Next year sci-fi visionary Ridley Scott will be bringing science fiction-horror back to theaters with his upcoming film, Alien: Covenant. The movie is both a sequel to 2012's Prometheus and a prequel to his 1979 masterpiece, Alien.
While filming on the movie is currently underway, not much is known about the actual production aside from the dynamic cast that has been assembled, including Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Apocalypse), Noomi Rapace (Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), and Danny McBride (This is the End).
In a recent interview with HitFix, actor McBride pulled back the curtain on Ridley's casting process and his character in the upcoming movie. McBride was unknowingly surprised when he accepted director Scott's invitation to look at a new movie he was preparing to shoot. Scott only let McBride know that he was considering him for a role in his upcoming science fiction movie, but did not reveal the title. The director showed him concept art and suddenly it dawned on the actor exactly what movie he had been targeted for. The actor explained the revelation that he had during the meeting in typical McBride fashion, “Jesus. This is f---ing Alien. He’s talking to me about Alien right now.”
Scott went on to cast the funnyman in the upcoming film and McBride recently revealed that he would be playing the pilot of the spaceship Covenant. He also shared that the crew's mission is to find a habitable planet for them to colonize and start a new civilization.
A quick glimpse of McBride's resume reveals one commonality, the actor has a certified knack for comedy. So, the moment that his casting was announced most people, including McBride himself, assumed that he was hired for his sense of humor:
“Then I got the script and I’m like this s--t is dark! There is no comic relief in this at all. This is a dark horror movie. And that was exciting. To be able to step into something like that and to participate in a way that not relying on things I’d done before.”
This isn't actually that surprising, as Scott has historically leaned away from comedic moments in favor of building tension. That is part of the reason why his last effort, The Martian, was such an unexpected film from the director - due to the humor and sense of optimism found in the lead character, despite his bleak circumstances. While that may be possible while alone on Mars, the tone would understandably differ when an alien monster is methodically murdering crew in an enclosed space.
Regardless, McBride's physicality and blue-collar affability perfectly lend themselves to the gritty world that Scott established almost 40 years ago. Scott has been hit and miss the past few years, so it's no guarantee that the director will be able to fulfill audience's sky-high expectations for the franchise. However, after George Miller's triumphant return to his own Mad Max franchise last year, there is reason for optimism beginning with McBride's passion and enthusiasm for the film. We will find out next year.
Alien: Covenant opens in theaters on August 4th, 2017.