Fans of the long-running Alien franchise may have initially had some reservations about the idea of any sort of prequel to the story. However, worries were at least diminished (if not erased altogether) when Alien director Ridley Scott signed on to direct. At least we know the story is in tried and tested hands.
An important aspect of the Alien prequels (we're getting two instead of just one) is the female hero who would, in a sense, become the new version of Ripley (or rather the old version, considering the prequels take place decades before the first film). Last week we reported that the search was on for the lead female role, with the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Noomi Rapace, circling the role after she met with and impressed Scott.
However, skip forward almost a week and Vulture has an update to this Alien prequel business saying that 20th Century Fox has Natalie Portman as its top choice, with Rapace a close second.
Portman recently opted out of the film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, her supposed reasoning being that she felt she was too old to play the part (she's 29 years old when the character is only 20). But could the real reason she passed on Prejudice - as well as Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi epic Gravity - be because of her potential casting in the Alien prequels? It's entirely possible. Both Portman and Rapace are great choices, as they both have the screen presence and acting chops to pull off such a significant role.
Alien Prequel Script
In other Alien prequel news, 20th Century Fox is reportedly very pleased with the script written by Damon Lindelof (Lost). He handed in his re-write draft of the script this past weekend and the studio is happy about it for several reasons.
Aside from the script being "creatively engaging" (that's pretty much a given for anyone who's seen Lost episodes that Lindelof had a hand in writing), Fox is happy with the fact that the script doesn't contain any huge set-pieces, which always add millions to a film's budget.
Recent reports stated that there was trouble between Scott and the studio because Scott wanted a big-budget R-rated movie while the studio (understandably) wants a smaller budget and a PG-13 movie. That appears to still be the case (sort of) with Fox hoping to shrink Scott's reported $150-$160 million budget. Lindelof's script lacking any big set-pieces will certainly help Fox to do exactly that.
Alien fans looking for another R-rated hardcore story may be disappointed to learn that another reason Fox is more than content with Lindelof's rewrite of the script is that it's geared towards being PG-13 instead of R-rated. Now before you get up in arms too much, remember that Lindelof is a talented writer who I'm sure wouldn't let quality suffer just because the content isn't as hardcore as it could be. And at the end of the day, we still have Scott at the helm, one of the great directors working today.
Some parts of this news you might find very encouraging (Portman being thrown in the mix) while other aspects might have left a bad taste in your mouth (the prequels being more PG-13 than R-rated). I'm just happy we're not getting another Alien vs. Predator movie. Robert Rodriguez and Co. cut themselves off from those "versus" movies with a very enjoyable Predators reboot this past summer and here's hoping Scott's Alien prequels can top that success.