As splendid as everything in Prometheus looks – from the other-worldly artifact design overseen by art director John King (Troy, John Carter), to the glimpses of creatures and extraterrestrial architecture influenced by H.R. Giger’s original conceptual art for Alien – it’s the lofty themes and provocative subject matter that director Ridley Scott keeps teasing which has fans especially eager to see the filmmaker try his hand at the sci-fi genre once again.
Today we have excerpts from a Prometheus set report that sheds light on said ideas through interviews with some of the people who collaborated on this project.
That list includes Ridley Scott, screenwriter Damon Lindelof and costar Michael Fassbender (among others).
While the quotes do not contain outright SPOILERS for Prometheus, anyone who is especially sensitive to plot information or wants to go in as blank as possible should probably turn away. Everyone else, click to the next page for all the enticing insights from the cast and filmmakers.
Here’s Scott talking about the central premise behind Prometheus, courtesy of The Sci Fi Show:
“It’s about the beginning of life and the eternal ‘what if’.’ Has this ball we’ve been sitting on right now been around for three billion years or one billion? And if we haven’t been pre-visited (by alien civilisations), then what was this planet doing for all that time before life came along? It’s only our arrogance that says, ‘No, it’s impossible, we’re the first ones.’ Are we the first hominids? I really, really, really doubt it. In recent memory or legend we keep talking about wonderful, weird things such as Atlantis – what is that? Where does that come from? Is that real, was it real, is it a memory, did it exist? And if that did exist, did it exist three quarters of a billion years ago? There’d be nothing left now. How was that created and who was it?”
Prometheus executive producer Michael Ellenberg also offered the following comment about Scott’s mindset (for context):
“Ridley was inspired by everything from the Nazca Lines in Peru, which are these vast Earth sculptures can only be seen from the air, to cave paintings in France, to ancient Egypt and ancient Mayan civilisations. We’re pushing beyond what’s been found thus far and speculating about what maybe found in the future.”
As both Scott and Ellenberg’s comments here make all too clear, Prometheus is more about exploring tough questions concerning humanity’s past (through the lens of a future-set parable) rather than questions about our eventual destination as a species, which Scott touched upon more directly some thirty years ago in Blade Runner.
The filmmaker won’t be repeating himself by treading on familiar territory with Prometheus – so much as he’s really producing a movie that compliments his previous foray(s) into the sci-fi genre – which is encouraging to hear.
Fassbender had this to say, with respect to just what Prometheus is about (and how the film’s character ensemble illustrates its deeper meaning):
“['Prometheus' is] basically about trying to find out if there was intervention in the birth of civilisation on planet Earth by other beings, which we come to know as Engineers, and whether they had a master plan in mind for us… [Each] person has got their own agenda on that ship and it’s each a very individual agenda. Some people are there for the pay. Other people are there to get answers. Other people are there to hopefully attain some sort of secret. Others are there in somewhat of a spite journey. You’ve got all these collective relationships, individuals and motivations and that’s what makes quite intriguing even before the s**t hits the fan.”
Lindelof also touched (again) on how the cautionary tale of the mythological character Prometheus very much ties into the overarching ideas of Scott’s film:
“Prometheus, in literature, was a Titan who stole fire from the Gods because they were keeping it to themselves and they were worried what mankind would do if we got our little paws on it. That theme is a resonating idea in ‘Prometheus’, the movie; what humans are doing that we probably shouldn’t be doing, in terms of technological innovation and, perhaps, exploration. Is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? Part of the fun of the movie is understanding why we call it ‘Prometheus’.”
The idea that somehow these “Engineers” (the extraterrestrials who wear the Space Jockey suits, presumably) aren’t so impressed with humankind’s activities has been made abundantly clear by the Prometheus footage released so far. Exactly what it is that people have done to piss these things off – and what our alien overlords plan to do about it – thankfully remains a mystery (for now).
Suffice it to say, we’re more than content to just see Prometheus when it hits U.S. theaters on June 8th, 2012, and find out the answers for ourselves. How about you?
For more from the cast and crew of Prometheus, check out the full report over at The Sci Fi Show (via Prometheus News).