On the set of Alien: Covenant
Alien: Covenant director Ridley Scott made parts of spaceship set 'functional' for extra realism
Acclaimed director Ridley Scott hopes to take you to Eden and give you hell with this sequel to his 2012 Prometheus.
Alien: Covenant is the tale of the spaceship and its 2,000 passengers and crew, who are en route to a remote planet where they hope to establish a new outpost.
Misfortune strikes and they are forced to land on a nearby planet - seemingly Eden at first glance but teeming with, you guessed it, terrifying aliens.
Opening here May 10, Alien: Covenant is the second sequel to Scott's Alien saga, which began with the space horror masterpiece Alien (1979).
Alien: Covenant was shot over 74 days at the stages of Fox Studios Australia and on location in Milford Sound, New Zealand, last year.
Last June, the media had a sneak preview of the Covenant ship and the aliens when we visited the Sydney studio.
Lead actress Katherine Waterston (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them) was also spotted in her spacesuit. The 37-year-old plays Daniels, head of terraforming (or Earth-shaping) operations of the Covenant.
The design team ensured that the parts of the ship was "functional" so that the actors had a tactile experience. About 1,500 circuits were installed so that every switch and dial worked.
"I felt like I was on a functional spaceship," said lead actor Michael Fassbender, 40, who reprises his role as android David from Prometheus and also plays Walter, the next-generation model of David.
“This is not a grungy ship, this is a pioneer ship on a scientific mission, transporting people and equipment to colonise another planet.”director Ridley Scott on the spaceship Covenant
"It is a rare thing with fantasy films or high-concept action films. There is a lot of green screen, usually. We used some green screen, but a lot of it was there for us to explore, to touch and to interact with, and that is a real rarity these days."
Scott had a clear vision for the Covenant.
"This is not a grungy ship, this is a pioneer ship on a scientific mission, transporting people and equipment to colonise another planet," said the 79-year-old.
Production designer Chris Seagers was inspired by an unlikely industrial vehicle - the oil rig.
"They look from the outside like big tin cans but inside are full of technology, and they don't necessarily need people," said Seagers. "They're automated. It is the same as space technology."
We also caught glimpses of the Neomorph, the newest deadly life form making its debut in the film, as well as the already-famous Chestbursters, Facehugger and full-grown Xenomorph.
To get inspiration for the new alien, Scott referenced both late Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger, whose genius was behind Alien's frighteningly original Xenomorph, and the eerie Goblin Shark, a rare species of deep-sea predator with translucent skin and a hinged jaw.
"Designing the Neomorph was tough," said the English film-maker. "It was a big challenge that came about because I had to have something in addition to the usual suspect.
"The Neomorph, in a way, is the first generation of an alien, but it needs a human life form to cop on to and, if you like, mix with, copulate with."