Alien Covenant Set Visit #2 Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Huffam!

While on the ALIEN COVENANT set (READ PART 1 OF MY REPORT HERE), we were seated in the "WAR ROOM" and talent was brought in one after another to yap with us! Here are the key things that I got out of our chats with actress Katherine Waterston (who showed up in costume and yes looked like a Ripley clone), gregarious Producer Mark Huffam and the charismatic Michael Fassbender.

Katherine Waterston - Daniels

  • There’s a huge section of the ship that is dedicated to the machinery that will be required once they get to the planet to make it habitable. Space green houses, hardcore farming equipment etc. Her character is in charge of all that. She has been working on it for 10 years. They prepped for 7 months up there and then they go into a sleep cycle and the film starts when they come out of it.
  • Her character is smart, good at her job, likes her job and she’s a worker. The events of the film reveal parts of herself to herself that she didn’t know she had. She got from the script that she doesn’t start off thinking she can kick ass, she discovers her strength and courage as the circumstances present themselves.
  • Like Ripley in ALIEN she’s ranked third on the ship at the beginning of the film.
  • What she loves about Ridley Scott is that his excitement is palpable in terms of what you come up with as an actor. When she comes up with an idea on the spot, he says “Lets not f*cking talk about it, just show it to me, lets try it!” Ridley also says “the worse that will happen that we’ll be wrong, lets shoot the f*cker", a line he repeats 5 times a day.
  • Working with Fassbender was fascinating because he plays a robot. Its mind-blowing and surreal and nothing like she’s done before or again. Any interaction is met with something she’s not used in getting from another person. Human beings either engage by paralleling or contrasting and there’s neither happening with him. It makes her job easy as she never forgets that he’s a robot, she never thinks that he’s Michael. What he does is powerful and convincing. She never knows what’s its going to feel like, discovering on camera what their relationship is going to be while trying to figure out what it would be like to bond with something that is not human.
  • Her character and Walter (the other Fassbender android) are friends. Obviously Daniels knows that it’s a ridiculous thing to say about a robot, but she feels that way towards him (it). And David the other robot, she meets him in the film and he is new to Daniels. Both robots differ a great deal in terms of personality.
  • Her character has a close relationship to Danny McBride’s character of Tennessee. He’s very moving in the film, and not the comic relief as most would assume.
  • She has to conserve her energy when playing fear. This is a process she had never done before. The stuff in the film is freaky. And sometimes it's funny as somebody walks by her trailer with her friend's head on a stick.
  • She’s had to interact with guys and stunt guys in suits. She also had to deal with prosthetic dead bodies, which freaked her out.
  • She’s a fan of ALIEN. She thinks Sigourney’s performance has influenced woman in strong roles ever since. What Sigourney did with that character was ahead of its time and right on the money in terms of what women are like. Women are courageous sometimes or scared shit-less, just like men. When she saw the first ALIEN, she thought it was showing that and now many more films are doing it. ALIEN has influenced the industry in a big way. Hence she has been taking cues off Sigourney Weaver’s performance on and off screen since she’s seen the film.
  • Her character has really good instincts like Ripley (who was the only one in ALIEN that didn’t want to let the infected crew member on the ship).

Mark Huffam – Producer

  • ALIEN COVENANT is about a terraforming expedition to another planet. A rogue signal is picked up, human form hence the crew decides to divert their path and go to another planet which looks better than the one they were going to inhabit. They end up on what appears to be on a very beautiful and unspoiled paradise of a planet. It’s downhill for them after that.
  • They used Milford Sound New Zealand to be the “Eden” planet location. They wanted something lush, green and grand scale.
  • They’ve recreated the Prometheus set
  • Ridley always tries to keep things real. Tries to imagine how technology would be in the future and recreates it. Tries to guess where it’s going to be in the future.
  • Expect more surprises and way more scares than in Prometheus.
  • They're taking the monster side of things to another stage. You’ll find old friends and new friends on that world.
  • ALIEN COVENANT got pushed hence why they did The Martian “to fill the gap”.
  • It was always the intention that Michael Fassbender’s David would be the link between Prometheus and Alien.
  • Some answers to questions Prometheus asked will be addressed here while new questions will be left dangling for the next film.
  • The audience has been listened to after Prometheus and hopefully what they wanted more of will be delivered.
  • It’s more of a horror movie this time around. Ridley Scott is going back to suspense.
  • They all started their journey by watching ALIEN again as that’s where they’re going to end up.
  • Ridley loves getting his hands dirty, loves practical effects, they are ordering blood by 40 gallons drums. He tries to do as much as he can “in camera”.
  • The film has the scale of Prometheus and the suspense of ALIEN. Corridors get smaller and darker. It takes the best of both words and combines them hopefully really well.
  • There’s more than one survivor at the end of the film.
  • Two weeks on location in New Zealand and on set in a reservoir. The shoot was 60 percent stage and 40 percent outdoors for the planet scenes.
  • He thinks that it will be a movie that absolutely delivers for the Prometheus fan base and the ALIEN fan base. He’s not feeling anxious.
  • Most of the rules that were written in the 10 Page Rule Book for the franchise came from ALIEN. There were only subtle changes that were made to the COVENANT script based on it.
  • In an ideal world, there’s this movie and two others to get the story to ALIEN. That will be dictated as to how the audience receives the film. In terms of space, we don’t know anything about it, there must be other life forms out there, and that gives them license to have their imagination go wild. When working closely with NASA on THE MARTIAN, they asked “do we think we’re alone in the universe” and NASA said they’re pretty sure that we are not.

Michael Fassbender - David/Walter

  • Walter is a synthetic minus the human traits that David has. He’s straight forward and logical like Leonard Nimoy’s Mr. Spock.
  • The Walter model was created by the company after the “too human” David model from Prometheus freaked them out.
  • It’s been 10 years since we’ve seen David without any maintenance, his human qualities have gathered momentum. There as much a part of him now as the synthetic qualities.
  • David was in awe of his creator in Prometheus until he witnessed Wieland meet his creator; showing his fallacies and how mortal humans could be. He has moved on or so to say.
  • Walter is a very efficient Butler/Bodyguard/Technician. He’s solely there for the purpose of the ship and the crew. There are no complications in his programming like we’ve seen with Androids in other ALIEN films. He’s like Bishop from ALIENS but with less human traits.  
  • Walter can appreciate emotion but it doesn’t come into his world of thinking.  
  • It is referenced in the film as to what happened on the Prometheus ship during them 10 years.  We’ll get verbal information and visual cues to fill in this gaps.
  • David’s appreciation of beauty, art and nature (as seen in Prometheus) are relevant here in terms of where he is now. David likes to keep himself busy. There’s an artist and an ego in there. Like a human he wants to leave something behind; a legacy of some sort.
  • Yes David’s head and body are re-attached together here.
  • Michael watched lots of Lawrence of Arabia to prep up for the David role once again. He wanted to keep a consistency from Prometheus.  
  • Like any good marriage; there’s a real affection between Shaw and David. He gets on her nerves but they went through a lot together so there is a bond there.
  • David perceives synthetics as a step above humans. Humans can learn from them.
  • David sees Walter as his kin, perhaps a student or a younger brother.
  • The concept of death is touched a bit in this film. David feels that he is the ultimate survivor and yes David is aware of death.





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