In this corner, with four films, two video games, and 23 comic book titles and still counting — the scariest monster to come out of 70s sci-fi, the disgrace from space, the Fox franchise: ALIEN.
And in this corner, with two film titles two his credit, three video games and 15 comic book titles and counting — the first alien (but not the last) to challenge a California governor and lose, the other Fox franchise: PREDATOR.
These two extra-terrestrial combatants are scheduled to meet in a celestial grudge match this coming August at a theatre near you, in what Fox is hoping will be another windfall in the trend of pitting great movie monsters against each other.
Like those that went before them: Dracula vs. Frankenstein, King Kong vs. Godzilla, Freddie vs. Jason; Alien v. Predator or AVP, has a mixture of both high optimism and skepticism from the public at large. And with rumors now surfacing with ever frequency about “MAJOR problems with creatures” that are “all painted silver” and “Paul Anderson seriously considering replacing a lot of what was built with CGI,” (all of which are untrue, but I’ll get to that later), 20th Century Fox graciously arranged an onset visit for fourteen internet and print media to tour the sets, interview the cast and crew, and watch the filming of several key sequences.
ComingSoon.net was one of the fortunate few to be invited along last month, and over the next several weeks we will be featuring behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew as well as focusing on the history of this long awaited clash — one that truly has been years in the making. But first for those of you who are new to AVP (and if you read this site, I can’t imagine there are many of you) we present an overview of the story and the principles involved:
Written and directed by Paul WS Anderson, (Mortal Kombat, Event Horizon, Resident Evil) AVP has taken, at least in some part, some of the ideas brought forth by the popular Dark Horse Comic series.
Like the Dark Horse comic, the Predators are responsible for creating one of earth’s ancient cultures. It was they who enslaved our ancestors, forced them to build really big pyramids and then offered them up as living sacrifices in order to incubate the cute little Aliens that serve as game for their favorite recreational right of passage – hunting. Now while this could also be confused with similar events recounted by people who have worked under the employment of the Walt Disney Company, it is here where the similarities end.
Though it spans 100 years, the bulk of the AVP story takes place in Antarctica in the present time. It is here in an abandoned whaling station that a Weyland Industries’ satellite picks-up a rather peculiar object under the Antarctic cap. Weyland Industries is the same company that sent the crew of the Nostromo to the planet where they found the egg in the first film. So suffice to say, if you work for WI, make sure your life insurance policy is in order.
An expedition is mounted by Charles Bishop Weyland, played by Lance Henriksen (no the “Bishop” name is not a coincidence) and headed by Raoul Bova (Under the Tuscan Sun) and the film’s lead heroin – Sanaa (pronounced: sin-ah) Lathan (Out of Time). They are accompanied by the usual motley crew/appetizers that (at least in my impression) are more reminiscent of the first Alien film in both character and diversity, than latter incarnations.
So the whole buffet (sorry — crew) find themselves in Antarctica where they uncover an ancient pyramid that predates all known civilizations and dwarfs even the Aztec pyramids of Mexico. So, what’s a team to do? Well if you are to have any move, you usually stumble onto something that looks intriguing, which they do. You tamper with it in a way that you’re not suppose to, which they do. And this usually sets of some sort of a chain reaction that involves people being trapped and many bloody gruesome scary deaths by things that leap out at you from dark places among the shadows when you least expect it, which it will.
But unlike your usual fair, the real battle is not between the humans and the Aliens but between the Aliens and Hunters – three Predators, one of them a prince with a very big presence in the film.
The film itself is being shot entirely in Prague (or for you natives on the web: Praha) in several converted sound stages throughout the city. Other cast members include: Ewen Bremner (Black Hawk Down, Trainspotting), Colin Salmon, who some may recognizes as M’s chief of staff in the last three Bond films, the very ire and funny Tommy Flanagan, who played Russell Crowe’s servant in Gladiator, and international actors Joseph Rye, Carsten Norgaard, Sam Troughton and the very sexy Agathe De La Boulaye, round out the cast.
Now I know the whole reason you guys come to these websites is so that you can get the inside scoop on things, and to be honest you will get them here sooner than most, but as of this posting Fox will not yet allow us to reveal specifics as to who dies, who lives, and what other types of alien/predator manifestation appear in the film – they don’t want us to spoil everything. But if you know your Alien/Predator stuff and you know what happens to people or (other things) that come into contact with “eggs” then you can probably take an educated guess as to what might be in store for you in this film.
What I can tell you is that while touring the sets, and even running into some of the actors at the hotel, everyone and I mean everyone is excited about working on this film. The “problems” with the creatures, reported on another website, are no more than the problems you would normally have with a big effects sci-fi shoot. The Aliens are NOT “silver.” They are the slimy black creatures that reflect whatever light they happen to be in that we’ve all come to know and love. There are design changes (the hands are larger) and occasionally a robotic alien, puppeteer off camera, is used for shots that involved repetitive fast movements or teeth to shoot out.
The reported ill fitting Predators costumes were in my opinion the second hand reporting of someone who caught glimpse of a stand-in or stunt man being helped off the set. The actors who play the Predators, while they may appear to some to look a bit dull or unimpressive outside a soundstage or under the harsh florescent light of a creature shop, look great through the lenses, and in the end that’s what matters.
The tag line for the film is “No matter who wins, we lose.” While it’s still to early to tell whether or not this line will prove to be prophetic for the folks at 20th Century Fox, what is very clear is that the genuine enthusiasm by those involved in making this film rivals, and in the case of director Paul WS Anderson surpasses that of the fans waiting for it, and for all I believe the wait will be worth it.