Fede Alvarez Alien: Romulus Interview Round-Up!

Started by Corporal Hicks, Mar 21, 2024, 08:54:00 AM

Fede Alvarez Alien: Romulus Interview Round-Up! (Read 2,537 times)

Corporal Hicks

Following the release of Alien: Romulus’ fantastically atmospheric teaser trailer yesterday, several of the bigger entertainment outlets have shared interviews with writer/director Fede Alvarez discussing the film and the teaser. And we’ve got a huge round-up of all the interesting bits!

From the very offset of the trailer we’re thrown into the familiar with Nostromo-esque corridors. Talking to GamesRadar, Fede discussed the aesthetic and the time setting, confirming that Alien: Romulus takes place 20 years after the events of Alien.

The first thing anyone watching the new trailer will be struck by is how your film's retro-futuristic production design recalls the Nostromo. Is it your hope that Romulus will feel of a piece with Ridley Scott's Alien? 

It was the era I was most interested in when we were thinking about making this movie and were suddenly faced with so many choices. Where do you start? That's what I wanted it to be – that era of science-fiction – and particularly that physical space of the first movie. So it starts there, honestly.

And there were narrative reasons why. It takes place 20 years after the first film. Technology in the world of Alien can change vastly, but I think it's not dependent on time. It's dependent on place. Where you are.

So the characters of this movie and the world are very blue-collar. The technology is still very low-tech and analog. And, look, I'm a kid from the '80s. Any monitor with some VHS tracking issues puts a lot of joy in my heart.

 Fede Alvarez Alien: Romulus Interview Round-Up!

For fans of horror, and fans of Alien and Predator especially, the realism involved in the creature effects is something of major concern when it comes to how modern film portrays the creature effects. Fede discussed the legacy talent involved in Alien: Romulus, as well as getting stuck-in with the puppeteering himself!

Just like anybody else, I've been appalled by bad CG in movies that have ruined my experience of it. But I'm not against it. I think you have to do whatever's best for the shot, and whatever technique does it better, you should do it.

We went to crazy extents in this movie to do things practically. We had Weta Workshop doing a lot of the Facehuggers. And not only that, we brought back the guys that worked on Aliens. Shane Mahan, who [sculpted] the Queen's head himself, was the one in charge of building all the Xenomorphs for our movie.

And when I say “build”, we built them. We did full animatronics for all the creatures in the movie. It was one of the best experiences in my career, just to see these guys that I admire so much, back [working together].

There were moments when we'd need nine puppeteers to make a creature work, and you had all those guys, now in their 60s, under the table. And I'm there with them because there's not enough hands. I got to be under the table, puppeteering these things, with the guys that worked on the original Aliens. So that's been the best part.

And then CG just comes when you really go, “Oh, if we do something here, we could do something really cool that the puppets never could.” And you go there. But we really tried... and we really succeeded. 

 Fede Alvarez Alien: Romulus Interview Round-Up!

Towards the end of Alien: Romulus’ teaser trailer, we see a shot of Cailee Spaeny’s character, Raines, emerging through a grill-grate in a shot very reminiscent of Ripley’s exit from the elevator in the Atmosphere Processor in Aliens. In her hands is a new rifle with some very obvious design references to the iconic M41A Pulse Rifle. Still speaking to GamesRadar, Fede confirmed it was a predecessor to the Pulse Rifle.

It is a Pulse Rifle. You have to think that our movie is decades before Aliens. So the Pulse Rifle, as people know it from Aliens, has not been invented yet. We can go really deep into the canon rabbit hole, but the Pulse Rifle was invented a few years before Aliens by this general. 

This is a precursor. But it's technically Pulse technology, what she's holding. And, yes, of course, the story called for a moment when she was coming out of an elevator. And obviously, you don't just walk out of an elevator casually in an Alien movie. So when we were about to do it we all knew, “If you walk out of the elevator, it better be an incredible shot.” So we took a lot of care, making sure that she stepped out of the elevator in the coolest possible way.

Fede always went into detail discussing how the idea for Alien: Romulus was inspired by the additional scenes from Aliens: Special Edition where we witness children on Hadley’s Hope, and how Fede wanted to explore what life was like for those frontier children as they grew into their 20s.

She's a younger character. All the characters are very young. That was inspired by the beginning of the extended cut Aliens. There's a shot that really inspired the whole story, where you can see all the kids running around the corridor on Hadley's Hope. I always thought, “Wow, what would it be like for those kids to grow up in a terraforming colony that still needs another 50 years to be habitable? You're probably going to take the same job as your parents. What's the hope?”

I thought: “Wouldn't it be great to catch up with those characters?” Not exactly those characters, but that type of young kid, growing up in a Weyland-Yutani shake-and-bake colony, and see how their life would be when they reach their early 20s. What do they want out of life? Do they want to stay there, and do what their parents did – work the mines, work the farms – and that's it? Or do they want more out of life?

That was what kickstarted the whole journey of this character. It was something I was always fascinated with. Maybe it's because I'm from Uruguay and the idea of growing up in a place where you know how far you can get, and the things that happen there, and the things that will never happen there. So at the time, I always connected with those characters.

While talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Fede discussed meeting with Sir Ridley Scott and how he had pitched the film as production on Alien: Covenant was starting to ramp up.

Right after Don't Breathe, I had a meeting at Scott Free, Ridley's company, and I think they were about to start doing Alien: Covenant. And I mentioned something that I would love to see. I said, "I hope this movie has some of this and that and this." And he was like, "Oh, that's interesting. What would you do with it?" No one was actually asking me [to pitch], believe me; it was more that they were intrigued about what I wanted to see as a fan. And I was like, "I think you guys should do this and approach it this way, and maybe it's about that." And suddenly, I was pitching, but I was not really being asked to do it. So that stayed in the air there somehow, and then a couple of years later, Ridley remembered that. He knew about it. He was like, "Fede had pitched this thing." So they called me back and said, "Hey, remember that story you mentioned? Do you want to write it and direct it?" And I was like, "f**k yeah!" And here we are.

 Fede Alvarez Alien: Romulus Interview Round-Up!

While we know Sir Ridley Scott response to seeing an early cut of Alien: Romulus – "Fede, what can I say? It's f**king great." – the Alien: Romulus director also discussed the intimidation he experienced working alongside Ridley, as well as how he had also talked to James Cameron about Alien: Romulus and the different responses each had.

As intimidating as it is, that's the best part of being able to work on something like this. For all of us and whatever it is that we do, the dream is to sit down with the masters of our craft and have a conversation about what we do and learn how to do it better. And the process of making this film definitely gave me that experience with Ridley. At the story level, we first told him what I was planning to do, and then when he read it, I discussed the script with him. And later, when he watched the movie, I discussed my cut with him. So I consider each one of those moments and creative conversations with Ridley to be a highlight of my career and my life.

James Cameron is also someone I've met through the years, and when he learned that I was doing it, we started chatting about it. So I also had that conversation with him at the script level. He's now seen the movie and loved it. It's also fascinating because [Cameron and Scott's] notes and comments are completely different. (Laughs.) They wouldn't repeat a note. Whatever Ridley said, Cameron said something different. They were all super smart comments, notes and thoughts on the film and the filmmaking, et cetera, but both of them have completely different approaches. So the fantastic part of being able to make this film is to have the chance to work with them.

Revealing that the decision to take Alien: Romulus into theatres was made before filming even began, Fede also spoke about working with Cailee Spaeny and how the character of Raines was written with her in mind.

She's an amazing talent. I met her a few years before, and it was a complete coincidence in a way. It's a credit to her talent, but when we started writing the movie a few years ago, my co-writer [Rodo Sayagues] and I already had her photo on the board. We put photos of faces on the board just to have a character face that we could turn to when they're going to say a line. "How would that person speak?" So we had her face on the board from the beginning, and I always tell Cailee, "I wrote this movie for you." So I met her and I'd seen her work, and then when this came about, I was lucky enough that she loved the script from the get-go. She then jumped aboard, and I've been thrilled to see her having so much success lately.

 Fede Alvarez Alien: Romulus Interview Round-Up!

Some of the more interesting news we heard about Alien: Romulus prior to the recent leaks and trailer release was a scene that Isabel Merced described as “disgusting” and Fede revealed that it’s hinted at towards the start of the teaser trailer!

 It takes place in [the teaser's] first shot. There's a tiny hint in there, and it has to do with that scene that Isabela talked about, which is great. When you manage to have an idea or concept that has not been seen before in any Alien movie — and it's also something that has never happened before in the history of movies and science fiction — my first test usually when I shoot it is to just look at the boom mic guy. He has no idea what's about to happen, and then I see his face completely in shock over what he's witnessing. So that is, for me, the biggest reward, and when you know that there's something special, then you just can't wait for opening night. I'll sit in the front and turn around to see people's reactions to those moments. 

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Mike’s Monsters

The disgusting scene is referred to visually, but not so much audibly. The audio is cut from multiple scenes throughout the movie into one.
It's at the beginning of the trailer.

Acid for Blood

Great round up! Nice work putting this together AvPG 👍
I love hearing bits of director insight.


The disgusting scene Alvarez is talking about is the bloody cryo pod one surely ? Unless there is a disgusting scene when the ship is coming towards the Renaissance station at the very beginning  :laugh:

Corporal Hicks

I've tidied up that text a little.


How about the title



This film is going to be nasty.


I do love Fede's passion in film making. That's what this film needs is someone who loves Alien and the lore.

Immortan Jonesy

I loved the effort to execute in a complementary and balanced way between practical effects and CG. 8)


@Mike's Monsters curious to see the character Rain in action but it's hard to compete with Ripley. If I'm honest and perhaps I'm biased I'm abit deflated that we didn't get another outing with Ripley, it could be a case 20th Century Studios now Disney weren't interested in returning to Ripely could be that the character was over exploited. The thing that annoys me with the Alien vs Predator films, the Prequels and this film an new character but mainly lack of returning characters (aside from David8 in Covenant) it recycles the Ripley archetype arc rinse and repeat reskinned recast movie might as well be a remake discarding what came before, it's partly the lack of
Cathartic resolution for Ripley ending her story, Alien3 though climatic was underwhelming, some follow up to Resurrection pulling that off is slim but not impossible, just that sense of completion and Closure before moving on.

But there individual merits are with acknowledging there absolutely have been solid performances from
Sanaa Lathan,  Reiko Aylesworth, Noomi Rapace and Katherine Waterston. I'm eager to see Cailee Spaeny's Rain to take on that dreaded Xenomorph.

Eric sanders

Eric sanders

I just saw the trailer of alien romulus  i like it has a fan of the alien franchise  Can wait to watch it on hulu and theater hope there is a book based on the movie and graphic novel  and video games after alien romulus is the next alien movie in the works by 2025 cast me in

Mike’s Monsters

Mike’s Monsters

He's really harping on practical effects, and saying he'll use CGI when he needs it. I can say I expect a lot of CGI replacements and enhancements from what I saw. The practical effects needed it for sure from the performances they gave. It wasn't bad, but clear that the objects were just placeholders for light references.

There's way more digital effects than he's leading on to, and many directors are doing that lately. Top Gun Maverick completely lied during the marketing campaign and was full of CGI.

Great video series breaking it all down:

I totally get why he's saying things the way he is. But I'd say expect to see way more CGI than he's describing.



what  an endorsement that both scott and cameron loved it  after seeing it.

must be good then.


Given the day and age we are in, practical effects are a challenge with the resolutions that they shoot in, 4k and above and practical effects are not same not as they were back in the 70's and 80's



Fede feels like an actual fan of the IP considering how much he is nerding out talking about it. He also shows respect to all the movies and not just one or two. Much better choice of a director then someone like Blomkamp who was gonna retcon 2 movies and has a f**k the alien franchise attitude now because his fan fiction didn't get made

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