The Alien prequel—one of dozens of in-development Ridley Scott projects—is another step closer to a theater near you. Damon Lindelof, of Lost fame, submitted his latest draft to Fox executives, who apparently “flipped” and are trying to secure Natalie Portman to star. Portman recently dropped out of both Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Alfonso (Children of Men) Cuaron’s troubled SF opus Gravity, so she’s free, but whether she’s in the mood to work is another question.
Fox executives had been a bit worried about Ridley Scott’s request for a $150-160 million budget, and one of the things that caused them to “flip” over Lindelof’s script is that it allegedly (everyone who’s seen the script has signed a non-disclosure agreement, so all we have are rumors) relies less on the big-budget action FX of the Alien sequels and more on the minimalist tension that made the original so terrifying. Said minimalist tension is also less expensive.
One potentially troubling bit of news is that Fox would like to bring the Alien prequel in as a PG-13. While severed limbs, exploding torsos, and the f-word are not absolute requirements for a quality motion picture by any means, the Alien movies are, to put it mildly, not for the faint of heart. The MPAA is, for better or worse, a lot more lenient with violence than it is with sexual content or cursing, but a PG-13 Alien nonetheless cannot help but feel like a kinder, gentler Alien, which does not bode well.
As nothing is yet absolutely confirmed, rumors that Lindelof’s Alien will be played by Terry O’Quinn can be spread to our heart’s content, as can the virtual certainty that when Natalie Portman is officially offered the role and subsequently quits, she’ll be replaced by Evangeline Lilly.