If you're a fan of the "Alien" franchise and "Blade Runner" you may consider yourself a fan of Ridley Scott, but what you might not know is that you're also a huge admirer of Charles De Lauzirika, the documentary whiz behind all the psychotically in-depth special features on those DVDs.
Not one to shy away from the gritty, problem-plagued aspects of making movies, De Lauzirika loves nothing better than when a filmmaker gets dragged through the muck only to come out the other side with a great film, as arguably Ridley Scott did once again on his latest sci-fi escapade "Prometheus."
With the release of "Prometheus" on Blu-ray today, fans can dive headfirst into hours of behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, commentaries, production designs and more that shed light on one of the most fervently debated geek films of the year. Those who loved it will find much to chew on, and those who didn't might just come away with a new perspective on this pseudo-prequel "Alien."
We chatted exclusively with De Lauzirika in London to talk about what "Alien" obsessives can expect from the disc.
The documentaries you've done for the "Alien" quadrilogy and "Blade Runner" aren't your typical kiss-ass DVD supplementals. You really get into the struggles and conflicts that go on during production. What are some of the blood and guts tales from the filmmaking trenches we're going to get in the "Prometheus" set?
"Prometheus" was a tough one in that regard, in terms of the really scary, tension-filled moments because it was a pretty friendly shoot. The entire time we were covering it I'm thinking, "Oh, how am I gonna make this interesting?" for the length I thought it was going to have to take. That's when you focus on logistical problems, because there are always those. When you mount a film as ambitious as this there's always going to be major challenges just to make the day and deliver what you have to deliver. There wasn't a sense of, like, "Blade Runner" where there was a lot of personal tension, political problems, money problems. This was, for the most part, a pretty clean shoot in that regard.
But there are moments of tension, like when we see Noomi Rapace dealing with the malfunctioning helmet. There's certainly some tension in terms of making the schedule and finishing all this work that has to be done. What I love about the making of this film in particular is the ambition and scope that had to be done in very little time, and actually the Blu-ray itself was ambitious and huge scope and we had to do the Blu-ray in very little time. In the case of "Blade Runner" we had years to work on the disc, in this case we had a few months.
Right, and no benefit of hindsight.
No benefit of hindsight, exactly. We had maybe about a week or two post-release to maybe tweak a couple things, because we started to hear the chatter, the complaints, what was good, what was bad and everything in-between. There's a little bit of that worked into the piece.
It's funny because the promotional poster has the tagline "Questions will be answered." There's definitely a sense of what the audience was complaining about. Can you talk about the actual specific points that will be clarified on the disc?
When people debate the film, especially serious fans, they tend to debate the cut. Now that they know a bit about what was left out they argue about "Why didn't we know this about this character?" Let me rephrase that: Millburn (Rafe Spall) infamously treats this obviously hostile alien, the Hammerpede, as this cute little pet he's in love with and is gonna go touch it. There's a bit where we see Fifield (Sean Harris) obviously perhaps smoking pot with his helmet, why wasn't that Millburn? Wouldn't that make more sense? That would be why he's willing to touch this thing. In one of the deleted scenes we have called "Our First Alien," you see Millburn is more of a childlike scientist who's so excited by discovery he throws caution to the wind, basically. When he finds the first alien it's a tiny little worm-type creature, not too threatening. He's emboldened by that. When he sees the Hammerpede he thinks, "Oh my God, this is the next amazing discovery I'm gonna make on this journey," so it fills in a little bit of the gap Ridley cut out of the film for pacing purposes, he probably felt like, "we don't need it, we get it."
That's where the debate comes on every film: "Why did you cut that? Why did it have to go?" He's the filmmaker, it's ultimately his choice. This deleted scene will answer that question.
It's basically like Alan Grant in "Jurassic Park" if the Brontosaurus had stepped on him.
(Laughs) Exactly. But what I really like is what people consider to be gaps or holes or missed opportunities I think, frankly, help keep the film alive because they're asking audiences to engage. Why don't YOU try to work with the film a bit, because so many films spoon-feed you everything, then you walk out of it and you're like, "Okay, I got it." In the case of this or a film like "Blade Runner" where there's much to talk about, there's a lot of cryptic logic in the film, you're wondering, "Why did that happen? What's missing here?" It's not that the filmmakers didn't consider it, it's not that they don't know what they're doing. They're basically leading you down a path and it's up to you to follow them but they shouldn't have to carry you down the path, you have to walk with them.
Now there's been talk of a sequel. Is this disc going to whet the appetite for what could and couldn't happen in "Prometheus 2?"
I absolutely think it will. If you want to see more in the world of "Prometheus" I think this Blu-ray will definitely set up your anticipation of what could be the next film. We obviously have no idea what the next film is going to be, and this Blu-ray doesn't quite address that, but there are hints in terms of the things that were left out. If you can read between the lines and look at certain lines of dialogue that were cut or certain conceptual designs that are in the galleries or featurettes you'll start to see some of these ideas that were generated. Then you can start to piece it together. "Maybe we'll see those down the road in the next film."
You also just had your own film, "Crave," premiere recently. How was it received?
We had the world premiere of "Crave" at Fantasia in Montreal. The audience reaction blew my mind. It was bizarre having been stuck in an editing bay for years and having silence and no audience, all of the sudden there's an audience to go with the film and laugh and cheer. We won Best First Feature at Fantasia, then we went to Fantastic Fest in Austin and had the same wonderful response from the fans there. We actually sold out every screening, actually had to add a screening and that sold out. Then I won Best Director in the Next Wave competition. Now we just had a European premiere at Sitges in Barcelona and that was amazing. Packed house, sold out, cheering, screaming. I love these festival crowds! It's very exciting to have my first film so well received because I feel like, "Oh, maybe I can do this more often! I can make another film… hopefully."