Got it. Theres no new pics apart from two small ones of Kelly aiming a gun out the chopper door and Kelly and Molly running in the rain. They're too small to be scanned.
Once again, those Aliens and Predators are tearing up humanity's home turf. But this time, we're promised, they'll be turning Planet Earth into...
"I've heard Ridley Scott in interviews that with Alien he took an A-movie approach to a B-movie monster film. Our take on this movie is to get back to the gritty, horror roots of Alien and the classic mission-movie aspects of Predator." So says Greg Strause, co-writer-director (with brother Colin) of Aliens Vs.Predator: Requiem, the, it must be said. less-than-eagerly awaited sequel to 2004's Alien Vs.Predator. That prequel/sequel/spin-off/video-game adaption contrived, in it's unconscionable silliness, to soil the legacy of two inconic movie monsters at once. In light of that singular acheivement, one might fancy a whiff of hubris in Strause's invocation of Ridley Scott and his unalloyed 1978 masterpiece. What can AVP2 possibly offer other than a futher instalment of the AVP dabacle, which featured the titular terrors getting there freak on in a pre-Aztec pyramid underneath the North Pole (you heard) as part of a Predator rights-of-passage-thrill-kill ritual while the D-list likes of Lance Henrickson (veteran of Aliens and Alien 3) got caught in the crossfire? Well, if Strause is to be beleived, quite a lot actually.
First of all, the Strause brothers' inter-species bust-up vert sensibly jettisons the Rider Haggard-meets-The-Crytal-Maze trappings of AVP for present-day smalltown USA. It also enlists the services of original Texas Chainsaw Massacre cinematographger Daniel Pearl and - even more sensibly - ramps up the chest-bursting, acid-blood-spurting carnage. "Yeah" grins Strause, "people aren't going to be expecting what they're going to see." And has the official sanction to back that up. "Tom Rothman (20th Centuary Fox co-chairman) announced in an interview recently that this is going to be an R-rated hardcore horror movie. I think that's rteally going to set it apart from the first one (which was a wussy PG-13). Daniel is bringing an incredible look and style to the film, an we have plenty more suprises up our sleeve..."
Of course, a few weeks into principal photography, when Empire speaks to Strause & Co. On location in Canada, no-one is at liberty to divulge what those suprises might be. All concerned - Strause in particular - is playing it very close to the vest. "I really can't comment on that" becomes something of a mantra for Strause when pressed for dtails of any kind. What can be gleaned is that the action takes place in an anonymous Colorado town that - for reasons connected or otherwise to the revelation in AVP that Predators are breeding Aliens to hunt - has become overrun with the acid-slobbering, insectoid killing machines. And, in this time-honoured fashion, the local residents must band together to survive. Whether or not a Predator enters the fray to rid the town of it's deadly infestations is open to question.
Certainly nobody here, freezing their metaphorical nuts off in a drab Vancouver mini-mall that's flooded with artificial rain, is giving the game away. "Sorry, I can't really comment on that," mutters Strause for the nth time when asked if he can confirm rumours of a Predator-Alien hybrid - despite the fact that we glimpsed the 'Predalien' at AVP's end. "I wouldn't bet on it," he says with a unusual candour when quizzed on the possibility of a Sigourney Weaver cameo. Steven Pasquale (Rescue Me, Six Feet Under) is rather more forthcoming. "I guess I play the reluctent hero," he says. "Dallas Howard; he's this ex-con returning to his home-town to keep an eye on his baby brother when all hell breaks loose. He's only been home for a few hours when the craziness ensues. By the time we get to the action, our gang is looking to him for some leadership. But it's all about getting out alive: he's pretty self-motivated."
Okay, so far, so formula. The cast is rounded out by Reiko Aylesworth (24, The West Wing) as the mother of six year-old daughter Molly (played by Ariel Gade): John Ortiz (Maimi Vice) as the beleagured local sheriff: and Johnny Lewis (The O.C.) as Dallas' wayward kid brother. It's not exactly a Fellin-esque ensemble of characters and, despite the solid talent, there is a notable lack of even lack of even Lance Henrickson calibre names.
Strause denies that the low star-wattage reflects the films slender budget. "We wanted to go with very good actors. If you look at our cast, a lot of them have very strong theatre backgrounds; the entire cast is made up of very strong actors. And opposite them are two of the greatest monsters in cinema history, so we're pretty happy about the entire cast."
And judging by 24 year-old Lewis' reaction at least, the cast themselves seem pretty happy too. "The Alien and Predator movies were so f**kin' cool," he enthuses. "There's a part of you that takes your craft very seriously, you study all the great filmmakers, the great actors. And there's a part of you that just wants to kill shit. "This is a movie that truly demands good acting," he continues, "but at the same time it's Alien Vs. Predator 2. The intent is awesomeness - not some deep existentialist statement about the human condition" These could quite possibly be the wisest words spoken on a movie set since Steven Speilberg said to Harrison Ford, "Okay, when the boulder starts rolling, run like f**k!"
"We're all going to be upstaged, "laughs Pasquale. "But I cam in with that expectation. And it's fun. It's not all CG - we're acting with a lot of 'live' Aliens and Predators, which really help a performance. Like tonight, we're in icey rain so it's hard to act anything other than cold. It feels real, the way they light up the creatures and the way they slime them up. It's a throwback to my childhood when I pooped my pants at the second Alien movie." Literally? "Literally." "I did think about it long and hard before I signed on," says a shivering Aysleworth, edging closer to a space heater after repeating takes in the rain. "I wanted to make sure it was a good script before I commited. And as soon as I read it I went after it. I don't want to get too heavy because it's just fun, but I think the best sci-fi movies are metaphors for something. This movie has all the fun popcorn elements, but it also has a deeper metaphor." Which is? "I can't tell you that!" (Hmm, alien invaders = Al Qaeda/Iraq/Katrina?)
As far as the real stars of the show go, their credentials are impreccable. Amalgamated Dynamics is handling all the non-CG creatures effects. The company comprises Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis, who have been performing as the Alien since James Cameron's Aliens in 1986. "Tom helped sculpt the Alien suit for Aliens," says Strause. "These guys have been involved with these creatures for a very long time; they're experts." Most of the special effects will be state-of-the-art man-in-a-suit rather than CG, a definite plus for purists. "Colin and I come from a visual effects background," says Strause. "We own a company that does CGI (Hyrdreaulx), but to get back to horror roots, nothing beats doing stuff in camera. We're making every effort to do all the effects in-camera where possible."
And told, despite the stoic tight-lippery and the fact that the only glimspe of an Alien or a Predator Empire is afforded is of Tom Woodruff wearing a slimeless and hence, unconvincing Alien head, AVP 2 could well be a tidy little creature-feature drawn along classically simple lines with two of fantasy-horror cinema's most enduring icons doing what they do best: killing shit, to borrow Johnny Lewis' eloquent phrase. Plus the added bonus of bathfuls of gore. "I'll refer you to Tom Rothman's use of the word 'hardcore'," says Strause...
Released: January 18
Budget: $40 million (estimated)
Directors: Colin Strause, Greg Strause
The main selling point?: It's aimed at an adult audience.
HISTORY OF VIOLENCE The AVP Timeline
2997 BC: Predators first arrive on Earth, where the natives build a pyramidal temple in their honour in Antartica. Aliens are introduced as prey for Predator coming-of-age rituals. AVP
1715: While hunting human prey, a Predator takes a souviner in the form of an old flintlock pistol, which will later find it's way to Danny Glover. PREDATOR 2
1987: A Predator begins a hunt in the jungles of Central America, only to be killed by a falling log courtsey of Major 'Dutch' Schaeffer of the US Special Forces. PREDATOR
1997: A Predator stalks downtown LA. After wiping out a drug gang, numerous police officers and half as train of cilivians, he's gutted by LAPD Lt. Mike Harrigan. PREDATOR 2
2004: An archeological team discovers the Antartic temple, filled with Alien eggs. The Predators return and a battle royale breaks out. One human and one Predator survive. AVP
2007: A Predator ship carrying Alien eggs crashes outside a small US town. Townsfolk are impreganted, chaos ensues and an elite Predator is sent to the clean up the mess. AVP REQUIEM
2122: Mining vessel Nostromo answers a distress call on planet LV-426. A ship containing Alien eggs is discovered and the outbreak leads to the deaths of the crew. Ellen Ripley is the sole survivor. ALIEN
2179: Contact is lost with a human colony on LV-426. A marine detachment and Ripley investigate, eliminating the Alien investation. Ripley, two other survivors and the mission synthetic survive. ALIENS
2179: The ship's EEV crash-lands on penal colony Fiorina 161, Ripley is the only survivor. A subsequent Alien outbreak causes numerous fatalitles. Ripley - now impreganted - commits suicide. ALIEN 3
2381 (approx): Ripley is cloned, allowing the repliaction of Alien DNA. An outbreak occurs on the USM Auriga. A small craft, The Betty, escapes with the surviving crew and the Ripley clone. ALIEN RESURRECTION