For six seasons on the cult TV show Lost, writer Damon Lindelof learned a few things about keeping fans in the dark. Not a day would go by that someone wouldn’t come up to him and ask what it all meant. Needless to say, he learned to keep secrets and stoke an air of mystery. All of which has come in handy on his latest project, Ridley Scott’s hush-hush sci-fi space epic Prometheus.
Lindelof, who shares a screenplay credit on the film with Jon Spaihts, has been tight-lipped about the film in the walk-up to its release on June 8 — in particular about the question that’s on every fanboy (and girl’s) mind: Is Prometheus an Alien prequel as has been rumored? EW spoke with Lindelof for this week’s cover story; here’s a transcript of the full interview.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did you get a chance to visit the set of Prometheus?
DAMON LINDELOF: Yes, I spent about a month at Pinewood Studios in London — a couple of weeks at the very beginning and then a couple of weeks about a month in. To me, after working on Star Trek, where we did a lot of green screen, I was bowled over by the vastness of Ridley’s sets at Pinewood. It felt like old-school filmmaking in all of the right ways. You walk through those doors and you are transported just by the sheer audacity and magnitude of some of those sets.
The studio has been keeping Prometheus very secret. So I’m going to try to pull some teeth and get you to talk about some stuff you’re sworn not to talk about. How does that sound?
You do your job, I’ll do mine.
Okay. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell me how you came onto this project?
We finished Lost in May of 2009. And following that, after doing a show for six years, I dropped off the face of the planet and went with my family to Italy for a month. I told everyone I would be incommunicado. When I returned, I let everyone know that I would like to do a movie project. We had already committed to Trek 2, but J.J. [Abrams] was still putting the finishing touches on Super 8 and I had two or three months before we had to dive in on Trek. So about two days after I put that signal out that I was ready to go on some casual dates, I was driving down Ventura Boulevard in the Valley and my agent called and said, “Are you available to talk to Ridley Scott in five minutes?” I slammed on my brakes for some inexplicable reason and pulled over. I didn’t want to be driving through some bad cellular zone on the phone with Ridley Scott. So I just sat there and prepared to sit there for two hours. Because ‘Are you ready in five minutes’ when you’re talking about someone of Ridley Scott’s stature, just be prepared to wait a while.
Did he say what the call was going to be about?
My agent said he had no idea. They wouldn’t tell him. And as I was sitting there I was praying that it was the Alien prequel that I had been hearing about. As a fanboy, I knew that they were developing it. I said to myself, Please let it be that. And sure enough, five minutes later, my phone rang and it was Ridley. There was no pomp and circumstance. There was no assistant saying, “Please hold for Ridley Scott.” It was just him. And he doesn’t know that he’s Ridley Scott, so he just dove right into the conversation. And he basically said, “Hey dude, I’m going to send you a script. Let me know what you think.” And I’m not going to be like, What is it? I just said, “Yes, sir. I look forward to that.” And that was the entire conversation. And so about an hour later this guy shows up at my house with a screenplay and says, “I will be sitting in my car. When you are finished with the screenplay, you can hand it back to me.” So at this point, I’m like, It’s the Alien prequel! Because with this level of tightened security what else could it be? So I read the screenplay.
NEXT: Lindelof on the original draft of Prometheus