a) In half an hour after Damon read the script, perhaps he called Ridley to tell him what he thought and if he did perhaps it was here that Ridley had spoken further with him on the matter, telling him
" I really want to make an original movie, I feel like I already made Alien, and I'm very happy with the way that turned out, there's no reason for me to just go back and do that again. Ah, there's some great ideas in this script, is there a way that we can take these ideas and move forwards with them, at the same time giving a tip of the cap to the people who have seen Alien. We don't want to deny it, this is a part of that but has to be a movie unto itself"
Ridley gave him the email address of his associates Michael Ellenberg and Michael Costigan who were acting on behalf of Ridley. They would serve as a buffer and if they didn't think much of Damon's idea, that would be it, Ridley wouldn't have to know about them and Damon wouldn't feel as if he had embarrassed himself.
b) Damon went to his office to write the e-mail, and this response he knew would be his job interview. Perhaps it was a four or five paragraph email, he mentioned how he loved the fundamental ideas behind the movie and there were some great set pieces in the descriptions, he thought it was a wonderful cerebral piece but it indeed relied too much on Alien which had been spread around in six movies already
c) And what Damon generally said to them was, “ Look I read it, here's what I think and would do if you're interested. What I think this script would really benefit from is a remixing of its ideas, to make the movie about these ideas and themes of creation, and focus it more on the idea of going to visit these beings who may or may not have made us, I think these ideas are original enough to power the whole things. And a little bit less on things jumping out of eggs and running after us with mandibles of death which people are going to be expecting. We can present iterations of that stuff in different ways. That isn’t to say that this isn’t a movie that should be set in that universe, but I look at it more like a story that is running parallel to the original Alien, so that if there was a sequel to this movie, it would not be Alien, it would be Prometheus 2. And then Prometheus 2 is parallel to Aliens. And here’s how we could do that. "
d) And so he sent off the email, got into bed and didn't sleep at all.
- Damon Lindelof: So I told them, “What I think this script would really benefit from is a remixing of its ideas, to make the movie about these ideas and themes of creation, and focus it more on the idea of going to visit these beings who may or may not have made us. And a little bit less on things jumping out of eggs and running after us with mandibles of death.” All of which probably would have been awesome in any other context, but I think it would’ve definitely been more along the expected path. So that’s what I pitched to Ridley [Scott] and the production team, and that’s what they responded to. For some crazy reason, they hired me, and thus began the next year of my life. (http://uk.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/06/)
- Damon Lindelof:
And so I sent off an email.
Ridley works with these guys, these two Michaels Michael Ellenberg and
Michael Costigan. And basically sent them an e-mail saying, "Look I read it, Here's what I think, here is what I would do, if you were interested," and the next morning
Interviewer: you're telling me here is what I would do is what you layed out for him. How long between finished reading it and writing this email where you're slightly pitching your take on things as to whether he's going to ask you to write the script
Damon Lindelof Ah, half an hour, like
Interviewer: What's the matter with you?
Damon Lindelof: why
Interviewer: you don't want to give yourself a nice chew on this a little bit
Damon Lindelof: no, they said, he said tell me what you think
Interviewer: ah right
Damon Lindelof I'm kind of like, again
Interviewer: In other words, what I guess what I'm asking
Damon Lindelof The stopping and the consideration leads for me to forget it, don't bother, they're not going to like what you have to say
Interviewer: don't over think it
Damon Lindelof I'm... the,... the only way that I can actually appear to be brave is to just walk off the end of the diving board where because the second I stop walking, that's it, like, there will be no dive. That's just, every great thing that's ever happened to me in my life happened exactly this way
Damon Lindelof: the, the, the do you want to meet JJ, you never know when you're phone's going to ring, and like the deliberation thing does not work for me, I always find a way to talk my way out of it
Interviewer: that's pretty fantastic and important to know, thanks for sharing that, seriously
Damon Lindelof: It's true, I don't think I've ever consciously said it out loud before
Interviewer: well, yeah, but that's even better, but they, but there is the notion of this is a great amazing opportunity and it deserves a little bit of my time before I tell Sir Ridley Scott
Damon Lindelof: yes
Interviewer: what I would like to do with his film
Interviewer: and I love that you said, it's been half hour, he's said to call. He said he wanted to know what I thought
Damon Lindelof: right
Interviewer: I gotta tell him that, so you share your ideas and he says
Damon Lindelof: well I
Interviewer: an email
Damon Lindelof: he doesn't have an email address, it's like, send your email to these guys, and so I felt there was a certain degree of safety I was saying , you know "yoh, Ridley, like Ridley, this is what it's going to be. That they would basically, if my ideas were really and totally shitty, the two Michaels would insulate me from embarrassment and say thankyou for waiting, and by the way, the way that it works in town and I'm no dummy, sweepstakes pitching, They're who knows how many other people they're out to. So that's the other thing making me respond immediately, and also, i was excited, creatively engaged by this thing, I'm like, let's get to work, let's dive in, I wanna meet Ridley Scott, cause this is just, I'm not going to get the meeting unless, you know, has some presentation that they're excited by. (Kevin Pollack chatshow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzRjHDAgRmk#t=9099)
- Damon Lindelof: So when I finished it I went into my office and I wrote an email to Ridley and his producing partners. And this response was basically my job interview. I wrote maybe a four or five paragraph email saying here are all the things I love about it, I think there are some incredible set pieces here, I love the fundamental idea behind the movie, I feel like it’s a cool think piece. BUT I think it’s relying a bit too heavily on the Alien stuff that we’ve seen now five or six times in different movies. Chest-bursting and face-hugging and xenomorphs and I just feel that your idea is so strong and the characters can be made so strong that we don’t need any of that stuff. We can present iterations of that stuff in different ways. That isn’t to say that this isn’t a movie that should be set in that universe, but I look at it more like a story that is running parallel to the original Alien, so that if there was a sequel to this movie, it would not be Alien, it would be Prometheus 2. And then Prometheus 2 is parallel to Aliens. And here’s how we could do that. And so I sent off that email and I got into my bed. I didn’t sleep at all. And at 10 a.m. the next morning, my agent called me and said, ‘Whatever it is you did, they liked it. Can you go in and meet now?’ (http://insidemovies.ew.com/2012/05/11/damon-lindelof-prometheus-life-after-lost/2/)
- Damon: Leonard Lee in Ellie on Twitter: How did it transition from an alien prequel into what you called an Original Mythology. Was it fairly seamless?
Again very er logic. Erm. Gentleman named John Spaihts er wrote a er wrote a script that I thought was great and Ridley er said was great, and sent, sent to me, erm, and er, but Ridley said I really want to, um, make an original movie, I feel like I already made Alien, um and er, I'm very happy with the way that turned out, there's no reason for me to just go back and do that again. Ah, there's some great ideas in this script, ah, is there a way that we can take these ideas and move forwards with them, er, at the same time giving a tip of the cap to the people who have seen Alien. We don't want to deny it, this is a part of that but has to be a movie unto itself
Damon: and her, I just sort of looked at you with stars in my eyes, and said whatever you want me to do, I will do. Erm, that all sounds awesome.
Ridley: And it evolved, I mean actually it took weeks
Ridley: Well, six
Ridley: well was it really, okay, but from the first time of saying to Fox, that was probably two and a half years ago, which was in the, the... two and a half years?
Damon: Ah yeah, I met you in June of 2010, so, but you had been working on it for
Damon: a couple of months really
Ridley: So that timing for making a movie of this scale is pretty damn fast, so we'd been working on it and had found a draft that Damon describes, of that, it needed, it needed work, and it needed that final step, that final evolution, to make it into what you really call a real shooting, dynamic shooting script, and from that moment until today when we're talking in terms of a delivered movie, it's about a two year process. It's fast
Damon: And absolutely seamless, don't you think?
Ridley: I think so
Damon: Are, you might see a seam or two, but no zippers
(AMC Prometheus Q&A with Ridley Scott and Damon Lindelof )