Alien Covenant: Danny McBride

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a) Experiences with Alien series
Danny was still a boy and attending Elementary School, and it was in the years when there were video stores, he would visit them with his parents and would always go for the R rated movies, and he would slide them in the last minute while his parents were checking out. Then he would get up very early on Saturday morning before they were up, to watch them, and so he would do this with Aliens.  Then his mother would wake up early to make breakfast and so she is there able to hear what's going on the TV, "this is not going to fly" he thought.

It got to a point where she said to him "what is this you're watching. If they curse one more time, this is going off. We're not going to sit and listen to this"

Danny probably responded "Okay, whatever"

Then Bill Paxton came into the scene where the dropship crashes and he unleashes his epic monologue with the words "Game over, game over" and drops the F bomb near enough thirty times, and that meant that Danny had to shut the movie off, and he never saw what happened to Newt or Ripley for ten years after that

Despite this set back, he would become a great fan of the series with Alien and Aliens as his two favourite horror films while he was growing up as a child.




b) Meeting Ridley Scott
When the filming of Vice Principals wrapped at around the end of 2015, Danny McBride came back to LA and got a call telling him that Ridley Scott wanted to meet him, he had no idea what it was for, but he was a great fan of Ridley Scott's movies.

Ridley asked Danny McBride to come to meet him and talk about a film role, Danny didn't even know what movie it was for, he was so overwhelmed as it was to meet Ridley Scott, and as they met and talked, as it were "bullshitting", and then half way through the conversation Ridley started to pull out these books and show Danny sketches of the spaceships and aliens and then it occurred to Danny what this was all about

Danny's general thoughts were "Jesus, this fucking Alien, he's talking to me about Alien" and then "why would he be interested in me in this, am I going to be serious, just like the comic relief for this."

But at the end of the interview, he wasn't offered the role of Alien,  it was just to talk about it. He half wondered if Ridley wanted to test the material on him to see if it was "cool" or not.

Danny then got the script,  he assumed that he was being given a role for a wisecracking funny man, the story started out under some dire situation and it got worse from there and he found himself thinking, "This shit is dark, there is no comic relief in it at all, this is a dark horror movie."


Slim Pickens as Major Kong riding the bomb in Doctor Strangelove


c)  Taking the role
By February 2016, it was revealed that he was in early discussions to co-star in Ridley's Alien movie

He would play the pilot of the Spaceship Covenant, which is a colonisation ship, searching for a plant where they would start life anew, and he would run the ship

When he went to talk to see Ridley to talk directly about the role,  Ridley informed him that the character was like an homage to the character actor Slim Pickens who played Major Kong in Doctor Strangelove.

Taking the role, he was excited to be able to step into something like that and participate in a way that's not relying on things that have to do with his usual work.

Danny's response was to brush up on the Doctor Strangelove film and watch different films with pilots in, just to see things such as what buttons they pushed

Making the movie, it was the first movie he made where people habitually died because it was a horror movie. It was very intense with an extreme level of visual effects and gore and so when filming began, he would go to dinners with a big cast or twenty people and it was as if every week the table got smaller and smaller with less and less people at the table.


Source Quotes
  1.  Matt HNR: You just got back from Australia, you're heading back. It is mind boggling to me that I'm going to see an Alien movie next year, and you're going to be in it 

    Danny McBride: Me too, ha ha ha ha 

    Matt HNR: How awesome is that.

    Danny McBride: It's a killer like, and even the role it's like, when I, when I was, when they asked, when Ridley asked me to come in and meet about it, I didn't even know what movie it was for, I was like wow, I would like to meet Ridley Scott, and he starts talking to me about it, and he starts showing me these diagrams of spaceships, and I'm just thinking like, as he's talking, I'm like Jesus this is fucking Alien, he's talking to me about Alien and er, and then by next I was like why would he be interested in me in this, lil am i just going to be the like am I going to be this silly like, you know, just like the comic relief for this, and then I'm like I got the script and then I'm like this shit is dark, there is no comic relief in this at all, this is a dark horror movie and I and that was exciting to be able to step into something like that and and participate in a way that's not relying on things that have to do with work. (Danny McBride Talks Alien: Covenant, Hitflix: Matt HNR  , 12th July, 2016)  
  2.  The “Eastbound & Down” star is in early discussions to join 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster sci-fi movie. Following a hilarious run as Kenny Powers on HBO’s “Eastbound & Down,” Danny McBride is preparing to move from comedy to sci-fi, as he’s in early discussions to co-star in Ridley Scott‘s big-budget blockbuster “Alien: Covenant,” TheWrap has learned.  (February 10th 2016 www.thewrap.com/danny-mcbride-to-join-michael-fassbender-in-ridley-scotts-alien-covenant-exclusive)
  3. Conan O'Doyle: You are in, gonna be in the upcoming movie Alien Covenant?

    Danny McBride:Yes

    Conan O'Doyle: Is that correct?

    Danny McBride:Yes, yes, yeah
    Conan O'Doyle: And, what's kinda cool about that is, it's a cool gig anyway, but you were a big fan of the alien movies which makes this an even bigger deal, how did this all happen?

    Danny McBride: I-it was a, yuh, incredible, you know I've always been a fan of a of of the films and and uh, yuh, I began at the beginning of at the end of last year, I got a call that Ridley Scott wanted to meet me, I had no idea what it was for, I'm a humongous fan of his, he directed the original Alien and I went into his office to meet with him and I wasn't sure what it was about and about half way through the conversation, he starts showing me these sketches of spaceships and aliens and I was like Oh my god, this is about Alien, he's brought me here about Alien, and when it was over, he didn't offer me the role or anything, it was just sort of like to meet me, to meet with me about it, so I, I didn't really know what it was, I didn't know like if he heard I was a fan, was testing out the material to see if I thought it was cool or not.
    (laughter)

    Other guest (jokingly): What do you think of this scene on here?
    Danny McBride: I just Mr Cool

    Other guest (jokingly): Oh thankyou

    Conan O'Doyle: Oh like, that's a cool, that's a cool spaceship! It's the moon you idiot! It just suddenly cool with you. I don't want you to give anything away but, the experience of shooting the movie, is it, is it incredible

    Danny McBride: It's incredible, it's also the very first time I've been in a movie where people like die in it, so it's like you start the film and at dinner, it's like a big cast are all there and it's like every week, the table gets smaller and smaller

    (Laughter)

    Conan O'Doyle: It's like Game of Thrones dinners. Let's all meet back next week! Oh no! Now you've always been a big film buff, you were a film buff growing up as a kid.

    Danny McBride: I was, funny enough, even with er, with Aliens, it's like, we would on on Friday nights to the video store, things that don't exist anymore

    Conan O'Doyle: Right

    Danny McBride: And er, and I would always, this is young, like you know, I always, at Elementary School, I would always go for the rated R films and I would kind of like slide them in the last minute while my parents were checking out and what I would do, I would get up very early Saturday morning before they were up to watch them
    Conan O'Doyle: Right

    Danny McBride: And er,  and I actually did that with Aliens, I got up very early Saturday morning, put it on and then my mom wakes up early, starts making breakfast and she's there and I'm liked this is not going to fly, and at this point

    Conan O'Doyle: She can't see the screen

    Danny McBride:  She can't see the screen but she can hear what's happening and er, and at one point she says "what is this you're watching. If they curse one more time, this is going off. We're not going to, we're not going to sit and listen to this". And I'm like Okay, whatever, and then Bill Paxton comes on with like epic monologue with like game over, game over, drops the F bomb like thirty times, and that means to say, I had to shut the movie off and I never saw what happened to Newt or Ripley for ten years after that. (rough transcription, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AR88nyU4ZXc Danny McBride’s Long History With “Alien” - CONAN on TBS, Published on 16 Sep 2016)
  4. Rolling Stone: You're shooting Alien: Covenant right now. What can you tell us about it?
    Danny McBride: I’m the pilot of the spaceship Covenant, which is a colonization ship, searching for a planet where we might start life anew. I run the ship.
    Rolling Stone: Are you in a harness for eight hours a day, yelling at a green screen? 
    Danny McBride:
    No, I didn't know if it would be all green screen, but most of the stuff is practical effects: when you're running from an alien it's really a dude in an alien suit coming after you! The sets are incredible and you're in them: We go through some inclement weather at one point on the spaceship and this whole gigantic set is on a gimbal, shaking up and down. You don't have to use your imagination. 
    Rolling Stone:What’s the most impressive thing about Ridley Scott? 
    Danny McBride: He's got so much energy, and he shoots everything with four cameras. We move through stuff fast. When I got here some people said, "Oh man, he does two takes, three takes, tops," but I love it. It creates this attitude on set of, like, "You better fucking come with it because you've got two shots — you better bring it."
    (http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/features/danny-mcbride-on-vice-principals-trump-alien-covenant-July 6th 2016)
  5. Aside from Vice Principals, you’re a pretty busy guy: you’re making your first leap into sci-fi/horror with a major role in Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated Alien: Covenant. What can you tell us about it?
    Danny McBride: Man, that movie is gonna be nuts. Alien and Aliens were two of my favorite horror films growing up as a kid. I don’t think there’s anything that comes close to that franchise. I would’ve never thought in a million years I would be in one of those movies. When we wrapped Vice Principals, I came back to L.A. and got a call that Ridley Scott wanted to sit down for a meeting. I’m a humongous fan of his so I was blown away just at the idea of meeting him. So as we’re talking in the meeting and just kind of bullshitting, he starts pulling out these books and showing me these storyboard sketches. I finally realized, “Oh my God, this is for an Alien movie!” [Laughs.]
    Wow.
    Danny McBride:It was nuts. The idea that he trusted me to be a part of this thing is something that I’m still blown away by. I’m not allowed to talk a lot about what happens in it, but it is a straight horror movie. I’ve never been on something that intense before, with that level of visual effects and gore. I’ve also never been in a movie where people just straight up die like that. When I started the movie, the cast would go to these dinners and it was like twenty people. Then each week, the numbers dwindled and it became less and less people at the table. (http://ca.complex.com/pop-culture/2016/07/danny-mcbride-vice-principals-alien-covenant-sausage-party)
  6. As for McBride, his position as the Covenant’s pilot puts him in a good place to make it out alive, primarily because he spends most of his time off-planet, aboard the mothership. Best known for foul-mouthed comedies, the leftfield casting is even more surprising when you learn McBride wasn’t sought for his comedic chops. “I assumed this role would be the wisecracking funny guy,” he admits. “But because of the nature of this story, there isn’t a whole lot of comedy. It starts out under some dire situations and it just gets worse from there.” Scott may not have been looking for jokes from Tennessee, but he did have another cinematic icon in mind when casting McBride. “When I met Ridley, he said that this character was like an homage to Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove,” McBride smiles. “So 
I brushed up on Strangelove, and then
I watched different things with pilots in, just to see, like, what buttons do they push?” he adds, bellowing with laughter. (Total Film July 2017)

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