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Alien Covenant Set Visit #3: Ridley Scott, Billy Crudup, & Demian Bichir!

03.02.2017

Still in the "WAR ROOM" (READ PART 2 OF MY SET VISIT HERE) actors Billy Crudup and Demian Bichirand were brought in. Both were charming, funny and eloquent with Bichirand in particular being able to stand in for the "The Most Interesting Man in the World" from them Dos Equis commercials in terms of his look and just how damn compelling he was to listen to.  We also got to talk briefly with director Sir Ridley Scott on set in between set-ups. It's not everyday one gets to chew the fat with one of his idols - so yeah - it was thrilling to meet him. Here's what I got!

Ridley Scott - Director

Note: This was the only interview we did a on a loud and busy set. This is what I was able to decipher out of the messy audio.

  • The giant heads in the sacrificial/altar room are of beings that were the superiors. They were probably the ten apostles, the wise men.
  • He thinks of ALIEN as a a posh horror film. He never thought of ALIEN as a horror film – it just scared the shit out of people. It was about what is real tension, what is real fear as it is very hard to scare people. So he thought he’d try and come back and do another one like that with Covenant.
  • He thought that ALIEN had run its course; but then thought with that special kind of creature, it shouldn’t have run its course and should not have ended. So he’s coming back to it with a very simple idea, who created them, nobody ever asked that question, and why do they exist?
  • ALIEN was about 7 guys and gals in a steel hull, which was frankly a very old idea, the spooked house and who is going to die next. It was a B movie idea but with class and a superior cast which made it an A+ film.
  • They reinvented the idea of ALIEN with PROMETHEUS. And with COVENANT they are taking one step closer to who and why this thing was designed. And if you think it’s the beings represented by the giant heads in the Altar room, you’re dead wrong.
  • ALIEN had a Christian protagonist, and in Covenant they also have Jews and atheists. Religions is always interesting to Ridley, because the bottom line is you’re asking the same question whether you’re an agnostic or a heathen or whatever. You’re celebrating our concern about your end.  If you’re not, you’re a liar.
  • The Egyptians were obsessed with the afterlife and built their whole culture around it, which he felt was very interesting. He’d say he’s kind of agnostic, not necessarily in the sense that he believes or does not believe in God. But he thinks that there’s an alternate thought or idea of a superior entity, because we can’t be just it cause in his opinion that’s entirely ridiculous. Are we one of many? Of course we are. We are one of many, many variations of what we are right now. And NASA has conceded that, they didn't thirty years ago. Now they say it's entirely feasible. So he'd like to open that door.
  • When asked why he added another Android in the film he said; "How many Mercedes Benz are there? You get a great android it's good business. Roy Batty, if he hadn't died they'd have probably would  have made a lot of Roy Batty's."
  • His perception of Sci-Fi has not changed. He always tries to keep everything as real as possible. The very first knocked his socks off and was a seminal film but a "Fairie story". ALIEN was more reality based.  Blade Runner stepped into the area of urban future, and he thinks they were pretty accurate with it. With The Martian, it was wonderful  for him to work with NASA and JPL. They were very helpful and were also Sci-Fi buffs.  So when he started talking to them, he got immediate help and advice. They showed him pictures, "We’re gonna be doing this, we're gonna be doing that." They swapped notes a lot. It was a nice experience for him.

Billy Crudup - Orum

  • He plays Christopher Orum who is the first mate and chief science officer aboard The Covenant.
  • Orum is a complicated person as he struggles with his ideas of Faith as a man of science. That complication alienates him from people; he’s a very serious minded person. He doesn’t have a great sense of humor. Katherine and her husband are secularists and adventurers; folks that do this kind of job have to be pioneers in some way. And some people do that with religious fervor, others for the joy of exploration and some people do it out of curiosity. For Orum this not a lark, its an act of providence. He feels like he has a very strong sense as to why he is part of this mission.
  • His character was raised in a Pentecostal household. He was treated very roughly; it’s a very penal belief system and structure. And it also has come under fire culturally for the past 20 years or so several times for leading members of the church acting in a outwardly duplicitous way. For Orum the combo of it being familiar and him wanting to reject it made him seek out his Faith, his own belief system. And as somebody that uses their mind in their occupation as a rationalist, he’s come to the conclusion there is a fairly low probability that the universe was created without some sort of creative engine. So he chooses to believe that the creative engine had at the very least some form of humanity in mind as part of an evolutionary step, some kind of being that can reflect on the majesty of the universe.
  • We meet him while he’s in the process of trying to understand that. And this journey is a process of understanding for him. He believe that he’s an Agent of God in some ways, that everybody is an Agent of God is some ways, and they should celebrate the majesty of creation by celebrating life. But when you talk like that all the time, you out people off. That’s one of the reasons he’s alienated from the core group in some ways. His wife understands the complexities – you can be ostracized by the scientific community for feelings of Faith, not across the board but there is a strong driving force for Imperial evidence, so in the absence of it, many scientists say, when that comes along; I will believe with you but in the meantime lets talk about what we can experience.
  • His character suffers from being alienated. He shares his internal pain with his wife (who’s a biologist) who has an appreciation for that struggle. He’ s a big-hearted person who wants to live an authentic life. His wife believes and trusts that he is a good man.
  • Daniels partner is the captain and is younger than Orum who has been a part of this program for some time. And Orum had the expectations that he would be in charge of the mission but his Faith and his struggle with it was an impediment for him ascending. So that’s the source of the conflict in addition to him being self-serious and them being normal.
  • His character thinks that we humans are examples of the glory of the universe, which is a direct expression of God. He is confused about souls, whether things have souls, if he has a soul. But he is excited about meeting new life forms as at the end of the road is God.
  • He thinks of Walter as a tool, because he was created by man, not by God.
  • Orum sees signs (like the ship being called Covenant) and they play a big part in his life.
  • The Captain is named Jacob and there’s an interesting Biblical reference to him as a leader. And Orum gets a mild thrill out of that.
  • Crudup responds to the creation myth in the film. Prometheus was Titan, like Zeus and all those cats. And with Covenant Ridley explores an innate desire to understand the creation of the universe, earth, humanity, culture, and art. But we take it a step further when we construct our myth as to how things work and we make them a part of what we think is a truth of our history. Hence for Ridley, - what happens when we create robots who have a kind of consciousness and they then look at us as their creator? We have now endowed ourselves with a kind of Godliness. So what happens if THEY create robots? That’s one aspect that Ridley (and him) is interested in exploring with this film.
  • Ridley does a great job in many of his movies in keeping the audience at bay as to who is a good guy and who is a bad guy, who’s AI, who’s not. So he spent most of his prep time to try to create a character that would keep the audience guessing.
  • It’s great fun to play archetypes but right now he’s interested in complex characters that keep the audience guessing. He’s interested in people who seem to be making poor choices in their life and through that we discover their humanity. When he read the Covenant script the character was portrayed as an antagonist. But he didn’t want to play like that. He wanted to play him as somebody who really thinks that he’s doing a great job and is so focused on that, that he is doing a horrible job at socializing and leading, but not because he’s nefarious.  He finished off by saying in a joking manner “that he’d like to play a hero sometimes” a nudge as to his typecast.

Demian Bichir - Sergeant Lope

  • His character is in charge of the military side of the expedition, the security of the ship.
  • When he watched the ALIEN films as an audience member he always thought “man I wish I could be in a film like that”. If you’re going to do Sci-Fi, do it with the best and stepping on set was part of a dream come through. Ridley is a heavyweight who surrounds himself with the best and it’s only a triple A team. 
  • They could have done the film on a green screen but the fact that they are there on real sets helps him as an actor greatly.
  • His character's mission is to keep everyone safe, as they don’t know what they’ll find on the planet, until they do find it.
  • His character is old school military. The particularity about all of it is that they are all couples on the ship – all kinds of couples. Even men and men. And for him it’s a beautiful side of the story to have; iconic macho types being together and loving each other and being part of keeping everyone alive.
  • At the beginning of the film, they just lost their captain so the chain of command is challenged and anybody that is trying to make a career in the military yearn for more.  One thing that makes the expedition special is that they all depend on each other, so the more they behave, the more mature they are, it keeps them alive.
  • His husband has worked under his command. It’s not a problem as they know who they are and they are trained to follow orders and ranks. But, that may raise some highbrows, but the fact that they actually though it was a good idea to put them on the same team, they are grateful for the trust, cause before partners, husbands and lovers, they are professionals. They know they can’t cross that line because it is the difference between dead or alive.
  • The rest of the crew is also formed as couples, and whatever happens in the rooms is private.
  • The ship is like Noah’s Arc and they aim to reproduce once on the planet.
  • When he met Ridley he was just happy with the chat they had, and they ended up talking about different things aside form the film. Life, sports, love. It comes down to one single thing, we’re all the same, human beings, we’re sensitive, we can step into a museum and get moved by a painting, we all have that, whether you do it for a living or not, if you have some blood in your veins. The fact that they loved the same things in life, like the simplicity of poetry, is probably what got them together in the end. Ridley is a genius, simple as that whether people agree with him or not. So the meeting alone was great. When leaving the office he thought “f*ck, that was good”, then he thought shit “there’s a film going here” I have to get in that film. And once he got the call he was very happy.
  • The Covenant crew does not know what happened on the Prometheus ship as they go on their mission. They find out about many things that didn’t go right down the road though. Surprises.
  • His character deals with fear internally. He’s only spoken about being afraid with Ridley in the WAR ROOM. That is how you approach a character and you solve a problem.  It’s an interesting angle to take on cause his character is supposed to be fearless.
  • He missed ALIEN in theatres when it first came out because he was busy with school, theatre and soccer.  He then had many chances to see it on BETA, laserdiscs and then DVD and he kept saying no cause he was hoping to see it on the big screen. And then he got his wish when the film was re-mastered and opened in his favorite theatre the Arclight. He went with his younger brother and best friend, they went at the Monday 11am show just so he felt it was a private screening for him. And that’s when he saw it for the first time. The first thing that came to his mind was  “okay that is why the rest of the word went crazy and why everyone loves this”
  • Ridley is the kind of director that can step into any genre and do it right. He’s his own private Jules Verne. He creates worlds and planets and he’s such a nice sweet man and very funny. And he can tell horror in a very spooky way. Sometimes they are on set, they stroll in with flashlights, and it’s creepy. He can just imagine what the audience will feel. He loves Ridley’s fascination for art and his films are artwork, everything is in place. He can’t wait to see it all together.
  • Film is collaboration. When you call someone to your table you don’t expect them to be quiet and eat. You expect them to comment on the dishes and the wine. And that’s what Ridley does on set.  Ridley does that on every aspect. He wants to hear what you have to say. What is it that can make this better? Bring it in! It’s beautiful. It fascinating and beautiful. And it confirms that it’s the way it should be. The way all great artists are.
  • He loves to be able to play with other fantastic actors. He loves tennis. His game gets better when he plays with better players. And that’s what has been happening here. So that has been a joy for him. He considers himself to be a hermit, so when he works, he almost becames a monk. But with this group of people it's been fantastic, they had a great time in New Zealand, they have dinner and talk and talk. That is a gift.

And that marks the end of my ALIEN COVENANT set visit. I want to say a huge THANK YOU to FOX for having me and to the ALIEN COVENANT cast/crew for being so accommodating. As a HUGE fan of the franchise, this was a dream come true.

READ PART 1 OF THIS SET VISIT HERE!

READ PART 2 OF THIS SET VISIT HERE!


Thank you for reading. This is Corporal Fallon; signing off.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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