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INT: Alien vs Predator


In the third part of our investigatory report of the Prague set of ALIEN VS PREDATOR (read Part 1 here and my interview with writer/director Paul Anderson here), I met four of the funnest guys you’d ever want to meet. I don’t want to pick any favorites, but if I had to – aaah, what the hell - Tommy Flanagan was the mack! Colin Salmon was also mucking around and their overall behavior was pretty contagious-- seriously, these guys had us in stitches. Hopefully, some of their rowdiness/excitement translates into this transcript of our time together. They all just seemed to be having a ball shooting this movie, which makes me wonder what a night on the town barhopping with these dudes would be like.

Ewen Bremner is best known for playing Spud in TRAINSPOTTING, but has also had bits parts in a variety of films like PEARL HARBOR, THE RUNDOWN, BLACK HAWK DOWN and one of my personal faves: SNATCH. Colin Salmon worked with director Paul Anderson previously in RESIDENT EVIL and is primarily known for playing James Bond’s “travel agent” (as he puts it) in the 007 films. Tommy Flanagan has had parts in BRAVEHEART, GLADIATOR, FACE/OFF and THE GAME, and has a wide scar on his face, courtesy of some hooligans who stabbed him back in his days as a Glasgow DJ. Although a relative newcomer with just a few screen credits like MEAN MACHINE, Joseph Rye, used to be a professional footballer for Newcastle United. And so, I present, with great pleasure, their interview…

Ewen Bremner (EB) Colin Salmon (CS)


Tommy Flanagan (TF) Joseph Rye (JR)

Can you tell us a little about your characters?

CS: I play Max, I’m chief of staff, sort of headhunter, Weyland’s second in command. We, in the gray (snowsuits), are sort of protection, if you like, but it becomes clear who we are in the movie so I won’t give too much away. The man in yellow here (Bremner), scientist, expert…

EB: I’m a chemical engineer. But I know about archeology too. I’d be able to tell you how old things are…

Does that come in handy against the predators?

EB: No.

CS: Nothing comes in handy against the predators, not a lot. Tommy plays Verheiden, he’s our point man –

TF: Chuck!

CS: We chuck him in whenever we’re afraid. You go, Tommy…

Somebody made a point yesterday about the name Verheiden being connected somehow?

TF: Yeah, he was a comic strip artist, the original comic strip artist (Predator/Alien comics). Anyway, he’s with the same agent as I have in Los Angeles, my agent called him and said Tommy Flanagan is playing Verheiden!

Are you all sympathetic or are you authoritarian or jerks or good guys?

TF: I’ll be a dick actually. (laughter)

CS: I’m the sort of father you don’t want. Yeah, I’m a bit authoritarian. My man here (points to Joseph Rye) is silent, but deadly.

JR: (laughs) Until I die.

CS: While I was reading the script, knowing Paul (Anderson), I felt that Miller (Joseph Rye’s character), reminded me of Paul a bit; in terms of character and attention to detail which is Paul’s skill, he’s deep and he’s brave and he’s bold – so he’s quiet. It’s a great mix, I mean Agathe (de la Boulaye) - she’s fantastic. She’s another one of my special team, we (all) sort of go down into it, sort of appearing to be handling things and then all of a sudden shit happens and we take off our outer skin and become super heroes. Action heroes. You’ve seen some of the sets, when we arrived on the set yesterday there was very little acting required because it is quite intimidating actually, the scale of it, the way it’s been done. Yeah, you get scared. And you’ve met the predator as well?

Not yet, we’ve seen him wandering around…

CS: Well, you should go watch him in the gym...it’s awe-inspiring.

Can you speak a little about working with Paul and how arduous a shoot this is?

TF: He’s a horrible bastard – terrible man. (laughter)

JR: He’s quite a man. I guess this is the first, sort of, big scale film I’ve been on and I can see that he knows his onions. He’s pretty much there for us to sort of enact as we go along and just take it day by day and move through the scheme of things as you would but knowing that he’s pretty intense about detail, that’s good for an actor.

EB: Very enthusiastic, quite particularly about this world that he’s creating, he totally loves it to bits. He’s got real glee about how things come together and all the toys he’s got to play with. He’s great with actors as well, if he’s happy with a take he’s always very happy to say so and make his pleasure clear.

CS: I worked with Paul on RESIDENT EVIL and what I’ve started to realize is that there’s two things about Paul Anderson movies: 1) you’re gonna be really really tired, physically exhausted and 2) you’re gonna die. He takes great relish in your death, in the words of GHOST DOG, when you’re working on a Paul Anderson movie everyday you meditate from your death. But Paul is an architect, I swear if he wasn’t a director he’d be an architect. I doubt there’s a nut or a bolt on that set that he doesn’t know about, in terms of the design of it, the look of the thing.

TF: He’s like one of these guys when you look at the call sheet and it tells you what scene you’re doing for the day and it says you walk from A to B. But in typical Paul Anderson style, there’s no such thing as A to B. It’s like 55,000 takes. It’s like every muscle in your body ends up fuckin’ aching. You think "Oh, I’m coming here to play dead" but then he strings you up eight feet off the floor, ties you up ‘til it cripples you, covers you in slime and makes you hang up there the whole friggin’ day. (laughter)

CS: Yeah, he’s a very sick man.

TF: Very twisted man.

Have you planned anything to get him back?

TF: Oh yeah, I’ve got something for him. Can’t tell you, can’t tell you.

Aww, c’mon…

TF: Eh, if anyone tells him, I’ll be looking for you. The slime, the slime stuff right, it’s the most disgusting shit and he had us covered in it for two days and I was covered in the stuff. And the thing about this studio is when you step outside it’s freezing cold so the stuff turns to friggin’ ice. So anyway, that’s what he’s getting, a bucket of that stuff.

EB: It doesn’t come off either.

It takes you longer to wash that off than it takes the actor to get into the predator suit?

TF, CS, EB, JR: Yes, yes, definitely.

CS: So, you’ll do that?

TF: Oh definitely, it’s a done deal!

Considering all the walking, climbing and all that stuff, have there been any really fun days for you guys?

TF: It’s always fun. Seriously, it is. I think so anyway. I enjoy this set-- these guys are great. It’s a good set, there’s no bad feeling on the set at all.

Is there anything that really stands out that you can tell us about?

TF: It’s all ---

CS: (laughing) I can’t believe you. Talk, talk, talk…

TF: Oh, am I talking too much. OH, WELL I’LL SHUT UP THEN!

(everyone laughs)

TF: Carry on… (continuous laughter)

CS: We had a really good night at a club, that was fantastic, no, em… (laughs) I think the stuff at the Whaling station (the outside area of the Arctic circle scenes), that was amazing, snow-covered, the most incredible construction on a set I’ve ever seen ---

TF: I’d tell you all about it, but I’m scared, I’ll be told to shut up –


CS: Our arrival, we had these piston bullies, these, I think, 750,000 pound vehicles, so I think the highlight for me was when we came over the ridge and we were in the front of it and Paul had a camera over there and I just felt like I was in a western. If I die tomorrow, that’s the shot I want.

Did the Bond films prepare you for an action movie of this type?

CS: No, because I play the travel agent for Bond (laughter), so I’m like: “James, you’re going over here with all these lovely ladies…you bastard!” So, this is the stuff I get physical on. Actually...another story, I was exhausted once on RESIDENT EVIL, I had done a certain stunt about 30 times and then somebody said to Paul that I looked a bit tired and he went: ”Nah, he’s an action hero” and then walked off. So he strokes your ego, but also tells you to get on and shut up.

Tommy, you were in GLADIATOR with Ridley Scott. Did you call him up at all?

TF: He was in town (Prague) actually, a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t see him. Ah, he’s a good guy (sarcastic) (laughter)

Yeah, yeah. Nice guy! (very sarcastic) (laughter)

Were you all fans of either series before this?

TF: Love that stuff. I’m a total geek for all that stuff. Love it!

CS: The first one, I mean, we were in the late seventies, we were into punk and we were doing what we do in the late night cinema and when ALIEN came out we were like: ‘Wow, shit!” In fact, when we all came for our camera tests, to check our costumes and stuff they were doing tests on the other side with the aliens and so when we finished we wandered through and once you see the alien, you see the head you realize…you’re in an ALIEN movie!

EB: I traveled with two of the aliens. I brought the two aliens from LAX to here. They asked me to bring these two packages, these two crates. I had them and I got to customs and the guy said: “What’s in the box?” “Aliens”. So they popped the top of the box and as people walked by they were like: “Whoa!”

CS: Wasn’t it true that the aliens were getting through, they got through everywhere, but there was a big crate of KY jelly that never got out of Heathrow? There’s a lot of smiling faces at Heathrow

. (laughter)

CS: I’m glad it’s being made, I mean it’s 10 years, I know it’s been around, and the games and the comic strip. I’m thrilled it’s being made. I’m glad Paul is in command of it because he’s a gamer.

TF: Good man.

CS: So, when your director is a gamer, you’re in a good place. You can’t mess with these things, they don’t just turn themselves out; you’ve got to do the work. If you get to see Paul’s office, you’ll see all the storyboards, all the drawings, everything he’s done. He’s prepped and ready to go and it’s fantastic. It makes the whole team feel comfortable right through.

Is it true he wrote the character of Max, specifically for you?

CS: He did actually. Yeah, it’s great, I mean he killed me quite early in RESIDENT EVIL. (laughs) No, it was really sweet, a great honor, great thrill.

Have any of you gone to Lance for advice, him being a veteran of the alien series?

TF: No.


CS: He’s the guy who coaxes you on set with a straight face and then you get in trouble. (laughter) Yeah, Lance, I mean we’ve all said it, but he’s a veteran of tons of movies and the guy comes at it with the energy of the first time.

Unit Publicist: Guys, Paul is coming down now and we’ll need to get to him…

They all start panicking and hollering in fear.


CS: There’s a joke. Knock, knock?

Q: Who’s there?

CS: Paul.

Q: Paul who?

CS: That’s show business!!!


Interview with Lance Henriksen...

Source: Fox
Tags: Hollywood



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