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PROMETHEUS (2012): Jon Spaihts’ Original Script: ALIEN: Engineers

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Prometheus Jon Spaihts’ Original Script released. The original screenplay for Ridley Scott‘s Prometheus (2012) written by Jon Spaihts entitled ALIEN: Engineers (before Damon Lindelof re-wrote and made alterations to it [Damon Lindelof speaks about Prometheus and its Reception]) has been released online. So “now you can examine the early DNA of the movie that traced the early DNA of Alien, and of humanity.” Jon Spaihts’ has authenticated the online script.

@prometheus_6812 | That’s authentic.

— Jon Spaihts (@jonspaihts) November 11, 2012

The script online now is definitively the pre-Damon Lindelof draft of what became Prometheus.

Jon Spaihts said in interviews that his Prometheus script was far more violent than Damon Lindelof’s script, “more explicitly related to Alien, with facehugger and chestbursting alien forms”. Here are some excerpts of the Jon Spaihts’ interview that illustrates the differences between his script and Damon Lindelof’s:

The med-pod sequence was inspired by Spaihts’ desire to see someone survive a chest-bursting scene:

One of the things I realised was that we hadn’t seen anyone survive a classic Alien chest bursting. And I was really intrigued by the notion that a character might be infected by the parasite and know that it was coming, know they had a timeframe of a few hours, and that we would have set up previously a nearly omnipotent medical device, designed to extend life for explorers in foreign places. Our heroine would have a short time to get to the machine and extract the thing inside her. It was a very gory sequence and it plays out very much like the sequence in the film. The main difference is in choreography. At the end of the sequence as I first conceived it, the heroine manages to get the creature extracted from her and it is expelled from the pod and she’s sealed inside, whereas in the final film it goes the other way.

Then she lapses in and out of consciousness for a number of hours as the machine puts her back together. As she comes back to consciousness, she sees the thing growing in the cabin outside and even killing people. So by the time she emerges from the pod eight hours later, the thing is abroad in the ship and big enough to be a huge danger. That was the original conception of the medpod scene.

As for how she recovers from her surgery so fast – well, it was more of a protracted process in my original notion. My script underwent a number of major evolutions as we were working on it, and then Damon came in and made further changes still. But that sequence and its place in the story was one of the anchors.

So what caused Spaihts’ movie to leave the xenomorphs behind?  Studio executives.  Spaihts explains:

A lot of that push came from the studio very high up; they were interested in doing something original and not one more franchise film. That really came to a head at the studio – the major push to focus on the new mythology of Prometheus and dial the Aliens as far back as we could came down from the studio.

You can see the slight changes Lindelof made, like emphasizing black slime and canisters over facehuggers and eggs.  However, Spaihts says the major action beats from his drafts remained:

There was a black mutagenic compound that could change people in unpredictable way, Fyfield did morph into a monster and become a real danger in his own right, and of course the Engineers, the Space Jockeys, proved to be terribly dangerous creatures.  In my draft, as well, we did resurrect one and he tore off David’s head.

Speaking of facehuggers, one particularly cool sequence from Spaihts draft didn’t make it into the final picture because Fox’s wish to pull back on the xenomorphs.  Spaihts had a much gorier notion of how Holloway becomes infected, and how his infection is revealed to Shaw:

I did have facehuggers in my original draft. David, as he began to get fascinated by the science of the Engineers, doesn’t deliberately contaminate Holloway with a drop of black liquid. Instead, Holloway hubristically removes his helmet in the chamber, is knocked unconscious, facehugged and wakes up not knowing what had been done to him, and stumbles back into the ship. In my draft, he returns to his cabin, is embraced by Shaw, who is delighted to see him having feared that he had died, and the two of them make love. And it’s while they’re making love that he bursts and dies. So that lovemaking sequence echoed my original lovemaking sequence where he explodes! It was messy.

I also like what Spaihts had planned for David’s character arc and why he becomes fascinated with the Engineers, although Spaiht’s David lacks the subtlety and finesse of the character in the final version:

Subsequently, David, fascinated by these creatures, begins delaying the mission and going off the reservation on his own, essentially because he thinks he really belongs with the Engineers. They’re smart enough and sophisticated enough, great enough, to be his peers. He’s harboring a deep-seated contempt for his human makers. So at one point Shaw goes to stop him and David ties her up and deliberately exposes her to a facehugger. He caresses an egg open and out comes a facehugger. David doesn’t smell like a person – his breath isn’t moist – so he can handle the thing like a kitten. It doesn’t want him; it’s not interested. But then he exposes it to her and it goes for her like a shot. He toys with her for a bit and then lets it take her. That, in my draft, was how Shaw was implanted with the parasite that she had to remove with the medpod sequence.

Spaihts admits that his David was more “bloody-handed” than the one in the finished film.  The screenwriter adds that in his version, the ending between David and Shaw is left ambiguous:

I left the two of them on the surface of that planetoid. It was plain that David and Shaw were going to have to work together and deal with one another if they were to survive. That one shot of the ship taking off in the finished film really focuses you on a particular outcome, whereas my ending was much more open as to what was going to happen next. But it was very much about this shattered android and this scarred woman being left with no-one but each other to carry on with.

Prometheus starred Patrick WilsonGuy PearceRafe SpallSean HarrisKate DickieEmun ElliottVladimir ‘Furdo’ Furdik, Gannon NickellNoomi RapaceCharlize TheronMichael Fassbender, Idris Elba, and James Embree.

Read Jon Spaihts’ Prometheus script ALIEN: Engineers <-here and leave your thoughts on it in the comments section. For more Prometheus photos, videos, and information, visit our Prometheus Page, subscribe to us by Email, follow us on Twitter or on FacebookPrometheus was released on DVDBlu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D in the US by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation on October 11, 2012.

Source: Empire, Slashfilm, ScreenCrush

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