much
more, when Prometheus is unleashed in theaters worldwide this June.
With Prometheus, Scott has created an original mythology that tips its hat to
elements of the original Alien. In the story a team of explorers discovers a
clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey
aboard the spaceship Prometheus to the darkest corners of the universe. There,
they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.
Although he has not helmed a science fiction picture in three decades (1982's
Blade Runner) Ridley Scott's interest in the genre never abated. Having made two
of the most revered genre films of all time, his return would only be triggered
by a truly grand and original idea. "Over the past few decades, we've been
'action filmed-out' and 'monster filmed-out' and almost 'science fiction
filmed-out," says Scott. "So the baseline question is: how original are you
going to be?"
"The reason I haven't made another sci-fi film in so many years, apart from
the fact I've been busy making other films and exploring different genres, is
because frankly I haven't come across anything worthwhile for me to do with
enough truth, originality and strength. Prometheus has all three."
The script that preceded Prometheus started out as a prequel to Alien, but when
Scott came onboard to direct and Damon Lindelof to work on the screenplay, the
project evolved into a stand-alone film; you need not know anything
about Alien to appreciate Prometheus.
Says co-screenwriter Jon Spaihts: "The most difficult thing about writing
this story was that nothing was given. Everything had to be invented. In
creating an entire world with Ridley Scott, I had an enormous canvas to paint
on." And co-screenwriter/executive producer Damon Lindelof says that he was
"incredibly struck by just how original Ridley's vision was for this movie. It's
daring, visceral and the last thing anyone expects."
As the script was developed, the story's big ideas emerged: During a journey
to meet what some of the scientist crew believe to be their "makers" - beings
who may have created life on our planet - the crew of the spaceship Prometheus
and the mega-corporation funding its trillion-dollar mission, are in effect
challenging the gods. And, as experienced by the figure from which the ship
takes its name, challenging the gods can be a very, very bad idea.
"We named the ship Prometheus as a reference to the character in Greek
mythology who alternatively gave fire to man or shaped man's image from clay,"
Scott explains. "In either case, he was instrumental in changing the entire
evolution of mankind. He also angered the gods in a big way and suffered
mercilessly for it. All three aspects of the myth have clear analogies in our
But ultimately, notes Lindelof, Prometheus is centered aroundâ€¦ us. "It's
about humanity in the future, challenging some of our most cherished scientific
and philosophic ideas."
The team of scientists and explorers aboard the Prometheus are on nothing
less than a journey to discover answers to some of life's most profound
questions. Two brilliant young scientists, Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway
(Logan Marshall-Green) possessing contrasting motivations, lead the expedition.
Shaw is a believer: she wants to meet these "gods" as a way of getting closer to
her more traditional religious views, while Holloway is looking to debunk these
kinds of spiritual notions. In their work as archeologists, they have discovered
clues in cave pictograms from ancient civilizations across the world, all of
which point to the same location in distant space, and have persuaded a
mega-corporation, Weyland Industries, to fund the mission.
Neither scientist was prepared for the unimaginable terrors they would
encounter. "When Shaw and Holloway conceived the mission, their expectation was
they would discover a benevolent species that might provide answers to some of
our greatest mysteries," says executive producer Michael Ellenberg. "In other
words they were hoping to meet gods. But these beings prove to be anything but
compassionate. They are a dangerous race of superbeings."
"The crew of the Prometheus thinks they're headed to paradise to discover
answers to the ultimate questions. But what they find is a dark and twisted and
frightening world - a way station for these beings," adds Jon Spaihts. "The cold
and implacable environment is more like hell than heaven."
In Ridley Scott's films, including Prometheus, the protagonists' discoveries
often defy expectations. "That's what makes good drama," states the filmmaker.
"Our story circles the truth of what might be out there and therein lays its
most frightening aspect. Feasibility always creates the finest and most
dangerous drama and the opportunity for me to scare the hell out of everyone."
On the planet, the team meets a survivor of a civilization in control of some
very dangerous elements, including various forms of biology and biomechanics.
"This brings us to the question," says Scott, "what are the consequences of
meeting a superior being, whose capabilities are quantum leaps beyond one's own,
and are in effect god-like?"
Or as famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking claimed (on the television show
Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking): "If aliens visit us, the outcome would
be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the
Native Americans. We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life
might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet."
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